Where a Sex Writer and Educator Reveals Herself to a Prospective Date

Where a Sex Writer and Educator Reveals Herself to a Prospective Date

online dating, sexuality, sex educator

So what happens when a 59-year-old woman starts online dating—again? More specifically when said woman has an unusual name and an unusual job? She doesn’t share her name initially for one thing. And, when she does, she holds her breath waiting for him to do a google search and discover that she writes about S-E-X.

So, it’s a Sunday morning and I’m meandering around an online dating site and a guy pops up asking to chat. I’m bored, so I say yes. We chatted for close to 2 hours—lots of fun and as he lived relatively far away I had no real thoughts that we would meet. 

The conversation eventually got to the ‘what do you do for a living’ place. Followed by, “Oh you’re a writer. What do you write about?”

—Pause—

“I write about sex for midlife women.”

At that point the  conversation took a distinct turn in direction.  It was fascinating to observe his process as he started asking if he could ask questions…and then asking some pretty direct, explicit ones. When he suggested we talk on the phone I said no. I knew where that was headed—Phone Sex! 

I get it. It wasn’t what most guys expect to find in a over-the-hill woman and he was flabbergasted at how open I was in answering questions. It’s not your everyday conversation.

I’m not your typical divorced over-the-hill woman.

 The second time it happened the story went the exact opposite way. I had been anticipating this! Guys are either hot and bothered by my sexuality or put off by it. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. This one was a nice, intelligent man who didn’t want to date a woman who wrote about sex. He assumed that maybe I hadn’t anticipated this reaction. Of course I had. But I wasn’t going to lie–I’m not ashamed of what I do. And the disclosure is a great way to assess sexual compatibility at some level. It reveals how comfortable he’s going to be with my work and my history.  

I was talking to the sexological bodyworker I worked with at my retreat last November and we discussed the idea of finding one’s erotic peer. It’s an intriguing notion, that we have a peer in that arena. And a challenging one at this age.  Lots of people want and like to have sex; fewer people have studied sexuality or made an intentional practice of developing sexual intimacy. Factor in age, concerns about performance, traditional views of sex, and the complication factor rises. 

Ideally we chose a potential partner or date for basic levels of compatibility. If we’re anti-tobacco we won’t date a smoker. Or maybe the rabid Republican won’t talk to a liberal Democrat? But how do we find our sexual match if that is important to us? How does one talk about sexual desires and habits in the early online dating process? I want to find a way to convey my sexuality, but to do so in a dating profile is to open oneself up to all sorts of guys. The ones who just want sex. 

The hangups about sex we had at earlier ages in our life are still with us, maybe more so. Add in a dash of insecurity about body image, physical performance and health issues and you might have a situation where one person feels too uncomfortable, or threatened, by someone with unconventional (if conventional means straight intercourse once in a blue moon, with the lights out) sexual interests. 

Here’s what I tried to explain to this guy I never got to meet.  I want a man who places a value on ‘us’ and works to keep lines of communication open. A man who is willing to be vulnerable and work through challenges with me—understanding that we share those challenges together. I explained that the ‘professional’ me isn’t always the ‘personal’ me. 

So, maybe sharing my work and how I view sex and sexuality should be placed out there really quickly. It could be a good way to weed out the timid…though it might bring on some unwelcome attention.  

What did I learn from these two encounters?  

  • Truth is always the best policy when it comes to dating.
  • Timing is everything! 
  • If openness and strong sexual interest/desire/experience is important then one has to bring that into the conversation.  
  • Toys are a girl’s best friend! Just teasing…sorta. 

 

Photo by Wallyir, Morguefile

25 Comments
  • Ice Scream Mama
    Posted at 08:12h, 24 April Reply

    yeah, that’s a tough one, but a man of value will not react like an adolescent boy or a perverted old man. ha.

    • Walker
      Posted at 08:23h, 24 April Reply

      Well, there is a little of both in the most rational of men when the blood flow gets diverted. But, yes it is a good way of figuring out, rather quickly, what kind of guy you’re talking to!

    • Brian Buchbinder
      Posted at 08:06h, 25 April Reply

      Just a quibble, ICM.

      While the man who wanted to have phone sex with Walker was perhaps acting inappropriately, I don’t see what’s “perverted” about him. Many women and men enjoy erotic talk. What was inappropriate was of course his assumption that he could engage in such talk without asking Walker if she was interested. In fact, Walker doesn’t really give enough detail to know if the man actually did anything inappropriate, or just that once he made the request to switch to phone, Walker figured out which way the chat was heading, and declined to participate.

