Golf is a pretty simple game. Don’t get me wrong, there are ways to break it down in a lot of really intricate ways. But when boiled down to its most fundamental elements, it’s just a golfer using a club to get a ball into a hole in the least amount of attempts.
Hooking up, as a cis-dude in pursuit of not-cis-dudes, can be just about that simple. There’s an endless amount of ways to make it more complicated…but it doesn’t have to be.
Way back when Tiger Woods was the undisputed king of the golfing world, I remember hearing a golf expert describe his dominance in a way that really stuck with me. The analysis was that the strongest aspect of his game was that he just made far fewer mistakes than his competition. This was especially true in major tournaments and final rounds. While that might not sound like a lot, it was enough to make the guy a consistent winner in a sport that fields 90 to 156 players per event.
What I’ll address here is the common problems tied to entitlement, a scarcity of resources mindset, and a general lack of situational awareness.
Now, I’m no Tiger Woods, but I do hook up an awful lot. I’m a consensually nonmonogamous cis-man with a lot of engagements ranging from casual flings to a happy marriage. A big reason why I’m able to keep it all afloat is because I’m able to reasonably avoid a lot of the mistakes that I see others making.
There’s a ton I could cover here, so maybe this article will serve better as an introduction to concepts, like a 101 lesson or a starter kit. What I’ll address here is the common problems tied to entitlement, a scarcity of resources mindset, and a general lack of situational awareness.
A Twitter post by user @PrincessDoki became popular across social media. It read, “It’s hard to be a slut in a world full of men constantly cockblocking themselves.” I’ve heard similar statements a lot, typically from not-cis-dudes who I’ve just been really slutty with. The general sentiment sounds like “I was about to bone this bro but he sent me a dick pic that I didn’t ask for” or “we were about to go to town but he got a little too pushy and it scared me” or “I was down to fuck but just not on the first date. He got so pouty about it that I just declined altogether.”
Cis-dudes are trained up by a patriarchal society to pay more attention (sometimes exclusively so) to the feedback of other cis-men.
Now I’m going to pause right here to say that a lot of what I’m writing here has already been written about by people who aren’t cis-men. In many cases, others who have written about this stuff had to break through a wall of cultural conditioning just to say stuff that cis-men might react poorly to.
Cis-dudes are trained up by a patriarchal society to pay more attention (sometimes exclusively so) to the feedback of other cis-men. Meaning that all others will have a tougher time breaking through. The problem there is that other cis-men often give advice that makes hooking up or courting sound like a war of attrition.
Cis-men are socialized to believe that cis-women are the gatekeppers of sex. We’re led to believe that women aren’t really into casual sex and it requires a particular set of skills to wrest what we want away from their iron-fisted tyranny. It’s so common that other men create industries around it.
Popular culture enforces the notion that we’re all owed a female companion. Television commercials lead us to believe that we’re just one hot car or one can of body spray away from getting laid. Pick up artists make tons of money selling “techniques” to trick women into sleeping with men by undermining their self-esteem and treating social engagement as a competitive sport. Who does any of that really serve though? It’s all just people trying to subvert one another for a goal that’s best served by honesty, respect, and understanding.
When I first heard the term Nice Guy Syndrome, it was referenced in the book No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover. While I haven’t read the book in over a decade and can’t recommend it for that very reason, something I credit it with is disabusing me of the notion that I’m owed anything. I didn’t even realize how much entitlement I was walking around with until the book pointed out my own behavior to me.
Like lots of men, I was a user of cover contracts. In my head, I made agreements to be nice to people with the understanding that they’d then owe me something back for that niceness. Favors, sex, reciprocal niceness. When that wasn’t paid back, as agreed upon in my head, I’d get frustrated and passive-aggressive. This came out mostly towards the women in my life at the time. I blamed them for not upholding a deal that they didn’t make. What I could see was that I was being taken advantage of, that “nice guys finished last”, and that I was being put in the friendzone.
