We had a very lively conversation at a recent Singles Workshop about sex, sexual compatibility and limerence. Several women said vehemently, “I don’t want to put a lot of time into dating her if we’re not going to be sexually good together!” Yet, someone also said, “My heart is in my vagina.” And we’ve often seen that even when two women agree up front to have a non-committed or “friends with benefits” sexual relationship, one or both women may end up feeling and wanting more than she bargained for… so things can get very sticky. (No double meaning intended!)
So, what’s the solution?
Can you discipline yourself – and speak clearly enough, and trust Ms. Potential to discipline herself, and speak clearly enough, too – to check out the goods in bed early on, before deciding whether to keep dating? In other words, is it possible to have “check-each-other-out sex” rather than “relationship sex”? Or should you date slowly, consciously and non-physically, avoiding sex and even hot-and-heavy flirting until you’ve ascertained that you’re a good match on other levels?
The answer is: Maybe. And maybe.
You see, we’re all familiar with the classic lesbian relationship model – “Take a tablespoon of chemistry, go to bed, and then presto, instant-relationship!” – and how often it leads to heartbreak. This is because of limerence, the brain-chemistry high that comes about from sexual attraction (and gets fueled by flirting and sex) – which, unfortunately, is very, very easy to confuse with love. And two women together seem to be more prone to this than other kinds of couples (after all, no one jokes about straight people or gay men bringing U-hauls on the second date!)
Limerence can really fool us. When the sexual attraction and passion is high, it feels like love – and it feels like it will last forever. But it isn’t, and it won’t. The brain chemistry high wears off within 6-12 months, and if you haven’t got the right stuff for lasting love, and haven’t built a strong foundation, you’re in for major pain when the limerence fades.
This is why Michelle often gives downright unsexy advice like “Don’t make any major decisions during the first 6 months, when limerence is strongest,” and “Don’t go to bed together until you’ve actually had some conflict with each other and gotten through it in a healthy way – so that you know you both have the skill to do that.” Having violated both of these guidelines in the past, with disastrous results, I can vouch for their wisdom! Yet, as someone to whom sex is very important, I also totally understand the other side of the coin.
Here are the questions to ask:
- Is it really possible for you to “check out the sex” as just one more part of an ongoing assessment process while you date – one more piece of info, but NOT the deciding factor?
- And, is she really on the same page?
- And, are both of you able and willing to let go sexually and have a powerful time between the sheets, even without the promise or fantasy that this means you’ll get involved?
If both of you are able to honestly answer “Yes” to all three of these questions – and then hold to that clarity, no matter how hot things get – then perhaps you could actually have “check-each-other-out sex.”
Of course, if either one of you doesn’t feel that clarity, or can’t open up sexually without more commitment, or can’t hold to that clarity, then what starts as “checking-each-other-out sex” could become just another “limerence leads to the wrong relationship or to heartbreak” story.
Here at Conscious Girlfriend, we’re not prudes or moralists or anti-limerence or anti-sex. We just want you to be honest with yourself – and her.