Grazia's new columnist, Laura Jane Williams, is looking for love - and she's not afraid to say it...
It turns out that there are two types of dating: dating, as in the search for love and lust to last a lifetime, and "dating". "Dating" is a synonym for casual sex.
Casual sex exhausts me. I spent my twenties having it. Some of it was incredible, most of it was agonisingly awful, and all of it was enough to conclude that for me sex is nearly always better with somebody I like.
(I say nearly because there was a glorious six-week period when I was sleeping with my running coach, the fact we had nothing to say to each other outside of my bedroom was irrelevant. But that was an anomaly. An intoxicating, wild, perfect anomaly.)
We all know the urban legend of a couple who went home from the pub together on their first date and now live together, Instagramming daily their new Daschund in an exposed brick loft, but that is so rare it's almost not real.
The odds of sleeping with somebody the night you first meet them and having it lead to actual romance are too demoralizing to beat. All power to any woman who can bump uglies with friend or foreigner without getting attached. But after much (much) research I know: this is not me.
I was on my back with him on top of me within three and a half minutes of the doorbell ringing, and I regret it.
Once you've been inside me, I need you to not be inside anybody else. I need to know you like me. I can't not care. I've spent energy and tears pretending otherwise. I'm going to own it. I'd rather no sex than sex for the sake of a half-hearted romp with a man who avoids kissing on the lips.
I say all this, but when the full-time banker/part-time rapper - a man with the most knee-weakening first date kisses I've ever been on the receiving end of - recently invited himself to my house, I let it happen. I told myself it was for a drink, but it wasn't. I told myself it was to get to know each other better, but it wasn't. I was on my back with him on top of me within three and a half minutes of the doorbell ringing, and I regret it. He didn't care where my clitoris was and had no regard for my rhythm or pace. It was horribly disappointing. I could've been anybody, for him.
I did it because I was hopeful. Because our date the week before had been so wonderful, I wanted to spend the night with him so that… so that what? I didn't have to be alone? Because then we'd maybe be a step closer to being a something? Because I had an itch that I just didn't want to scratch by myself, again?
I think it was all of those things, and none of those things, and the lack of intimacy as the sun came up proved to me that you can't rush the good stuff. You can't force loving feelings or genuine emotion any more than you can force an orgasm.
This man – he didn't want to date me. He wanted to "date" me. And that's not what I want - especially when the sex is as bad as his was. So, no, I won't see him again.
Next time I won't be seduced by kisses and my own wilful misunderstanding into doing anything before I am ready. I don't want to be casual, and if that means another night alone then that is fine by me. I just wish that part of the "dating" game was a little different, is all.
Read Laura's column each week in Grazia magazine.
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