There are many reasons men and women have an interest in dating. They range from just wanting to have fun, the desire to meet interesting people, the need or want for sex, or the biggie: the hope of falling in love. But what if you have an interest in dating, but wish to take sex off the table? Is that realistic in today's society and is it even possible when you're over 40?
My gut reaction to this question is, why does dating have to equate to sex? Not just for dating over 40, but for any age? I look at dating and sex as going hand in hand if the chemistry and situation is right, but I think the two are mutually exclusive until that happens.
I think people put way too much pressure on themselves when it comes to sex. Having sex seems to be everyone's biggest fear--men and women--in dating after divorce, which is understandable because it is a vulnerable, scary time where self-esteem isn't at its best.
I have to wonder if there are expectations from daters when it comes to sex. I, personally have no expectations of sex or no sex when dating, and I don't think there are any rules when it comes to dating and sex.
If someone tells me he or she went on a first date and had sex, I don't judge. Do I think it is wise? In the majority of cases, no. But there are exceptions.
If someone says, "I've been out with this guy five times and we still haven't slept together," I don't judge, either. One or both of the people have to feel like it is right to take things to a physical level, and if neither or one does, then sex is off the table, right?
The only thing I think is kind of gross, and again I'm not judging anyone else, but for me, I couldn't sleep with someone who I suspect is sleeping with other women. I have written this before and people have written back and said, "Get over it!" But that's just my stance. Everyone has to do what they feel is right for them.
Sex can be breathtaking and fun and exciting and mean the world with the right person. Sex can also be awkward and boring and considered a huge mistake if under the wrong circumstances or with the wrong person. Every situation is different.
My opinion is, if you want to engage in sexless dating, go out on dates with no expectations of sex. Assume you aren't going to get physical and enjoy feeling safe in that comfort zone. Go on dates for companionship, interest, fun, to make new friends, and maybe even for a really nice kiss.
If you find yourself in a situation where someone expects sex, that's his problem. No one should ever feel obligated or pressured to do anything he or she does not want to do. Also, make sure you never put yourself in a unsafe situation, like going back to the home of a guy you just met, or having him over.
On the other hand, you might surprise yourself. You might meet someone you really like and you might end up wanting to sleep with him. I'm sure it is hard to imagine if you go into dating with a sexless mindset), but I've seen it a thousand times in newly separated men and women. The spark ignites and it is totally unexpected. If and when that happens is dependent on the situation, the two people, and honestly, the stars. It's beautiful to see, as a moment like that brings anyone who has ever had a broken heart hope and rejuvenation.
Just remember that dating doesn't have to mean sex, unless you and the person you are dating wants that.
Take the pressure off yourself and just enjoy your sexless dating. As scary as it might seem, dating can be really really fun and interesting. Dating means the possibility of meeting people who become gifts in your life. And dare I say that finding love could happen? Don't rule that out. Statistics show that a couple falls in love every 93 minutes!
Honestly, I just made that up, but one thing is for sure. You aren't going to meet him (or her) if you sit on your couch. So, if you choose, engage in sexless dating and stop thinking too much about the pressure of taking off your clothes. Most of that pressure is probably coming from you.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.