Editor’s Note: Sexytime is a feature at The Federalist where resident sex experts Rich Cromwell and Mollie Hemingway answer reader questions.
I find the pairing rituals of human beings to be endlessly fascinating but must question whether women are really so susceptible to pick-up “lines” as this article claims. — Married But Curious About Idiots
MOLLIE: The linked article talks to real women about what conversation starters worked with them. Sometimes the successful men said, simply, “What do you do for a living?” and “Hi.” (It’s absolutely amazing what treating a woman like a human being can get you.) Other times the “pick-up lines” were so cheesy as to be embarrassing. “Whatcha doing for the rest of your life?” Really? That works on anyone? Or my favorite, “You have the best hair in the bar.” It’s not that we ladies don’t want men to notice our awesome hair, but it’s so unlike a typical man as to raise all sorts of red flags. In that teaser for the new Amy Schumer movie, “Trainwreck,” the dude she has sex with calls her afterward and it’s so unlike the modern male that her friend tells her to hang up the phone because “he’s obviously sick or something.”
Having said that, in the same way that men have different tastes, so do women. Some women really get turned on by stupid puns in bars. Some women don’t care how predictable and tired your lame “neg” is, they eat it up. Hey, chicks with low self-esteem need boyfriends, too, you know?
Anyway, I don’t envy men having to open themselves up to the possibility of rejection all the time, but I have two tips. 1) Get over it. Which sounds harsher than it is, but really I just mean that if you want to get a lady, you have to deal with the fact that it’s going to be difficult and will involve a lot of rejection unless you’re extraordinarily blessed. Either consign yourself to a life of unwelcome celibacy or get over it. 2) Get talking and this time don’t think about stupid “pick-up lines” but just treating the woman you fancy as a real human being, just like you. If she doesn’t like you, it’s not the end of the world. And if you treat her like a human instead of a sexual object to be conquered (no matter how much conquering you want to do, if you get my drift and I think you do), the risk goes way down and the reward way up.
RICH: There’s a common thread that runs through every opener in that article–a man who isn’t buried in his phone and is instead actively engaging members of the opposite sex. Some go for whimsical, origami dude for example, while others go for the simple, “Hi, my name is.”
In a world where virtual existence has overtaken reality, how can that fail?
So, while it’s true that cheesy pick-up lines aren’t the best strategy–and if you don’t believe me because I’m married, then talk to some young single women–it’s also true that talking to women is much better than not talking to them. Remember Young MC? Of course not. All you whippersnappers out there looking to couple up came up way after Young MC, so allow me to introduce you.
For those who didn’t watch the video, the key message Young MC delivered way back in 1989 is that you can’t succeed if you don’t try. And trying requires you to listen to the messages the young woman who has tickled your fancy is telegraphing. (Yes, men, they telegraph their messages. It’s just that often your decoder is on a different channel.)
So, are women susceptible to pick-up lines? Yes, assuming that the person delivering them has a modicum of charm and charisma and is quick on his feet. If that’s you, then try the clever line. If not, then just stick with hello. As a friend who was quite the Lothario and is exceptionally quick-witted once told me, “Of all the lines I can go to when seducing a woman, the hands-down most effective one is, “Hi, my name is…” So maybe it’s not the line, but that you just bust a move.
If your husband withholds sexual intimacy is it okay to cheat? I’ve been married for awhile to a man who has a lower libido than me, at best, and withholds or declines sex often, at worst. I’ve expressed without demanding, that I desire regular, exciting sex and that this is a fundamental, basic need which he basically ignores. While cheating isn’t okay morally speaking, I wonder what you’d suggest a person do in this situation? –Lonely And Losing My Mind
RICH: The Who’s best song is “A Quick One While He’s Away.” In the song, an unnamed young woman, famous for her crying which can be heard “all around the world,” is struggling with loneliness as she awaits the return of her man who has been gone for nigh on a year. He was due home yesterday, but he ain’t here. She’s lonely, exceptionally lonely. Alas, there’s a remedy: Ivor the Engine Driver, a specialist in making such girls left in the lurch feel much better. And make her feel better Ivor does. Right up until the girl’s husband returns and she is forced to admit that in his absence she once did sit on Ivor the Engine Driver’s lap and later with him had a nap.