What I couldn’t see is that the women in my life had to contend with lots of guys who approached as friends while stealthily trying to become “more than friends.” It’s got to be exhausting to have to monitor your friends for hidden motives. Of course, that’s not what I was monitoring myself for.
Funnily enough, when you don’t hang sexual expectations on top of basic friendship people feel safer to engage with you sexually.
In the here and now, as a recovering Nice Guy, I’ve got quite a few friends with whom I hook up. I’m openly and honestly a friend and I’m clear about my desire to hook up. More importantly, I’m also fine not hooking up. My friendship isn’t a transaction. When I have the time and space for people, I give it freely. When I don’t, I don’t. But it’s not contingent on sexual access.
Funnily enough, when you don’t hang sexual expectations on top of basic friendship people feel safer to engage with you sexually. Weird how that works. It’s almost as if the bar is really low and you just have to be a decent human. Hmm…
Something else cis-guys have trouble with is the idea that hook ups all have some kind of an expiration date. I get it. Those of us who want to get it in, usually want to get it in at the earliest available opportunity. But that’s not how life works.
I’ve seen countless screenshots of online dating conversations where cis-guys use “I don’t have time for games” as a code for “I don’t have time to get to know you or to let you get to know me.” We push and prod and jump the gun and then complain that times are hard for cis-guys. What are you doing where you’re too busy to get to know someone you want to put your dick in?
A lot of us are trained to believe that disregard and emotional unavailability are good form in No Strings Attached arrangements. They aren’t. You can communicate a clear set of boundaries in regards to your level of bandwidth without treating partners like they aren’t worth knowing outside of bed. You actually secure longer-term fuckbuddies by treating them with the same respect as your non-fuckbuddies. Sex-writer Suz Ellis broke it down to the tune of thousands of impressions on Twitter with the quote, “Please don’t settle for a shithead partner who won’t treat you with love because you’re “just” casual.” It’s a solid quote but really you should read the whole thread.
That expiration date logic applies to how men react to broken plans as well. I jokingly say that sometimes my polyamory can mean that I’ve got four to six dates in a week…or it could mean that I’ve got four to six last-minute cancellations in a week. While those kinds of weeks are really disappointing, it’s not really anybody’s fault. People get busy or tired or awkward or sick. Life happens.
It’s been said to me directly that the amount of grace that I have in react to those setbacks is the reason why those cancellations eventually get rescheduled. On the other hand, those same partners have told me horror stories about men who lost their shit when cancelled on. Those are the dates that never happened again.
The problem is your desperation and the fact that your partner of choice can likely smell it on you from a mile away.
Cis men are often so fearful of a missed opportunity, that they’ll skip steps in order to tweak the odds. I’ve heard men complain loudly about having to pause to affirm consent, or discuss sexual health, or even to have to reach for a condom. All in fear of breaking the mood.
Bruh, if a 90 second rundown of your last testing date is going to endanger the mood, the problem isn’t the talk or the consent or the condom. The problem is your desperation and the fact that your partner of choice can likely smell it on you from a mile away.
Moving too fast, demanding an explanation, or treating a failed hookup attempt like the last one ever will almost guarantee that it will be. If a chance at some sexy time falls through, accept the “no” gracefully. Thank your would-be partner for their time, consideration and for taking care of themselves, let them know you’re interested if another possibility presents itself, and then go do other stuff with your life.
That might sound snarky but it’s serious. People, particularly entitled cis-dudes, focus on what they lost in a cancellation but not on what they gained. Not banging somebody? Use your now-free time to finish writing your book or play that video game or learn a little bit more of that new language. Go have a brand new experience that you can talk about on the next date. Guys crying about not getting laid are boring. Stop being boring. Go be interesting.
