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Parallax - Advice

June 4, 2001

He's a tease

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I've been dating this guy for almost five months. He calls me every day and we share great laughs, great times, and good energy. So far, it's just a bit of kissing - lips only! For first time in my life, there's no sex. He says if we have sex it will change everything, but then he acts as if he wants to. He teases me and proposes meeting. He tells me I'm so sexy and says he likes me...then he backs off. Recently he suggested a room. Later he said it was only a joke and brushed it off, but I got really annoyed. I can understand his fears, but I think there are deeper reasons for his holding back and I don't think he should tease if he doesn't want to 'go there.' Last night, after a wonderful evening, I couldn't play nice girl anymore and got upset. I ended up leaving without a kiss goodnight and he didn't call like he always does to 'see if I got home okay.' In fact, I haven't heard from him. I'm very confused because I really like him and feel a bit embarrassed that I behaved according to my feelings. This is not about sex. This is about being straightforward and not playing with feelings. Is it normal to date for six months with no intimacy? Am I off? Is he testing me to see if I'm a 'nice girl?' Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Nice Girl,

Aren't you the little vixen? And yes, your issue is about sex - not being forthright and clear. Very simply, you'd like to be having some…sex that is. So let us not veil our complaints in lectures about honesty, openness and playing with the feelings of others. If he were to put out, all issues would spontaneously combust. That said, what we have here is a little role reversal, which is interesting but not really relevant.

He is teasing you - these things happen. He's not ready yet - end of story. He is the sex gatekeeper, and unless both people are ready, there shall be no nookie. Pressuring him to sleep with you will not make him ready. It will probably cause him to dig in his heels and maintain his staunch position with greater intransigence. And now he's angry and not calling because you're pushing him. I don't blame him - it's irritating to be constantly pressured.

You have only one option. Back off! If he is interested in sex, he will come around when he is ready. If you don't feel like waiting, vamoose. There are plenty of guys who will sleep with you on the first date, but if you want a relationship with this delicate flower, you'll need to wait it out and you'll need to behave while you're waiting. Don't bring it up. Don't make passes. Don't mention sex-related topics. Don't wear lewd outfits. Simply let the process take its snail's pace. Show even greater reluctance about sex than he does.

However, should you go ten years without nookie, you'll have to face the fact that he's probably gay.

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His view:

Dear Nice Girl,

You are focusing too much on the teasing and not enough on the reasons he's holding back. It doesn't appear you've speculated much about this. How long can you be satisfied with hearing 'it will change everything' as an answer?

Of course sex will change everything - and hopefully for the better. At the risk of overstating the obvious, change can be good. You say you understand his fears: well, I'm in the dark here.

Perhaps there is a religious component to his trepidation? Is he afraid you're carrying a disease? Or is he carrying one he doesn't want to share with you? Could he be simple-minded enough to think that having sex will land him in church? Maybe he is inexperienced and afraid of how you will react?

Trust me, there are enough reasons to write a treatise. My colleague, in her constant efforts to undermine the complex minds of men when it comes to sex, will surely suggest he's gay... though I guess you can't entirely rule that out.

But there is one thing you can definitely rule out - this guy is not trying to find out if you are a 'nice girl.' Clearly you are. Very, very nice. Way too nice, perhaps.

Whatever the reasons, you need to find out before it kills you and the relationship. There's nothing inherently wrong with him holding back…but there is something wrong, if five months into the relationship you still don't know what is really keeping him out of your bed.

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