The famous crier from our song got lucky; her husband immediately forgave her. She was a human filled with normal human desires, after all, ones he could not satiate in his absence. So onward with an affair, then? Not so fast. We have a different remedy.
I’m guessing you know the short answer, that cheating will only provide a temporary remedy and is not the one we endorse. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have asked and would have instead signed up for Ashley Madison rather than emailing us.
The longer answer requires some guesswork. You don’t mention length of marriage, kids, or if your husband has always withheld intimacy or if this is a new behavior. But since you didn’t ask about divorce, I have to assume you’re mostly invested in your marriage and just looking to release some pent-up desire. As such, I have to suggest some solutions that will not be nearly as sexy or gratifying in the short term as an affair might be, but much sexier and more gratifying in the long term. Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, it’s going to require you to yearn for a little while longer.
It’s not going to be easy, but it can be fun. Stay strong, maybe visit the adult section of myriad websites and find something battery-powered to get you by, and use the energy you might use on an affair on getting what you need from your husband.
Namely, let your feminine wiles loose. Buy some lingerie and seduce him. Start with a massage or other physical contact. Get him relaxed and then start cranking up the heat. You’re trying to divert blood-flow from the top head to the bottom while you’ve got his attention.
What if you need to get his attention? Consider making foreplay an all-day activity. He’s your husband, this is your chance to be a bad girl. Throw down the gauntlet and don’t be shy. Grab him in the morning, kiss him, and tell him exactly what you expect him to do to you at the end of the day. Or during lunch. Send him naughty pictures and messages, after you turn off automatic cloud storage. Show him, or maybe remind him, his lady in the streets is a freak between the sheets.
I get it; it’s not the normal route for the woman to take. Y’all tend to be more obtuse in your suggestions. But obtuse obviously isn’t working in your situation, so you may need to go more direct.
There’s a reason why affairs are exciting and succeed in the short term. Expectations of the lover are lower and easier to meet. He doesn’t have to provide, be there, or do any of the non-sex activities that comprise most of the time in any marriage. You can attempt to outsource the sexytime to a third party, but once the excitement fades and you find your home has been upended, then what?
MOLLIE: Oay, first and foremost, what you’re going through sounds extremely difficult and your desire to find release outside your marriage is perfectly understandable. A libido mismatch has got to be one of the most frustrating things in a marriage and one that, frankly, requires both parties’ sustained efforts to get back on track.
If you’ve attempted to work things out with your husband and he’s not amenable to it, and if you tried Rich’s advice years ago and it did nothing, have you considered the possibility of a sex addiction? And I’m not talking about you, but him. Sex addiction sounds super-fun and exciting but, believe it or not, lack of actual sex is actually one of the frequent markers of it.
Sex addiction can take many forms, but for many men, porn and masturbation are interfering with their ability to have actual sex with a real woman, much less develop the necessary intimacy required in healthy human relationships. It may sound easy to conquer or double unfair for you, the high-libido wife increasingly desperate to get some lovin’, but this is a very real problem that requires delicate treatment, including individual and group therapy. Level 1 is what I just mentioned — just porn use and masturbation. And this is increasingly common for many men. Porn is rendering many of them functionally impotent in the sack and this impotence leaves them feeling even crappier about themselves than they normally do. Level 2 might mean secret exhibitionism. Level 3 is more like dangerous solicitation of prostitutes or abuse of children.
But the point is that sex addiction can include all the lying and deception you may enjoy from other addicts in your life, just with much less fun partying. And if he does have a sex addiction, even if he doesn’t get treatment, you might need to find a support group for family members of addicts. Learning how to handle life with an addict can keep you from feeling completely insane or angry all the time.
