Hi Gigi,

I started dating this guy in August. We agreed to both take things slow as far as not rushing into a serious relationship too quickly. We started having sex and as you probably know, it is hard to not get emotionally attached once you have that physical connection. How do I approach my feelings on this with him? I feel myself wanting to see him more and getting more attached, but I don’t want to push him away.

-B

Hey B,

Thanks for writing in. Oh, the beauty of uncertain relationships. I love modern dating. Said no person ever in the history of the world.

If we all just said what we really felt instead of pretending we felt nothing and we’re dead inside, that would likely produce healthier relationships. Alas, here we are living in a day and age where the less you show on the outside, the more valuable you are. Cute. Let’s dive into this predicament.

First of all, I want to cover something: The truth about “sex making you catch feelings”: It is complete bullshit. Let’s talk about why you feel this way and why it’s easy to say it is hard not to get emotionally attached once you have that physical connection.” Because I don’t know that to be true. Because it isn’t true. Pardon if my explanation is slightly clinical, but you deserve to have this demystified. You’re obviously not the only woman who has thought this, believed it, and subscribed to it like gospel.

Orgasms release oxytocin, the natural pair-bonding hormone in the brain. It causes you to temporarily confuse feelings of love with feelings of pleasure. Your brain is literally telling you you’re in love because a person made you come.

Don’t get fucked up here — you’re convincing yourself that the sex is giving you feelings, but what it probably is is that you want a boyfriend and he’s available, both physically and emotionally. Why wouldn’t you? He’s in your sphere of consciousness, having sex with you. You’re a human being.

You might want to ask yourself if you’re projecting your desire for a partner onto this guy. I’m not saying it’s the only explanation, I’m just saying it’s worth exploring this possibility.

You so easily believe that sex is supposed to lead to feelings because that’s what you’ve been conditioned to believe. If you had sex without developing emotional feelings, the society in which we live would unkindly say, “What the fuck? You are a massive hoe.” Not literally (but sometimes literally).  A sexually free woman is a scary thing.

Again, maybe this dude is super chill and awesome. I don’t know.

You’re worried about pushing him away because you’re afraid he doesn’t share the same feelings for you. If this is the case, you need to know now. You need to have a frank and honest discussion about what you truly want from this arrangement.

You’re avoiding the conversation because you’re terrified of rejection. We are all scared of rejection. You know what is worse? Wasting a lot more of your precious time and then finding out he isn’t going to commit later. If you want something serious and he isn’t into it, it’s better to know. We put up with far too much shit, which only makes guys think they can get away with far too much shit.

Hope this helps,

xoG

Gigi Engle is a feminist writer, sex educator, and speaker. A book with St. Martins Press is forthcoming.

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