Pharmacist: "We don't have to have sex." Hannah: "Well, do you want to have sex?" Pharmacist: "Yeah, of course. I just don't want to pressure you." Hannah: "No, I like pressure."
— HBO's "Girls," Season 1, Episode 6
It was the end of the night and the party was beginning to die down. High on life and drunk on whiskey, I turn to my new friend.
"What are you doing after this?" I ask him.
"I don't know. Probably go home and smoke a bowl," he says. "Wanna come over?"
Call it Catholic guilt, but the voice in the back of my head was heard loud and clear above the club's loud music. It was my mom. "He's going to think you're easy," she says. "You're going home with him at 5 in the morning." I dismiss the voice and proceed with my plan.
Before we say goodbye to our friends and head for the door, I tell my new friend something that I presume he does not want to hear from a woman who is coming over his house just before the break of dawn: "To be clear, I'm not going to have sex with you."
When I cryptically posted this quote without context on my Facebook, I received more than 30 comments from friends (mostly male), ranging from humorous to sincere (I think). Some of the comments went like this:
"Who says that?"
"I read somewhere that no means yes."
"Define the word 'not.'"
"But I just bought your drink!"
"Come on ... if 'no' meant 'no' we'd all be virgins."
"Who says that?" you ask. Well, I do. And, honestly, I can't begin to count just how many times I've said this to a guy before I go over to his place. Sure, it seems a bit ... what's the term? Defensive? Or as one guy friend wrote, "Well that's a preemptive strike if I've ever heard one."
I can hear it now: "You're dating the wrong guys." Perhaps, but not really. I understand why a guy wants and will try to get laid. I do not fault a person for this. Maybe it's because I have written about sex for years, or maybe it's just a character trait, or maybe it is the guys I date, but I can't begin to tell you how many times I thought we sincerely were just going to hang out and get to know one another and before I know it, the guy says stupid shit like, "Do you want to see it?" Answer: No.
Do you remember when you could hang out with someone you were into and sex wasn't a ginormous cloud hanging over the situation? I remember. It was called high school. Yeah, it's been a hot minute.
It's been known to happen earlier than not, but overall it takes a while for me to put out. Why? Well, because if I went on that two-to-three-date sex rule I would have dozens, hell, scores of notches on my bedpost. I'm not trying to slut-shame. I'm not saying that if you sleep around it's wrong. All I'm saying is for me — for many of us — it's not our speed.
Just because a person comes over to your house late at night (or anytime, really) should not imply sex. My favorites are the guys who try to come off as caring or sensitive and say things like, "We don't have to have sex," and then 10 heated minutes later whip it out with a grin that says, "Christmas came early this year." Put that away.
What's that you say? Don't go over to a guy's house at 5 a.m. if you're just being a tease and aren't going to put out? A person doesn't owe someone sex of any variety for spending time together. People aren't tollbooths. If the frequency of the men with which I've encountered in my 15 years of dating didn't show a pattern of a specific type of man thinking time and money spent on a woman equals an implied right to get balls deep in her, then, trust me, I wouldn't even raise the issue.
Back at the club, my male companion and I leave and head over to his house, where we listen to some music on vinyl and make out on the couch before we move to his bedroom where nothing happens outside of making out and some light dry-humping, a la high school. In the morning, he reaches and pulls me in closer to him and awakens me with a kiss.
"Thank you for being a gentleman last night," I tell him.
"What do you mean?" He looks confused.
In that moment, I feel like an asshole for praising him for not pressuring me to have sex with him. But, I figure, if I'm apt to tell off a guy when he acts a fool, then why not commend the good guy?