As for whether a spouse’s bad behavior justifies your own, you know the answer however much you wish you didn’t: It’s not justified. You presumably took a vow to be with your husband in health and sickness, and that didn’t mean just when he got a man cold. And your husband seems to be dealing with some serious mental or physical illness.
I do think a professional evaluation of your husband’s problems is in order before you decide what to do — whether his low libido is a reflection of physical ailments Rich mentions, a sex addiction, or just being a selfish arsehole who couldn’t care about your needs. But you’re not necessarily the best person to make that determination, given the severe pain and hurting you’ve been subjected to during your marriage.
I suppose we should entertain the possibility that he simply has a lower libido than you and your expectations of him are unrealistic. Again, though, that’s best handled with a professional.
How can i stop seeing my girlfriend as a guy. I don’t know where to ask this, and i hope not to offend anyone. She’s MTF, also she’s pre op. I’ve only ever known her as a girl, and i didn’t know she was trans until the third or fourth date. It was a bit of a shock, but i figured if i liked her up to this point i’d give it a shot. Most of the time i just see her as my girlfriend, and a woman, and don’t think about it. It’s usually when we ‘do stuff’ that these thoughts plague my mind. I can’t stop thinking that she is /was a guy and it’s a real mood killer. I’ve never actually seen her penis or anything, she doesn’t like people seeing it, so she usually wears underwear. Still.. it’s making me question my sexuality, which is making me very confused. I’ve never been into guys. Obviously this isn’t something i want to talk with her, i do like her, honestly. And i want to get over this, but idk how. The thoughts seem to nag away at me constantly, and i feel bad i think like that.
MOLLIE: Full disclosure, I stole this question (typos and all) from a subReddit on trans issues and I did it because the advice you got there was so horrifically bad. Let me offer a few examples of what your Redditor advisors had to say about your predicament:
- “Basically what you have to do is get rid of the idea that penis=guy.”
- “Some women have penises. That doesn’t take away their femininity.”
- “Men can have either a penis or a vagina. Women can have either a penis or a vagina. Some people really like women. Some people really like men. Some people prefer women with vaginas. Some people extra like women with penises, often a fetish but not always. And apply the same concepts to men.”
All of this advice is horrifically bad. In addition to being scientifically illiterate, even if completely politically correct and a great demonstration of the confused groupthink and mindrape we’re experiencing down the rabbit hole when discussing sex and how it works. You’re thinking about the fact your “girlfriend” has a penis because, and I don’t know how to break this to you: Your “girlfriend” has a penis. And it is 100 percent normal and even healthy for you to have a problem with this. K’s Choice had a song that was written in 1996 that specifically addresses your problem in the first stanza in multiple ways:
When your pubic hair’s on fire, something’s wrong
When you think you’re the Messiah, something’s wrong
When you mistake a plane for Venus, something’s wrong
When your girlfriend’s got a penis
There is no need to be a jerk to your new friend who feels his biological sex is not the one he wishes it were, but this does not need to be a disorder you share. And, in fact, depending on the particular reason for his disorder, you may not be helping him at all by pretending things are not what they are.
RICH: Let me get this straight—your “girlfriend” has a penis, this confuses you, you’re afraid to talk to him about it, so you headed over to Reddit for guidance?
Maybe you should trust your gut on this one. If you don’t want to trust your gut, you definitely shouldn’t trust what people are telling you on Reddit. Think about it this way, if you said, “I’d totally be into my girlfriend if she got breast implants,” then people would swarm you with righteous indignation. But suggest that a piece of equipment he was born with turns you off and makes you question your sexuality, because you aren’t normally aroused by people with that bit of equipment, and there are tons of helpful folks to explain to you why you should just get over it.
Instead, you need to own it. You are who you are. And whereas some people are comfortable with a MTF transexual, you’re obviously not. You want someone who is a woman on the chromosomal level. So instead of seeking tips on how to get past this desire, just move on. It’s your life and you have no responsibility to put your happiness and comfort on the backburner to satisfy the social justice cause de jour. After all, you were born this way and, as we’ve learned, no one can ask you to apologize for that.