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April 30, 2019

Dear Friend: Please Stop telling me to “Play Hard to Get.”

 

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Dear friend: please stop telling me to “play hard to get.”

I was that young woman who married her high school sweetheart. He was my one and only sexual partner for over 10 years.

After our divorce, I was able to explore myself and a few other partners in many ways—including sexual intimacy. It’s been challenging, fun, and highly rewarding. I feel much more confident as an adult in general and that has had an impact on my sexual journey.

In the process, I ended up finding myself being comfortable with having sex on the first date. I did this regardless of well-meaning friends, and cultural messages in general that insisted on telling me to “play hard to get.” My decision has yielded positive results.

I am so at peace with my choices that I think it is safe to say that we really need to stop telling women to “play hard to get.”

The thing about respect is that it’s not birthed by denied access to our vaginas.

Why should a female lie about her desires in order to “gain respect”? A woman is a human, therefore, her value is inherent in her worth as a person.

Respect is not something we can earn by crossing our legs and closing our vaginas like they’re the gates to heaven. Respect is something any decent human being will manifest for another human being. If a man needs me to “wait” to have sex and act like I don’t want it in order to respect me, he does not deserve my respect or my time.

To base the value of a human’s worth solely on their ability to deny their natural desires is irrational. It seems to me that to judge females this way is quite shortsighted—it does not allow her counterpart to see her holistically because of the focus on what she does with her sexuality.

Play: this implies that sex and consent are a game.

Such a stance is confusing for both women and men. We are told to say “no” when we mean “no.” But is it possible for us to do that if we are chastised for saying “yes” when we actually mean “yes”? For us to truly empower ourselves to let our “yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no,” we need a society that will support the fact that there shouldn’t be any games to play—a community that understands that our decisions over our sexual lives do not determine the value of our character.

We should really be over this fear of not being perceived as “wife material” by now. The number of sexual partners we have, and whether we have sex or kiss on the first date or not, are not even close to what make a partner life-long commitment material.

Do you know what matters in a life partner? Their ability to communicate in a healthy manner, their conflict resolutions skills, their ability to be independent and reliable, their experience with smart financial habits, and their willingness to be a team player in order to achieve goals as a couple. These are things that the number of d*cks a woman has had and how long it took her to feel comfortable enough to want to have them will not reveal.

So please, stop telling women to play hard to get. I am not playing. This isn’t a game. This is my body. I take it seriously. So, if I say “wanna come over to my place?” I am not playing—I am just being an adult and making an adult decision.

Hard: why does anything have to be hard? Why can’t we just go with the flow?

I want my relationships to be peaceful and calm. I am not making anything hard on purpose. As with all things in life, challenging moments and lessons will arise on their own.

I foresee myself being a team player, solving conflict in a way that is beneficial to all, and showing mutual respect in the process. Hopefully, there is even nice “all is well” sex after we figure out how to replace the car tires without blowing our budget, or figure out the kids’ extracurricular schedule without losing our minds, or finish mourning my favorite yard chicken because that dang coyote got her at night, or finally decide if we are selling one of the cars to decrease debt.

Why would I want to start a relationship that I hope is destined for greatness by making anything hard for us at all? Nope. I’m not playing “hard” to get. I am flowing with you. Enjoy it, and flow with me. If a man decides to think that first date sex disqualifies a woman from getting to walk a path of teamwork and greatness, shame on him, honey.

In the words of Ariana Grande: “Thank you. Next.”

To get: this implies that a woman is “something” a man can acquire. It is demeaning and it objectifies women, but it also objectifies men.

To put that burden on a man dehumanizes him. To tell him he is to obtain another human is to deprive him of the joy of valuing himself and others in a more wholesome manner.

I am not saying I am against the uplifting idea of a man courting a woman and a woman courting a man in different ways. In my case, I find it gratifying to cook a meal for a potential partner and I feel ecstasy from seeing that man getting a second serving. There is a loss of gravity under my feet that propels me to his arms when he shows up with flowers or a blanket for a picnic. However, these gestures need to come from a place of self and mutual appreciation that goes way beyond wanting to “get” a trophy. This is especially true when applied to sexual intimacy.

Yes, we want sex out of an adult relationship, however, it should not be the ultimate goal. Great intimacy stems from great connections and the superficial quest of simply getting in someone’s pants does not produce great, lasting outcomes. Therefore, the phrase “to get” is misleading; if he comes in trying to just get some, he will not be “getting” much out of the interaction—and again, that’s on him.

So, I refuse to “play hard to get.” If we hit it off, the connection is legit, and I want more out of it, I am going to engage. Sometimes I might even want to do so immediately. If he chooses to nurture that, he will “get” a lot more out of the interaction than a decent f*ck. The best part is: so will I!

Let’s just ban this phrase from our conversations already.

I know we mean well by telling our female friends to “play hard to get.” The intention is to elicit a long-term relationship. However, when we think about it and deconstruct it, we can see that the effect such a position has can be detrimental. It negatively impacts our self-concept, and is counterproductive.

If a man needs me to hold sex as a bargaining chip so that I can obtain respect and genuine love from him, and if he needs me to say “no” to myself and my desire for him in order for him to be able to acknowledge my worth as a human being and my potential as a life partner: I’d rather find out sooner than later and not waste my time with someone so shallow.

Men need to learn our worth goes beyond how long it takes us to say “yes.” But how can they learn this lesson if we have it embedded in our brains that this lie is true?

I am starting with myself: I am over playing hard to get. I’m over playing. I’m over hard. And I’m over waiting to be “gotten.”

~

author: Oni Adda

Image: @elephantjournal/Instagram

Image: Henri Meilhac/Unsplash

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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Bill Winfield May 7, 2019 5:13pm

Great attitude!! At the first sign of game playing I politely let my dates know that I refuse to participate in them and move on. Your negative responders have missed the point.
Please no games!!

michael mitchell May 7, 2019 2:36pm

Speaking as a 60 year old therapist- I can tell you of the many psychological and physical harm that come from multiple partners. I was young once and naive, operating from ego and selfishness. Talk to people who are older and gain some wisdom. Sex is not a sport, but a sacred exchange for people who know how to love. Grow up.

Gail Granovsky May 7, 2019 10:21am

Wow! I love your perspective on this – thank you!

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Oni Adda

Oñi Adda is a Yoruba Iyalosha. She has a fulfilling career and a happy life filled with fantastic people. She enjoys writing, running, singing in the shower, and baking. She believes that we are all here to grow, that growth leads to unity in our communities, and that all of that good stuff starts within.