Sometimes it’s hard to imagine where the stereotype even comes from. I can’t count the times I’ve sat through a movie about love and relationships — a promising one, even — only to see the guy portrayed once again as a sex-hungry moron. He’s horny, he just wants to get in your pants, he’s not interested in hearing about how you feel. If he does, it’s a means to an end. Maybe, at the very end, a good girl will convert him into the kind of guy she could actually date, but sometimes he just remains the dog that he was through the whole film. I don’t know who that guy is, I’ve never met him, and I’ve certainly never been him.
In my life (full disclosure, I’m 27), I’ve slept with about a dozen girls. A few were serious relationships, most were short-term things, and two were one-night stands. And even though I am definitely not the most talented with women, and I don’t have that impressive a sexual history, I am confident that I am an average example of what a man my age looks like. When my friends talk about their relationships — and no, we don’t sit around in some obnoxious circle, drinking beer and trading tips on “getting chicks” — it’s usually very similar to my experience. They fall in love sometimes, sometimes they don’t. And none of them are out to destroy women emotionally so they can get laid.
One of my two one-night stands was a few months ago, and it’s still pretty clear in my memory. I had broken up with my long-term girlfriend about a month before that, and I was going through a pretty serious depression. I got way more drunk than I intended to, and my friend gave me the green light to hit on his cousin who was visiting DC for a few days. (He later held this against me, but that’s his own fault.) Anyway, we went to my apartment and had about 15 minutes of really awkward sex. The next day, we exchanged a couple of words, and she got dressed. She added me on Facebook, which was strange. I accepted, which was even stranger. I didn’t sleep much that night, because I was so self-conscious, more and more as I sobered up. My room was messy, I knew I couldn’t have been any good, I didn’t know if she was cold — I didn’t know anything about her. Do I hold her? Do I give her space? We had just done one of the most intimate things two human beings could do, and she was no less a stranger.
Experiences like this are not something I pursue. I am not indiscriminately horny, looking for the next girl who will have me. I watch porn, I like sex, I enjoy meeting new women, but none of these things consume me to the point that I would take a night of sex to imitate the things I actually want. No matter how often we portray men as being completely sexual, emotionally void characters, it won’t make the act of a one-night stand or sex with someone I don’t care about feel any less unnatural. In fact, it only creates a weird feeling of not living up to something simply by wanting to have a connection to my partners. Like any woman in the rom coms, I have been heartbroken over love, and I have dated someone for a long time before ever being with them physically. And contrary to cultural belief, this doesn’t make me less of a man.
One day, I hope to get married. I hope to find someone I really love, who loves me in return, and spend my life with them. I don’t want to spend my life — or even a day of it — bouncing from bed to bed and touching people I will never see in the daylight. I am not interested in the very temporary satisfaction of a one-night stand, and I don’t want to see endless representations of myself as some sex-crazed adult child. Even if it means that I will miss out on some fun, I would much rather be who I am, and find someone who wants to be with it. And not just for one night.