      So as a man of 64, I was put off by your “perverted old man” comment. At what age would this conduct, assuming there was something inappropriate, have been OK. The way you put it, it would see that someone, say between 25-55 might be just doing what men do, without either immaturity or “excessive maturity” being implicated.

      Your reference to old puts me in mind of attitudes among men that women who continue to have an active sexual life are somehow, simply by virtue of THEIR age, being “predators” “cougars” or the like.

      Best,
      Brian

  • Doreen McGettigan
    Posted at 08:21h, 24 April Reply

    It really isn’t much comparison but I was online dating a few years back when I was a sexual assault counselor.
    For some reason men were terrified of that.
    Some told me they assumed I was a man hater and others said it just scared them.
    The one man that wasn’t intimidated in the least and who was pretty much my complete opposite was the one I married.
    It can happen.

    • Walker
      Posted at 08:30h, 24 April Reply

      Doreen, agree! I worked in 2 sexual assault agencies over the years and it was off-putting for many people, not just in the romantic arena. The first time I was married; my more recent job coincided with my post-divorce dating and it was funny to see reactions. Some men felt they had to be extra careful and others, wrongly, assumed that I had experienced sexual violence myself and therefore might have issues.
      I think you’re right; it is the partner who accepts us as we are that will be the one we’re drawn to. Being open upfront allows both parties to make the most informed decision and weeds out future issues pretty quickly.

  • Suzanne
    Posted at 08:54h, 24 April Reply

    While certainly not in the same category as sex – but what about when someone asks a professional chef over for dinner. They usually bumble about the kitchen, and apologize and are completely nervous that “their” food offering will not compare and that makes them nervous. Not that I have known any Porn Stars, but I would imagine IF one of them dated a regular person they would either expect mind-blowing sex (because they were with said porn star) or be afraid to take off their clothes because they wouldn’t be able to provide the aforementioned mind-blowing sex one “sees” on a porn video.

    • Walker
      Posted at 09:13h, 24 April Reply

      Suzanne, yes. I used to cater and got that comment once or twice. We all have an expertise in something and we all have times when we burn the roast or add paprika when we meant to grab the cinnamon. Sex is that one area where anxieties get overblown and people get all nervous! I hadn’t thought about the porn star, but that’s a good point!

  • SHELLEY R ZUREK
    Posted at 08:55h, 24 April Reply

    I can see this as being a major hindrance to dating as some guys will avoid you in fear you will be discussing them too. Sucks too as you would probably be the most informed sexual partner they ever had.

    • Walker
      Posted at 09:10h, 24 April Reply

      Ironically, this guy did fear I might discuss him….and I am. Though, respectfully. Your last comment? Absolutely… I am after all, the Sex Goddess! ha ha….

  • Carol Cassara
    Posted at 09:15h, 24 April Reply

    Meeting your sexual peer changes your life. Unfortunately, sometimes that person isn’t a match in the other, more practical aspects of life.

    • Walker
      Posted at 10:55h, 24 April Reply

      True. No one characteristic or interest can be the determinant for ‘true’ compatibility. It’s a matter of identifying the things that matter most and being open to a wider range of possibilities.

  • Helene Cohen Bludman
    Posted at 11:33h, 24 April Reply

    You’ve got to write a book about this, Walker!

    • Walker
      Posted at 13:10h, 24 April Reply

      The dating, the sex thing? I started a book on my dating episodes and didn’t haven’t finished it yet!

  • Mindy Mitchell
    Posted at 13:02h, 24 April Reply

    Definitely a thought-provoking situation, Walker! I’m all about blurting things out right up front and seeing where that goes. Happily, it worked well for me. But the ability to be open and vulnerable from the get-go certainly provides the clarity needed to make ‘next step’ decisions. Life is too short to tip toe around expecting a mind reader to make the first move. I applaud your courage and honesty. Yaayy YOU, my friend!

    • Walker
      Posted at 13:12h, 24 April Reply

      Mindy, I think that when I go back to a dating site (just deleted my profile this week) that I may put it front and center. It’s easier to deal with the foolhardy and horny than to deal with the reticent down the road! ha ha….
      Thank you for your enthusiastic support! And, your example of finding a great guy through online dating. (Yeah to you Edward, as well)

      • Brian Buchbinder
        Posted at 08:17h, 25 April Reply

        Good plan, Walker. Many polyamorous women not only put that up front in their profiles, as do I, but go into detail that such a description DOES NOT mean they are up for casual sex, dating with people who are cheating on a partner, or looking for group scenes.

