Don't be afraid

I scare guys, who say that I seem too sexually experienced -- but I'm not!

By Cary Tennis
Published December 8, 2003 8:22PM (EST)

Dear Cary,

I'm in my mid-20s and I've had a pretty limited relationship and sexual history. I'm the busy, artsy intellectual type with a fair degree of feminine charm, beauty and sensuality -- the whole blond, blue-eyed, petite thing plus a generally happy air.

So many of my female friends are either seriously involved/married or complete virgins. I am not a virgin but I still do feel a definite lack of dating perspective. Last night after about two weeks of talking with a guy I had a first date with him and we ended up making out -- he was a gentleman and didn't push too far, but he said something that really distressed me. He's seven years older than I am (my first 30-something encounter) and he is considerably more experienced than I am. He said, "You must do this professionally," and later, "I've only been with idiots [in contrast to you]," and later, "I feel like a kid compared to you."

This could be some guy's bad attempt to compliment me, but this isn't the first time I've run into language like that -- as a matter of fact, everyone I've "been" with or simply made out with has expressed the general sentiment that I'm sexually intimidating. I'm not the type of chica to lie back and "think of England," but I'm afraid that my "skills" -- which really just come from some natural talent and not experience -- scare guys off.

This doesn't sound like a real problem, I know. I was raised by hippie/liberals who thought masturbation should be encouraged and I genuinely like sex. I'm smart, though, and I can't stand a guy without at least an ounce of geek -- are there any alpha geeks out there who can discuss Eastern philosophy and shag with pluck? What has modernity done to men? Or do I just need a dumb barbarian?

Clueless, Yet Apparently Skilled

Dear Clueless,

What is the problem with these men? You may not be lying back and thinking of England, but they should definitely get down on their knees and think about France.

What self-respecting Frenchman would bring love down to such a trade-school level, as if you were engineering students comparing ventilator projects. You have a body and know what to do with it. That doesn't make you a prostitute.

Could you perhaps be trapped in your social class? If you're from the intellectual classes, you might assume that only men with big glasses and small wrists are smart and sensitive. It might not have occurred to you to date a fireman. But flames are complicated. Firemen have to be smart. Find a fireman who's read Dante. He'll appreciate you.

You're getting down with some seriously unsuave men is what it seems like. They're casting you in the role of geisha, a skilled purveyor of pleasure, but you're just doing what you feel, right? They're taking it like you're performing some esoteric function on them as opposed to with them, like they'd hired you to groom their horses so later they can ride. These men have no gallantry, no sense of drama and tact, no sense of how to elevate the moment from matters of engineering to matters of flight.

What is so amazing about taking off in an airplane? Is it the foot-pounds of pressure generated by the jets, causing acceleration, is it the airflow over the top of the wing that creates lift? Well, yes, there is poetry in the calculations and the engineering, but what's thrilling is the fact that we're flying! We're high above the earth with the birds! It's amazing to be up here!

Love is like that. It's amazing to be up this high. We know how we got here, but that's not the point. For God's sake: We're looking down on rivers!

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Cary Tennis

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