So often, in relationships, I get resentful because I’m willing to do things for the other person that they won’t do for me. Telling them that I want them to do the things doesn’t generally work, so clearly the solution to the imbalances is to fix them from my side – to stop going out of my way for partners and operate on pure selfishness.* I might still be lacking some things I want from partners, but removing that resentment factor would make things so much better. And honestly, I’ve observed that a lot of the time when a woman stops trying with a guy, he panics and thinks he’s losing her and he picks up the slack. Most women I’ve ever seen who have adoring, kiss-ass husbands or boyfriends are women who are kind of mercenary in their dealings; women who just don’t give a fuck.
On the other hand, I do a lot of emotional labour along the lines of ferretting out what’s upsetting a partner and orchestrating how to fix it; emotional shit that I don’t think my guys have any idea how to do. They couldn’t pick up that slack even if they wanted to, or at least not quickly enough, so the relationships would likely die for that reason.
But I’m fascinated with the idea of just doing whatever I want without thinking much about another person’s feelings, as it often feels like men do. I bet it’d be neat to just act entirely according to my desires without overthinking anything. I’m so used to automatically thinking about other people that it’s hard to imagine what being selfish would even look like. I’m gonna try to visualize it now, just for fun.
Situation #1: The Pedant and his chronic lateness. I’m forever making plans with him and adhering to our agreed-upon timeline, even if it means waking up far earlier than I wanted to – and he almost invariably ends up being hours late. And he doesn’t even tell me upfront “yeah sorry let’s get together six hours from now instead of now.” He texts me “whoops, just a little longer” forty times so I’m always thinking he’s about to show up so I can’t take a nap.
Admittedly, part of the reason I get so tied in knots over his lateness is that I worry that if I did fall asleep or run an errand while waiting for him, he’d text me a few times but then give up and go home and I wouldn’t get to see him at all. So I’d have to not only be selfish in order to change the script here, I’d also have to not care so much about seeing him. But if I could accomplish all that, imagine the text conversations:
Me: Whoops, sorry I’m getting in touch with you five hours after we’d agreed to meet up. I had a late night last night and I ended up sleeping in. But I’m awake now and ready for you to come over.
Pedant: Okay I’m finally here.
Me: Oh I actually got tired of waiting so I’m at [mall half an hour away]. If you could just wait at my door for me to finish shopping and get back, that’d be great.
Pedant: Okay I’m finally here.
Me (an hour later): Oh sorry I was watching a movie and got caught up in it and forgot to check my phone. You can come up now.
Pedant: Okay I’m finally here.
Me: Oh awesome! Hold on, I’ll be down to let you in. [Ten minutes later] Sorry, I was naked when you first texted and I’ve been trying to decide what to wear. I’ve picked an outfit and will be down in five minutes. [Ten minutes later] Yeah I can’t find my keys and I don’t want to leave the apartment unlocked with nobody in it. Bear with me. [Ten minutes later] It’s looking more like I’ll be down in half an hour. [An hour later] Sorry, something came up. Totally heading to the elevator any minute, though! [Fifteen minutes later] Okay I’m on my way for real now.
I’m not suggesting that I contrive to do any of these things on purpose just to fuck with him, mind you. I’m saying that right now, I do force myself to wake up for plans with The Pedant even if I’ve had practically no sleep; I do forego errands and shopping and stuff because I want to be here when he arrives; I do try to watch movies while waiting but can’t concentrate because I’m constantly checking my phone in case he’s texted to say that he’s here; I have gone to let him in wearing a hasty selection of random floor-clothes and no bra because I was naked when he arrived and didn’t want to keep him waiting. And I’d love to be able to let go of all of that and just live my life according to my desires. I think if I did, I’d feel a lot less resentful over his lateness because it wasn’t causing me to lose out on anything like it does now.
Situation #2: The Dandy’s sexual selfishness. Apparently, he won’t give his partners orgasms unless they specifically tell him to; not even if he’s just had intercourse with someone that left them all turned on and stuff. Often he’ll approach intercourse (with me, anyway) as just another utilitarian means of getting off, heaving himself onto me and thrusting mechanically until he’s done – no eye contact or kissing, no varying his moves and seeing what makes me react the most, nothing. Also usually his default is no foreplay particularly (unless you count me kissing and licking his cock) – if I specifically ask him to pet me, he’ll do so in a perfunctory fashion and without any sort of focus on my responses. Also, no cunnilingus ever, allegedly because he was traumatized by an ex’s terrible smell, but I think he just plain doesn’t feel like it: he says he doesn’t hate the act and that I smell fine and yet.
