I was so excited about having sex with Paul for the first time that I bought a new blue dress and matching lingerie for the whole shebang.
He was a tall, wide-eyed, hairy guy from Westchester, New York who I met on Hinge. We had been on six whole dates and I made him wait three whole weeks to seal the deal (an impressive feat when the sexual energy is zinging between you every time you kiss). We had even been naked in bed (not once—twice), but we still hadn’t done the deed.
But this time? It. Was. On.
We met for a Latin dinner near his office, some cute, hole-in-wall place that he raved about. I happily drank half of the pitcher of sangria, but I was tapping my heels the whole time, anticipating the grand finale we both knew was coming. The bill came and went, we made a make-out pitstop at his office (cough, the Chrysler Building with a view, cough) and then grabbed a cab uptown to my place.
It took us maybe 10 minutes to strip down…and less than that to finish. Needless to say (and much to my disappointment) the sex was lackluster. In fact, it was just plain boring.
I fell asleep that night wondering if perhaps Paul was just too drunk or I was putting too much pressure on the night. I cursed myself for building the big event up in my head, imagining that it’d be as passionate as Noah and Allie in The Notebook. (DAMN THAT MOVIE.) I couldn’t fall asleep, so I did what I usually do when I can’t sleep and a naked man is laying next to me: I tried for round two. He obliged.
Still no fireworks.
After Paul and I had sex those two times, I was worried about the state of our budding relationship. Sure, we had chemistry … and yeah, we were great at the shove-you-up-against-the-side-of-a-building-in-the-rain public displays of affection. But when it came to actually mushing our body parts together, something was just … off. And while I can turn a cheek to some things (like a balding head or imperfect teeth), I’m not willing to settle for lackluster sex.
So for our next date, I came up with a plan: I’d make the sex spontaneous rather than drunken, and I’d see if we both rose to the challenge together.
Lucky for me, I write about love and sex for a living, so coming up with an idea was as easy as reading my own archives. I suggested a place by the water on the West Side that was close to my apartment, hoping he’d ask to walk home by the river since it was a crisp, warm summer night.
“You know, I just wrote that article about sex trends of the summer,” I flirted.
“Oh yeah, what should I know about?” He asked, squeezing my ass. Good sign, good sign.
“Well, outdoor sex is rising in popularity, along with going nude on road trips,” I said slyly, smiling at him through a beer haze and squinted eyes in the streetlamp.
I was trying to sound sexy, so of course it came out a bit rehearsed—but he got the message. I don’t know if it was his Blue Moon courage or the fact that I mentioned how horny I was, but within five minutes, he had found a place for us to get down.
It just so happens that place was in the middle of dirt and bushes.
He laid down and I climbed on top, tossing my panties into the darkness (RIP Victoria’s Secret lace thong from the semi-annual sale). Sticks poked my ankles and anyone who walked by and looked in the right direction could probably see my nipples, but I gave it all the energy I had. I was louder than it really merited and I pulled out tricks I hoped would make him finish, or at least let ME finish.
But after about 10 minutes, I was turned on, but nowhere close to the Big O.
“We should probably just finish at your apartment,” he said, looking up at me through his glasses, now partially steamed up. His polo shirt was rolled up to his neck. His khakis were still on, but now filthy. My bra was hanging by a strap and we had to use the light of our iPhones to find my wedge sandals, but we walked, defeated, back to my place.
Six weeks later, we called it quits. And while I did get an orgasm or two out of my short relationship with Paul, that passion that I wanted so badly just never boiled up.
That was my big lesson with Paul: sometimes, even if a guy is great on paper and you have some of the best dates of your life, it doesn’t mean that a relationship is meant to be. And even if a guy is willing to commit to you—like Paul was—if he doesn’t make fireworks go off (especially at the beginning when things are supposed to be hot and heavy), what’s the point?
Oh, and I also learned that having sex outside in a public park to try and make a relationship sizzle … yeah. That doesn’t work either.