        In general, if you think you have a deal-breaker, it’s wise to put it right out there. Be forthright in saying what you actually want.

        “I’d like to meet men who are neither intimidated by my work, nor expecting that because I work in this field, they can project on me their fantasies of what someone who writes about sex might be like. Get to know me, in other words”

        You might even confront their anxieties about your being a writer. Any writer, even one who writes fiction, might find the people s/he meets to be source material. Offer to discuss that upfront, and you might filter out the fearful, and engage with people who are genuinely interested in you and your work.

        I’ve always found profiles where people state clear boundaries, and offer to engage the most, well….engaging.

        • Walker
          Posted at 09:08h, 25 April Reply

          Brian,
          Thanks for giving me some language to work from. It’s funny–I can write bios and profiles for others but get tripped up writing about myself.
          Using Okcupid, one can give details and explanations that drill down into what you are and are not ‘in to’. I’ve always found that aspect of the site appealing.

  • Pauline Gaines
    Posted at 14:08h, 24 April Reply

    I loved reading this, Walker. It amazes me how many men are threatened by a woman’s sexuality. I had one man on OKC write me and tell me it wasn’t appropriate for a 50-year-old woman to be open about her sexual preferences and I was never going to find a meaningful relationship that way. I didn’t bother to write back but I thought, why on earth would I want to be with a 50-year-old man who was still hung up on a madonna-whore complex?

    • Walker
      Posted at 16:34h, 24 April Reply

      How sad for him. I haven’t run into any of those types….yet.
      I try to remember, in the face of criticism, that these people are reacting to their own issues and challenges. As a divorced woman you know well, I’m sure, the challenges we face in online dating. I am heading back to OKC eventually and am probably going to be more open about my writing..after all, since I write under my own name it’s not like any of this is secret!
      Thanks for sharing your experiences here.

  • Lynne
    Posted at 16:48h, 24 April Reply

    Brilliant essay, Walker! As much as I read your articles, I never once considered how your day job could affect your evening plans! Thanks for all of your wonderful advice 🙂

    • Walker
      Posted at 16:52h, 24 April Reply

      Lynne,
      Thank you for those kinds words. I know, really. I asked another guy with whom I have had a casual relationship over the years and his response was an enthusiastic yes to my day job impacting my night plans!

  • Kathy Radigan
    Posted at 18:25h, 24 April Reply

    Walker I loved this post and I loved reading the comments. My first reaction was to not divulge too much about your profession, other than say you are a Women’s health writer. But then I realized all one would have to do is “Google” you, so I guess I’m really showing my “dating age” as I met my husband before online dating. You have such amazing instincts that if you feel the best way to deal with it is head on, than I would think that is the way to go.

    I totally agree that meeting a partner who you can share a whole life with, including a great sex life is a challenge. I do know that before I met my husband I had a guy in my life for 3 years that I knew was not going to be my life partner (and he knew the same about me) but we had fun together, loved each other and had mutual respect for the other. I think it saved me a lot of mistakes before I met my husband.

    • Walker
      Posted at 06:26h, 25 April Reply

      Kathy,
      Because the sex writing and exploration is such a part of my life it is important to share it. And, because it can change a man’s response to me it needs to be shared earlier rather than later, I think. But it may depend on who the guy is and what my purpose might be in connecting with him. I’ve had 3 somewhat long relationships since my divorce and at this point I’m open to a range of possibilities.

  • Joan Price
    Posted at 23:24h, 24 April Reply

    So happy that you’re writing about this! I’m dabbling in online dating, too, and one of my photos (not my main photo) shows me giving a speech with my book cover in plain sight.

    Many men are intimidated by my work as a sex educator/ writer. One admitted to me that he worried that if we progressed to an intimate stage, I would expect a superhero, sex-wise. I think this worry is more common that we realize.

    I don’t hide what I do, because I want to develop a relationship with someone as sex-positive, open-minded, and communicative as I am.

    On the other hand, I don’t encourage the men who turn the first message into a sexual come-on. Fortunately, this happens rarely.

    • Walker
      Posted at 06:29h, 25 April Reply

      Joan, that’s one way to do it. I’ve found that my education and strong self-reliant tone gets in the way for some guys—so it becomes a good way to narrow the field. The example you gave about your experience I suspect is what was at play for me recently. Men do worry about their sexual skills, probably more so than we do, and add that to aging and it definitely becomes a factor.
      You and I have similar goals and approaches. Not that I’m surprised by that!

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