i just wanted him to like me

I have used sex to get love. And I've used sex to get sex. I've used sex to feel hot. I've used sex to feel good, to feel powerful. I've used sex to get care and affection. I've used sex for touch. I've used sex because I really just wanted him to like me.

I always believed that I was broken for lacking the delicious inner and outer boundaries espoused by fierce girlfriends and strong women in French films who kept sex at bay so the men could pursue it, and weak for lacking the strength required to withhold the need to be loved. I longed to be aloof and blasé about a man's affections—some people call this "game" but to me, withholding was the ultimate in female agency and French af. 

objectifying the hell out of myself 

objectifying the hell out of myself 

Hookup culture and the ease with which sex could be accessed kind of fucked up my lifelong dream of eventually making a man work for it! At some point in the early 00s, it seemed like he'd never have to, so even when I'd state up front that I wanted more than sex, I'd resort to using sex for love anyway (then feel disappointed and empty when I could tell that our sex was purely transactional). I say this knowing that I didn't always end up liking the guy, and truthfully more often than not, 99% of the men I dated via apps or bar hookups turned out to be dudes I'd never be able to fall in love with—and isn't that the real fear of men? don't they protect their simplicities natures in the face of our depth and beauty? aren't they rebelling against their mother's wombs, unconsciously railing against separation from women in ways that must feel interminably lonely? Or is that just what I tell myself in the fear of rejection?  

AND YET, I never stopped wanting love and affection, (even when I fucked their brains out and intimidated the hell out of them) because I craved love with all my being. Owning and voicing those desires, both for love and for sex, is the greatest source of my agency today. I am not a victim of my beauty, or my sex, or my desire for love. Now when I say I want more, I own it, even if the guy isn't able to provide it. I feel empowered knowing what I want even as I often feel lonely and frustrated in search of it. 

My version of feminism is the one where women are messy, sexy, responsible, empowered, and whatever else they fucking want to be and where sex isn't relegated to a place of weakness and dependency (even as I admit my own weakness and dependency) because one of my greatest sources of power is my sexual freedom and agency in choosing and wanting it. And still, I'll admit that, with some exceptions, I still really hoped he would like me.    

another word for control

“I don’t know why my friends care about my life choices – just because I’m not married with kids or obsessed with my career, like I have a different kind of life.” 
“Maybe it’s less about judging your life and more that they want you to be happy. Are you happy?” 
“I work too much and I’m not good at saying ‘no’…to anyone,” Hotman laughs his loud, vivacious laugh, “well, actually I’m getting better at this, I’ve been hiding away more. But happy? No, not really.” 
Hotman is heavy. The weight is more than the big superhero suit and all the different characters and the narcissistic friends and the married girlfriend and the being overworked, it’s the visceral g-force of circling these issues without a sense of resolution and a willingness to change. 

Change is really fucking hard. 

I’d anticipated talking to Hotman about our unavailable interests but now that we’re hanging out and cuddling, I don’t really want to tell him the truth about the married man who holds that place in my own life and connect with him through pain. Instead, I want to be soft and accommodating and warm. Though given what I already know about him, and about myself, being soft is the wrong move. I should resist my affections, be glassy and difficult, observe, and then give myself the option to decide, but because of something he said on Sunday night, I’ve already concluded that Hotman and I are good together. 
That night, I explained my love conundrum: “I need to be alone a lot and it’s weird because I’ll catch myself having like, moments of real loneliness, but then I’m so happy when I’m alone and safe in my own world…” 
“’Safe’ can be another word for control.” 
“Sure, right, and I get that I protect myself, but my time alone is also the source of my creativity, or at least it’s the nest. I feel very protective of it and I haven’t yet experienced intimacy with someone where that part of me is seen and understood but not fucked with.”
He chuckles and eats a spoon of ice cream, “I think only Aquarians get other Aquarians. We spend a lot of time in space.” 
“Yeah I guess wow. I’ve never really met any other Aquarians, or I haven’t dated any that’s for sure.” 
“I’m a rising Leo so that’s where all the vanity comes from,” he moves his hand through his hair and poses for a second.  
“I fucking love talking about astrological signs even it’s anti-intellectual or whatever, I love it. I’m a Cancer moon so I love making a home and like, loving people into submission, but then if you hurt me, I’ll pull deep into my shell.”
“That sounds about right.” 
“This is the conundrum in love – wanting the safe, warm, loving home with another person and also the safe, warm, loving home with myself. I want both.” 
“I’m right with you on that. That’s the dream.” 
Hotman puts his right arm around me and I soften into his body, lifting my legs up onto the bench and laying back as he smells my hair and kisses the top of my head.
We’ve talked about authors we love, but he doesn’t yet know what kind of writer I am and I’m eager to share. “Can I read you my story?” I ask.
“Ahh yes, of course the writer comes with her stories. I’d be honoured.”