I went on three dates with him before we fucked.

We followed the prototypical lifecycle of new couples; coffee, then dinner, then dinner at his place. Pot roast, if I recall. Nature's least sexy beef.

It was awkward. We barely knew each other. I felt like I should probably do things like chew with my mouth closed, laugh when he did and not reveal my ____. I wasn't quite myself.

But, nature called and I was horny. I liked him enough to fuck him, so I did.

Good fucking grief. It was terrible. He asked me to get on top so he could, "see those titties bounce" (I have no titties to bounce), and my invisible female hard-on immediately imploded in a fantastic array. We had no rhythm, he didn't go down on me, and we had none of the chemistry we'd shared when we were mercifully not fucking.

We jack-hammered for a bit and never spoke again.

That was only the most recent time this happened, too. This scenario; this "Can I take you to dinner where I'll pretend to be a better, more unrealistic version of myself?" thing has happened to me time and time again. You date, you waste your time, you find out you're a sexual mismatch and never speak again. If you have a left leg, it's probably happened to you, too. Welcome to the brotherhood of ruinous sex times.

Why does this keep happening to you and I? Well, honeysuckle, it's because in this day and age, dating is completely unrealistic.

It places you in a context that would never actually happen in a real relationship. Think about it: you're two people, unsure of your chemistry, who are trying to posture and self-enhance in order to seem more attractive to the other. You're doing stereotypically romantic things that other people tell you you should like; candlelit dinners accented by topical conversations, agreeing to go to horrible movies you'd never see otherwise, meeting their shitty friend you'll probably never see again … it's all just a song and dance we perform expressly so we can fuck.

So, why not just fuck?

Fucking is the opposite of dating, at least in the conventional sense of the word. Unlike the latter, it places you in a situation that is realistic. You can't hide yourself when you're fucking like you can when you're at Maggiano's Little Italy pretending you don't want to inhale the breadbasket in front of you so he'll think you have self-control, which you laughably do not.

Here's what would happen in a normal, healthy relationship: you'd fuck. A bunch.

You'd strip off all your clothes, take in the sights and sounds of each other's fleshy imperfections, and discover, for better or for worse, that one of you is really prone to using the word "splooge." You'd breathe in each other's smell, get tangled in each other's hair, and learn very quickly whether you bodies fit together correctly.  You'd unearth each other's fantasies, an incredibly intimate scenario which demands trust and respect, two things that are essential in a functional relationship.If you don't want to vomit uncontrollably after you see their ass get up from your bed in search of the bathroom, you'd realize you've found someone who's at least worth seeing again. An intelligent use of your time. 

Sex forces you to confront each other, in all your Instagram-unworthy reality, head on. It's maximum vulnerability as a first course; it's the first bite of a meal that tells you whether you made the right choice or you're about to experience some Oregon Trail-level dysentery. It sorts out your chemical compatibility almost immediately, something no pot roast dinner can do. And chemical compatibility, while largely unconscious, is a major factor in who we fall in love with. Aligning on a cellular level is what activates the hormones that cause us to fall head over heels in love with someone, be they right or wrong for us.

The consequence of this fuck-first approach is that you never know what you're going to get. You could get syphilis. You could get a baby. You could get a baby named Syphilis. But if you walk away from it with nothing growing inside you, be it microbial or human, I'd say you're doing pretty okay in my book.

What a waste of time it is; to date someone in temporary celibacy, only to find out they're horrible in bed, or you can't sleep together, or they don't respect and trust you at your most naked and vulnerable; that the one thing that solidifies your bond as a couple (the feeling that you'd rather fuck them than anyone else) doesn't work. Gross.

A counter argument to this would, of course, be that you need dates to figure out if you even want to sleep with someone in the first place. It helps you figure out if you have interpersonal chemistry.

But think about it; even then, it's kind of hard to assess chemistry when you're placed in a setting that's become socially scripted. Thanks to decades of media romanticization, dates as we know them come with a pre-prescribed conversation lexicon, a set of behaviors we think we "should" follow, and an inglorious slew of expectations we don't end up meeting or having met because people are flawed and insecure bags of tumultuous emotion.

That's why when it comes to scoping out chemistry before the fuckfest begins, you should still forgo the date. Hang out causally with friends instead. Go to a party with them. See how the interact with people in real life and how they treat you in the presence of others. Put yourself in a situation which as no social script; that's when you'll reveal your actual personalities to each other most. Because even if you do the Pure Angel Dance and keep your chastity belt locked the first few times you hang out, you're still not in real life on a typical date.

It's one thing if sex isn't really that important to you. There are people who couldn't give a rats butt hair about it. There are companionable connections; relationships based around intimacy, love and trust in which the people in them are sexual mismatches.

Those are the people who should date. They should go to the awkward dinners, the movies, the friend's birthday parties where they don't know how to introduce each other. Dating is these peoples' kingdom. They thrive there.

But for the rest of us? Nah. Sex first, names later. It's a more efficient use of your time, and as long as you're doing it safely and respectfully, it's a hell of a lot more fun than pot roast and some Sandler-Barrymore nightmare on the silver screen.

[originally published August 22, 2017]