Dudes Today: The Emotional Conquistador Is The New Sexual Conquistador

I think one of the biggest threats facing sexually-liberated women today is the Emotional Conquistador. It's become blatantly obvious to me in recent months that the power struggle between the sexes is still at play, but because the interactions in heterosexual relationships have shifted-with women taking a more aggressive approach to their sexual satisfaction, and becoming more adroit at compartmentalizing the physical from the emotional-we're now dealing with certain (insecure?) men who still have this innate need to take the upper hand. With the age-old option of sexual conquering removed from the equation, this male faction has been reduced to finding new ways to subjugate women, in order to feel better about themselves. So lately, guys have been trying to talk their way into receiving "feelings" instead of fellatio. Because, at the end of the day, they really want their egos stroked more than their dicks. After the jump, a cautionary tale.

I'll admit that casual sex for me is a total defense mechanism in order to experience intimacy without risking emotional detriment. I'd so much rather be fucked than fucked with. So when some guy suggested to me last week that we merely make out all night instead of have sex, I was immediately cautious of his intentions. It sounds backwards, I know, but it's, uh, progressive. Right?

I have a really tough exterior when it comes to these things, but that's only because what's within is extra gooey. But I've been a little worried as of late that if I keep building up this shell, it would eventually become calcified, and the real me would be trapped in forever. So for the first time in years, I decided to change it up and not be so cynical. I allowed someone to bypass my vaginal walls and penetrate my emotional one. He laid it on really thick, too. Compliments, face-caressing, never-ending cuddle-fests, and full disclosure on just how much he liked me. (Within a week's time I'd heard: "I could fall in love with you" and "When I'm with you, I'm head-over-heels.") One night when we were laying in bed, I noticed that he was sort of falling off one side, and I asked him if he wanted to scoot toward the middle. He made such a big deal about it, like it meant something. All of his past girlfriends would take up the whole bed, and he would have to sleep toward the edge. Drunk on girlie giddiness, I saw a metaphor in it, too, like, wow, I'm pulling him closer, and we're meeting in the middle. I know, I know.

To be honest, I found all this to be so dramatic and way too precious and told him so. I was also well aware of how emotionally damaged he seemed to be. But I thought that was maybe something that could go on the list of Shit We Have in Common, right under "favorite Dolly Parton song." I was like, well, maybe it is possible that things can happen this fast. Maybe this is how normal people actually start dating. Maybe I've just been this weirdo all along. And even my jaded ass couldn't deny that I was equally attracted to him physically and mentally, as evidenced by the constant butterflies in my stomach, smile on my face, and heavier laundry loads from all the tights and jeans that were getting so wet whenever we hung out.

But I totally should've trusted my instincts, because they've never failed me before. Especially when one night, he actually asked me to enumerate all the things I liked about him. I thought it was weird, but I obliged with utter honesty, "You're funny, you're smart, you're cute, you're charming, blah, blah blah." I ended with, "I like you so much it's scaring me." And it was then that he got what he wanted. About 30 hours later, after spending the entire weekend together-brunching, cuddling, kissing on the street, holding hands, playing Connect Four, while sober, mind you-I received a text that said that he really needed to be alone, and he hoped I would understand.

I wasn't shocked. Just disappointed-majorly. A few hours later I got another text that said he was being stupid, and he'd meet me at our friend's show at this bar. We spent the night with our arms around each other, kissing. On the drive home he was silent. When he got to my place he didn't even pull up to the curb. He just idled in the street. He turned to me and said, "I can't do this. I'm not ready. I don't want to hurt your feelings." Um, too late, pal. God!

I stomped my feet up the stairs in my building and realized that I'd just been used. Now I think that emotional scar tissue I already had is turning into a fucking keloid. I totally just got emotionally played. And even though my glasses are currently blurry from a dried gray mixture of salty tears and black mascara, I see clearly now that I don't blame the player, I blame the game.