If I were able to live life according to my own whims, without being overly concerned about other people, I could:
- Kiss and lick The Dandy’s cock for as long as I wanted, in the way I like, and then just stop when I’ve had enough. (As it stands, the stuff I do to indulge my foreskin fetish is enough stimulation to turn him on sometimes but not enough to get him off, so if he gets erect while I’m doing it I start to feel bad about getting him all riled up and not following through, so eventually I’ll switch to jerking him off even though that doesn’t particularly ring my bell and I really just want to keep aimlessly kissing the tip of his cock.)
- Stop sexual activity the moment I got bored. If we’re doing PIV and he hasn’t come? Meh, whatever, I’m satisfied. Goodnight! …But of course, if he then took my hand and put it on his cock, I’d take the hint and jerk him off. I mean I’m not a monster. I’m just not bothering to assume that his orgasm has to be an integral part of our bedroom shenanigans.
- Announce that I want PIV and if The Dandy says he’s up for it, I’ll be like “cool!” and then sit there looking at him and waiting for him to get hard so we can start. No touching or anything. But again, I’m not a monster – if he asks me to touch him and get him ready, I’ll totes plunk my hand on his dick and move it absent-mindedly back and forth while staring at the ceiling. Getting him hard requires a pretty boring, repetitive motion but if it helps us hurry up and get to the fucking, I’m all for it.
- Incorporate the Hitachi into our PIV every single time. Turn him into an ambulatory sex toy that I hump until I come, and then immediately climb off him and hop in the shower/go do watch tv/fall asleep/whatever unless he specifically tells me he still wants to get off.
- Never, ever engage in sexual activity with him unless I feel absolutely enthusiastic about it. Stop sex acts in the middle if my wrist/mouth/glutes are getting tired and sore, even if he seems pretty close to orgasm, and not offer any sort of alternative. Take care of my own orgasm at that point if I want one, and expect him to take care of his if he wants one. Ignore him jerking off unless I actively feel like engaging in some way. (Yes, The Dandy has had PIV with me, gotten off, then gotten up to clean up/surf the internet/generally ignore me while I reached for the Hitachi for “my turn.” I’ve had to outright tell him to stay near me and be involved – that my orgasms are part of our sexual encounters, not some extra and unrelated thing.)
Again: this would not game-playing, this would just be an unfiltered version of me who doesn’t feel tacit pressure to please and accommodate partners.
The one way I do wanna fuck with The Dandy that’s absolutely game-playing is to start initiating sex the way he does: by simply showing him my genitals and looking at him like “Well?!” Because that’s irritating and presumptuous as fuck.
Actually I also want to ignore all of his stupid word-free sexual overtures. Like it’s okay by me if he wants sex so he starts kissing and touching me to see if I’m responsive – that sort of wordlessness is fine (mostly because it revolves around giving me pleasure, and will almost always turn me on enough that I will in fact want sex). But for real the other night we were hanging around in the bedroom together and at some point he stealthily pulled his dick out through the hole in his pajama pants and just kind of…waited for me to notice. And when I didn’t, he was like “Jeez, you’re not very observant!” in a jokingly-accusatory-but-probably-not-really-joking tone, and pointedly looked down at his crotch so I’d see his dick flopped out there (all of which is exactly what The Bunny used to do. WTF?!?). And what with him making such a huge goddamned production of “Herrrrrrrre’s my penis!” and acting all tetchy and vulnerable about it, I felt obligated to admire and/or touch said penis in a sexual capacity so he wouldn’t feel rejected. And I hate that feeling of obligation. I hate it even though I actually was interested in sex with him at the time (and we did end up fucking). Use your goddamned words so I can say yes or no, Dandy. Stop hiding behind plausible deniability. If I don’t want to touch your dick but you also haven’t asked me to touch it – just flopped it out and pointed at it – my “no, I don’t want to do this right now” will seem nonsensical at best (what am I saying no to when he didn’t ask for anything?) and overly cruel at worst (like OMG he was just playing around and I was like I DON’T WANT TO DO SEXUAL THINGS WITH YOU, talk about overreacting!).
I honestly do think that if I could be more selfish in relationships, it would make almost all my resentments disappear. There’d be no more imbalance – no more “Humph. I make sacrifices for him and he doesn’t make them for me.”
Except I think if I were selfish it also might destroy said relationships. The Pedant would likely just go home if I made him wait around for hours; he might not be mad about it (we talked about this and he claims he wouldn’t be) but I’d never see him, so for all intents and purposes we’d have no relationship. The Dandy would, I think, probably feel distant from me if I made it obvious that giving him orgasms is sometimes a boring chore I’ve done just to make him feel loved and that I’ve decided not to anymore. Probably he’d feel resentful, then, and it would colour the way he treated me in the rest of the relationship, and then there’d be nothing left to this that makes me happy.
I need to find a middle ground.
*I mean, the other obvious solution is to find guys who’ll step up just as much as I do, but it’s starting to feel like most dudes are entitled and oblivious and won’t ever be on my level, so…