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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Sleep with Him

As the weather outside grows cooler, you may be tempted to heat things up indoors. Forget cuddling – it’s time for something steamier. But look before you leap… because your new flame could be your next mistake. Here are 10 very good reasons not to knock boots with him...

1. You’re not as detached as you think.
Call it the curse (and blessing) of Sex and the City. Guys finally got the message that just because a woman wants to get naked with him doesn’t mean she wants a marriage proposal. However, it also advanced the idea of unemotional sex, which according to science is more difficult than it seems.

In her book Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both (Riverhead Hardcover, 2007), author Laura Sessions Stepp highlights research studies that conclude having sex releases a different set of brain chemicals in women than men.

Specifically, women get a large dose of oxytocin, the hormone that makes you want to bond and create relationships. Men don’t get the oxytocin warm-fuzzies because of testosterone, making it easier for them to “love and leave,” at least biologically speaking.

Stepp says that evolution has hard-wired us for these tendencies, which can be confusing in our sexually liberated world. So be warned: You may want the sex to be casual… but you could end up with a serious case of attachment.

2. He may be cheating on someone else… with you!
Why is this your problem, you may ask? You’re not the one being unfaithful. But do you really want to be the “other woman?” The one who breaks up a relationship and causes another woman’s heartbreak? We’re guessing not.

Even the sneakiest guy can give away clues that he’s taken:
He only gives you his cell phone number and always leaves the room to take calls.
He’s quick to suggest hanging out at your place but never offers up his own digs.
He avoids taking you to certain neighborhoods (and not because they’re dangerous).
Suddenly no one has a name. He was out with “the guys” or “people from work.”
He becomes defensive when you ask him questions about his weekend plans, where he hangs out, etc.

Even if you’re not planning a long-term relationship with the guy, you should steer clear of him and his unfaithful ways. And if you’re hoping your night of passion leads to a hand-holding, boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, just know that once a cheater, always a cheater.

3. He’s a taker.
“Taking” isn’t always about money. A guy can be a taker in other ways – time, attention, your sexual generosity.

But first, the money: There’s no right or wrong about who pays for dates, as long as you’re both okay with the arrangement. However, if you open your wallet more often than you’d like and you’ve expressed this to him, then it’s probably time to cash in and call it quits.

He may also exploit your attraction in other ways. Can you pick him up from the airport? (Cabs cost so much!) Do his laundry? (He’s out of soap.) Host a couple of his buddies to watch the game? (You’re such a good cook.) Buy his mom a birthday present? (He has no idea what to get.) If any of these sound familiar, you’ve got a taker.

Unfortunately, this attitude usually continues in the bedroom. Don’t expect this guy to be attentive to your needs and preferences – most likely, his pleasure comes first and probably last.

4. He’s clingy.
It’s true that some women like this quality. But too often clingy turns into possessive, demanding and selfish.

Beware of someone who moves at the speed of light when trying to win you over. It’s usually a sign that he’s uncomfortable being by himself, or he’s looking for a woman to help solve his problems. Asking for intimacy too quickly or spilling loads of very personal information could be acts of desperation, and that’s definitely a bad sign in a significant other.

Signs that he’s clingy include:
He calls you several times a day and wants to talk for hours at a time, even when you have important things to do.
He becomes short-tempered or whiny when you want to spend time with anyone else.
He’s excessively close to his mom (or both parents). He may be expecting you to mother him the way she does.

5. He just got out of a relationship.
Timing can be everything. While a rebound relationship might work out for the best, a recent breakup is usually a big, glaring red flag. If you’ve been through a bad split, you know that it takes a long time to completely recover. And if your guy is newly single, he’s still going through the recovery process.

Most likely, he’s not ready for another long-term commitment, even if he thinks he is. Without knowing it, he may be seeking another relationship to prove to himself that he is still desirable and worthy of love and affection… especially if he didn’t initiate the breakup. He could also be looking for validation that he wasn’t at fault.

