So far so good. He makes you smile. He turns you on. The banter is flirty, playful and just enough to make you bite your lip in anticipation.
Then he probes: "What do you like?" or "How do you like it?"
Response: "Oh you know..." [Insert generic answer with just the slightest hint of deviancy. Gauge his response.]
Then the "have you ever..." begins.
Yesterday Sexuality & The City shared on their Facebook wall an older Salon article entitled: "I'm Fixated On My Wife's Past". It hit a little too close to home. That same morning I had spent an entire brunch lamenting to a friend the frustration of when men want to play the "What have you done?" game of one's sexual past.
At what point do you tell?
Two options play out for me -- either he wants to know because he really wants to blow my mind below the belt or (what is more likely) he's trying to figure out how what I have done so he can know how far to push me or shame me into repeating something.
Does he really need to know? Do I want to know?
I firmly subscribe to the school of thought that what you did with your past partners is your past. Unless you really like something in particular and want to do it now -- then it can be up for discussion but I don't want to be put in a situation where I'm being told: "But you did (X) with your ex, why won't you do it with me? Don't you care about me and my needs?" Because let's be real, it happens.
Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself. ― Anaïs Nin
Shaming in sex happens so often and easily. When the choice to have been vulnerable and share a bit of your sexual past comes back as a slap in the face, it hurts. While it makes you less likely to want to disclose it again, it can also be a great screening method for guys you should stop dating immediately.
Women of the Internet, how many of you have been asked the following by men way too early in the dating cycle (as in the first few dates):
1. Would you ever have a threesome? Do you have friends that would? Can you make that happen?
2. Have you ever hooked up with another girl?
3. How many people have you slept with?
4. What's the craziest place you've ever hooked up?
Look buddy, here's the deal -- if I want to sleep with you, I'll make that known. I don't need you to try to weasel your way in with your sexual fantasies in the hopes of how many I might be able to help you cross off that sexual bucket list. I assure you that getting to know me in less sleazy way is more likely going to help you gain traction. In fact, keep sex off the table for the first few dates and see how much more interested I am.
So how soon is too soon to disclose? Is there a too soon? Should you tell or should you wait? Is it tit for tat -- tell me yours and I'll tell you mine?
I don't know.
I know that with each person its different. I know that there are some instances where I have felt incredibly safe to be vulnerable and others where I've held back because a nagging feeling told me it wasn't a good idea. The best advice I can offer is to trust your gut and do whats right for you, but don't ever let someone tell you that your past decisions are cause for judgement. If they can't accept that those experiences shaped you, let the door hitting them on their way out shape theirs.
Follow Audrey Bellis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/audreybellis