And in the meantime, it’s more likely that you’ll get another shot with someone you didn’t pressure or shame for having to deprioritize banging you for whatever reason. Weird how that works. It’s almost as if the bar is really low and you just have to be a decent human. Hmm…
As important as it is to learn how to manage your reactions when hookups fail, it’s even more important to understand why they fail. Sadboys (incels, MGTOWs, Men’s Rights Activists, redpills, pickup artists, etc.) would have you believe that it’s just women being fickle…or that there’s a special class of guy who reaps all the benefits. It’s all just self-doubting, self-defeating nonsense and it leads us into making horrible decisions around those we want to hookup with.
I pointed out earlier that non-men have written about this before. For them it’s a frequent topic of conversation because it’s literally a matter of survival. The news is packed with stories of women being physically harmed by men who they’ve turned down. There are social media outlets that exclusively report on cis-men who get anywhere between annoyingly insistent and straight up violent when faced with rejection in online dating interactions. Isolated incidents aside, that’s not a concern cis-men have. There isn’t a popular culture built on treating us as commodities.
Respecting and listening to women isn’t a dating technique.
The stakes are higher and seekers of casual sex can’t always afford to roll the dice on cis-guys who won’t treat them with genuine patience, unwavering respect, and honest communication. Awareness of these factors and how much all cis-men play into them (seriously, every single one of us whether we like it or not) can put your would-be-partners at ease. Instead of skipping steps to secure the hookup, create an environment whether everyone is comfortable doing what they want to do.
What I’m describing is a culture shift. It’s not what you learn, typically, from pop culture or parental modeling. Respecting and listening to women isn’t a dating technique. It’s a life technique that will improve the way you communicate in a variety of situations…like dating.
To be really clear, I don’t write this as if I’ve never made a mistake. I’m writing this because I’ve made these exact same mistakes..lots of times. If I had read any of these words in my early 20s, I’d have called them all garbage. But that miserable kid wasn’t getting laid and that’s basically how growth happens. A partner recently said to me, “A lot of people aspire to your level of sluttery. They need to nail down the part about being a good dude first.”
That’s a lot easier said than done. I know because I had to school myself on a lot of societal programming about gender, and sexuality, and power dynamics before I became the cis-guy that gets invited to all the orgies. It’s not about being perfect. Nobody is. It’s about understanding that life is a long process of learning, unlearning, making mistakes, then fixing them.
Maybe five years ago, a woman told me I had been aggressive with her in a way that I didn’t realize. It took her weeks after the incident before she told me and she tried to soften the statement as much as she could, but the facts stood. I made her uncomfortable. I made her feel unsafe. Hearing it sucked. It took a few months for me to simply accept what she said and internalize it to the point where I wouldn’t fuck up again the same way. After that, I reached out to offer a much more heartfelt apology than the quickie non-apology I had given at the time.
I’m way more cognizant of the way I present myself now and also of how I’m being perceived. I’m also far quicker to accept constructive criticism than I was then. Specifically from non-men. My partners all benefit from that. They know if they have a concern or if I screw something up, they can talk to me about it, and I’ll listen without making them feel bad for even bringing it up.
As men, we get in our own way so frequently that it’s what we’re best at. When faced with even the slightest bit of adversity, we lean into our canned responses of defensiveness and hostility. We refuse introspection and shut down outside analysis.
All that does is cut off connections that maybe only required a bit of adjustment to function properly. I’ve been elbow deep in both sides of the “getting laid or not getting laid” equation. I know better than most how much easier it is to chill out and let things flow naturally rather than pushing the issue and ending the night.
Trust me, casual sex goes a lot smoother for everyone involved if you make the people you want to engage with feel safe and heard and respected.
Trust me, casual sex goes a lot smoother for everyone involved if you make the people you want to engage with feel safe and heard and respected. But you have to mean it. Weird how that works. It’s almost as if the bar is really low and…you get the point…
As I said, this article can serve as a starter kit. I added a lot of useful links throughout but here are a few more resources to help you on your journey to minimizing mistakes, creating safer, more respectful environments and getting laid in them: