You know that something has gone drastically wrong in your life if you're consulting the writers at Slate for guidance. This confused woman's question to the publication's advice column should then come as no surprise. Here is her predicament, as she explains it:
I am a single woman in her early 30s. I’m attractive and have never had issues attracting a partner. But after a series of disappointing relationships, each around a year, I’m just not in a mood to engage emotionally with men right now. The thing is, I have a high sex drive, and I can’t fully satisfy myself on my own—though believe me, I try. The cliché is that this should be an easy problem to fix: Plenty of men want to have sex with a woman with no strings, right? Here are my limitations: In the past, when I’ve had hookup buddies, I like them, but it never really is just sex — we inevitably get to know each other better and then I end up getting entangled with him, whether I want to or not...
So I’m not really sure how to proceed. I’ve identified a few bars in my town that are … good for this sort of thing, but that is hit or miss for finding an attractive guy... Tinder and similar apps for straight people are full of creeps who have no game, and I’m afraid if I’m upfront about what I want, I’ll attract even more of that type. What’s a straight girl who just wants good, unattached sex to do?
Slate's recommendations are as abysmally stupid and morally bankrupt as you'd expect. The woman is given tips on how to remain emotionally closed off from her sex partners. These tips include — I'm not kidding — changing the names of the guys in her phone to remind her that she only wants them for sex. "Chris Nothing Serious Johnson" and "Joe This Is Just Sex Beatty" are the examples they provide. She is then given a couple of datings apps to try, and advised to revisit some of her former flings for another few romps in the sack. It seems likely that she will eagerly follow all of these steps. We can look forward to her follow-up letter 20 years from now, wondering why she's 53 and still alone. Surely it will be the fault of the world, and men, and the media — but not at all her own.
I would like to offer a counter suggestion. Could it be that she has trouble finding good men for sex becase good men, by definition, are not interested in using women just for sex? Could it be that she only ever attracts creeps because she is herself a creep? Could it be that, to put it bluntly, she doesn't really deserve a good man?
We tend to use the "creep" label only to describe members of the male sex. But, as they say, it takes two to tango. Birds of a feather flock together. Any number of other cliched metaphors. The point is that good men are drawn to good women. Creeps are drawn to creeps. Shallow losers to shallow losers. Opposites attract, but not in the realm of virtue. If you only ever seem to end up with horrible jerks, it's probably because those horrible jerks have identified you as part of their herd.
I find it interesting that this woman, and the relationship gurus at Slate, are so intent on protecting themselves from the emotional intimacy that naturally attends the sexual act. They brainstorm strategies for averting it. They try to ward it off like the flu. It doesn't seem to have occured to them that they often get "entangled" with their sexual partners because sex, as it turns out, is not just some routine recreational activity. It's not like shaking someone's hand or playing video games with them. Even the people who want it to be like that, and try to make it like that, can't seem to pull it off. The emotions creep in. The entaglements entangle. What is a person to do about this?
Maybe there's some merit to the old-fashioned approach. Rather than running away from intimacy, embrace it. Commit yourself to someone. Seal it with a marriage vow. Then you'll have a sex partner and whole lot more than that. And you won't have to worry about the creeps on Tinder. And you won't die alone — like this woman, if she doesn't change her attitude, is destined to do.