This month’s dating dilemma is quite a heavy one, and Oli (AKA #AskAStraightGuy) and I sat with it for a few weeks before we knew exactly how we wanted to respond. At first glance it’s about first date nerves – something we can all relate to – but when you read deeper it covers the more complex issue of learning how to say no to sexual pressure.
I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to this reader question, and will have had similar worries at some point during your dating life. It would be great to hear your thoughts on the subject, so feel free to share your advice in the comments section below…
How should I deal with the pressure to get physical with someone before I feel ready?
“How do I overcome an overwhelming fear and stress before a first date? I’m usually a very sociable person, but when it comes to the opposite sex I panic and feel totally lost. It always takes time for me to feel comfortable around new people, and guys often tend to rush things physically before I have a chance to get to know them properly. That freaks me out. It also makes me feel like they don’t actually want to get to know me, and are just looking for a bit of fun.”
Ask a Straight Guy Answers
First of all, overcoming a fear of first dates is like overcoming any fear – you’ve got to pinpoint exactly what it is that you’re afraid of and think about the coping mechanisms that might help you. And try not to let bad experiences from the past ruin future dates.
Feeling pressure from someone is a serious thing, and you need to remember that the decision to become physical always starts and ends with you. If you’re feeling pressure then it’s sure sign the relationship isn’t right. Nothing should ever feel forced, and if a guy won’t wait for you then he’s simply not worth your time.
Every now and then guys will try their luck. Especially if they really fancy you! But – regardless of how many dates you’ve been on or how many drinks they’ve bought – you have every right to say, “No. Not this time.” If they have an attitude about that then you’ll know once and for all that they’re a complete idiot and can move on.
But what you’ll find most of the time is that you’ll say no and guys will be like, “Alright, no worries.” If they really like you they’ll be happy to wait and try again when the time is right.
And, if you are worried, plan coffee dates during the day instead of drinks in the evening. It will take away the pressure off the “end of the night” chat and a more casual setting might help you feel at ease.
I once spent a very awkward date making out with a guy I wasn’t that into, purely because I’m a real people pleaser and didn’t know how to extract myself from the situation in a polite manner. It was exhausting. Later he invited me back to his place and, knowing that I couldn’t feign enthusiasm for much longer, I spewed out some lies about why I had to go home. Stupidly I felt guilty about it for days.
So I know how hard it can be to say no. It doesn’t matter if the guy in question is kind, sensitive and understanding – there’s still this icky feeling that bubbles up when you say no. It’s just another piece of everyday bull**** we have to deal with as women… The expectation that we should always be obliging, polite and likeable has been ingrained in our brains after years of patriarchy. And it’s up to us to reset those thought patterns.
Like Oli said, the decision to become physical should always start and end with you. Saying no can feel awkward, uncomfortable and sometimes even rude. But we have to fake that confidence and keep saying no when we mean it. Hopefully it will eventually become second nature, and no longer feel like such a difficult word to say. And, in the meantime, trust that not every guy is in a rush to hookup, and try to make dating fun on your terms.
What would your advice be in this situation? And have you ever had similar concerns? Leave a comment below to have your say…
If you would like some straight-talking advice from Oli you can submit a dating dilemma to firstname.lastname@example.org (please put “Ask a Straight Guy” in the subject line). We can of course keep identities a secret.
Photo by Shay Cochrane