In short, he may be using you to fill his loneliness, whether he realizes it or not. Of course, guys aren’t always that introspective and may take a far simpler approach. You know those movies in which a guy’s buddies tell him he has to “nail some chick” to heal his broken heart? Don’t be that chick. Not unless you’re 100% sure your interest in him lies only below the belt.

6. He’s bad in bed.
Alas, usually you don’t discover this until you’re already in bed. However, there are clues that you’re in for a ho-hum hump.

First, think twice if he’s a bad kisser. Men who are terrible kissers are rarely good in bed. Perhaps it’s because they never learned proper technique, or they think they kiss just fine. If it’s the latter, he’s not going to be receptive to constructive criticism in bed.

Also, does he seem more interested in “scoring” than in you? Some guys are simply looking to add another notch to their bedpost. Men like this probably won’t take the time to find out what works for you between the sheets. Instead of a steamy, sexy romp, you could get a “wham-bam, thank ya, ma’am.”

Beware of factors that could take the wind out of his sails: he smokes, he’s taking medications for depression, he has a big belly, he’s not getting enough sleep. Any or all of these could result in erectile dysfunction. Unless he’s willing to compensate with other activities, your night of passion won’t end with a bang.

7. STDs
Unfortunately, women are more susceptible to STDs than men. It has nothing to do with promiscuity; women are simply more vulnerable to infection than men because of our anatomy. It’s easier for men to transmit infections to women than vice versa. STDs are also more difficult to detect in women.

There are more than 25 known STDs – some curable (chlamydia, gonorrhea), some not (HPV, herpes, HIV/AIDS). Many can be transmitted through oral sex – you’re not playing it any safer that way. In fact, having unprotected oral sex puts you at especially high risk for gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and hepatitis B. Condoms offer partial but not total protection against genital warts and genital herpes.

All this is enough to make a girl stay home and exclusively date Ben & Jerry. However, there’s no reason to swear off sex. Just go armed with condoms and questions about your future bedmate’s sexual history.

8. You’re drunk.
There are SO many reasons why this is a big don’t. Being intoxicated usually results in regrettable behavior and poor decisions. Like swinging from a chandelier… or forgoing a condom.

Between STDs, pregnancy risks and generally unscrupulous guys, being drunk isn’t the best time to make decisions about whom to, ahem, open yourself up to.

Those three Long Island iced teas may give you the courage to approach the hot guy you’ve been eyeing. But how do you know he really likes you? After all, your judgment is impaired. To him, you could be the slutty, sloshed girl who he hopes won’t puke in his bed.

Need another reason not to boink while under the influence? In the era of Web cams and sex tapes, your drunken fling may not stay private.

9. You’re not over your ex.
The same issues from #5 apply to women, too. Breakups are painful, and too often we try to forget that pain by getting naked with a new guy. (See related article: Are You Over Your Ex?)

However, jumping back into the dating scene may not be the bandage your broken heart needs, says Sandra Ann Miller, author of A Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Over Him (SAME Ink, 2006). And sleeping with someone else isn’t revenge on your ex… unless your new flame is George Clooney.

“Put yourself on a guy diet for a while, and put all the attention on yourself,” Miller says. Hang out with friends, pick up interests or hobbies that have been neglected – in general, get to know yourself again.

As for the new guy, if he’s as great as you think, he won’t shut you out for not putting out. Become friends first, so when you’re ready to take it to the next level, you’ll know it’s for the right reason.

10. You’re not even attracted to him.
Sometimes we sleep with people we’re simply not attracted to. Maybe you’re lonely, bored or looking for confirmation that you’re desirable. In which case, you’re using him.

Despite positive portrayals of strong, sexy women who bed down with men casually, this may not be good for your mental health, particularly if you’re feeling vulnerable enough to have sex with a guy you don’t even like. In that case, the only person you’ll end up hurting is you.

You might think that shagging someone you don’t like will make you feel attractive and empowered, but those feelings are fleeting. Chances are you’ll actually end up feeling used, empty or guilty. The underlying problem hasn’t been addressed. And what about his feelings? You may not be attracted to him, but he could be hoping to develop a relationship with you.

Seek out a therapist’s help; he or she can help you figure out why you’re engaging in potentially destructive behavior.

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