Dear Dr. NerdLove,
As a 22 year old guy, I have no idea how to express myself sexually, since I’ve never really done that before. It helps to state upfront what I’m looking for: when I say “express myself sexually”, I mean it fairly literally. I want other people to talk to about my desires and fantasies. I have a lot of “ideas” in my head and I want to meet other people who are into the same stuff as me. It’s really that simple. I’m not asking for the intimacy or relationship of a “sex partner”, because I don’t necessarily need a “sex partner” anymore than I’d need a “Star Wars movie watching partner”. Rather what I need is a kind of “fandom” I can join, or even just a “sexual friend” (not FWB, literally just “friend who’s into the same sexual stuff in the same way we’d like the same TV show”). I don’t need a full-blown relationship, just someone I can just “geek out” with and share interests with. It could be as simple as an adult pen pal, or someone I meet up with for coffee once or twice a month. I literally just want a safe place and a safe person to share myself with, and someone who can share themselves with me. I’m not asking for a full-blown swingers or BDSM club, just an adults-only space to talk to others about adults-only stuff.
On one hand, I understand this question seems a bit ridiculous because of how easy the need should be to meet even without your help. There are tons of groups and places out there in real life, to say nothing of the infinite variety of online communities. Why would anyone have trouble finding a place where they can talk about even the most obscure stuff?
For me, the problem is that I’m a very cautious, perhaps even paranoid person, and combined with my sexual naivety I just don’t know how to navigate and explore the adult world safely.
My sense of caution is borne from the fact that my life as a whole is more important than any sex life I could ever have. If I was guaranteed a 40-year career with decent pay and benefits, comfortable retirement, a nice house, respect by my peers in the field, etc and the condition was never experiencing any sexual pleasure ever again, I would take that deal. Contrariwise, I’ve come an enormously long way in my life, and it would be awful to ruin it all just because I wanted to have some fun. If I play my cards right I’m set for a very good life, but as far as exploring and expressing myself sexually as an adult, I don’t know what game I’m even playing. I don’t want to make a bad decision by not knowing what I’m getting into, get involved in something dangerous or illegal, and then have my life ruined just because I was horny and didn’t know what to do with myself.
As an example of how my problem works, I know there are message boards, subreddits, websites, chatrooms, etc dedicated to exactly the kind of stuff I like, but since people can easily hide who they are online, I don’t want to risk talking with somebody who turns out to be underage. As such, I don’t go to such places or do such things. No matter how much I want to interact with others, I don’t do that because I have too much to lose if something goes wrong, and the fear of something going wrong would ruin the fun of something that goes right.
To steal a metaphor from someone I heard once, my sex life is like being stranded in the ocean: surrounded by water, none of it drinkable. Or at least that’s how I’d describe the situation for online communities. With regards to real-life communities for adults, I’m in a desert: no idea of where to even find water.
Yet at the same time, I can’t help but feel that I’m too responsible and big-picture minded for my own good, that I’m over-cautious and paranoid, and that maybe I’m surrounded by tons of great options I’m just too scared to look into, or because of my naivety even safe things look scary since I don’t have the experience to know they’re trustworthy. Yes, it’s my determination that my life as a whole is better and more important than any sex life I could possibly have, but at the same time sexuality is a basic human urge, and I’m caught between “I can satisfy myself safely if I know what I’m doing. Hundreds of millions of people watch porn, role-play, go to strip/kink/swinger/BDSM clubs, etc and they’re just fine.” versus “I don’t know that much about the adult world or how to get into it, and even if I did the safest option is to do nothing.”. It’s a battle between “My fear is possibly irrational, and I can afford to have some fun.” versus “No amount of fun is worth the risk. Fear keeps me safe.”
My current solution is to avoid interacting with others for maximum safety and focus entirely on what I can do for myself. More specifically, I harness my skills as a writer and make stories for myself, but in a lot of ways this just highlights why I want another human being to express myself to: I’d like someone other than me to listen to and enjoy my fantasies. I’d like to know what someone else thinks of them, or what their own twists on my scenarios would be. I also want to learn about what someone else likes, even if I don’t like it as well. I know exactly what I like, but someone else has the potential to reveal something I didn’t even know I wanted, or offer some other new idea or perspective I hadn’t thought of before. Ironically, writing erotic literature for myself has taught me about what an adult “partner” and “intimacy” is really all about. It’s not just someone else who can make you orgasm. It’s the emotional connection of sharing our deepest desires with someone, and them trusting us with theirs. I want that experience of sitting down and talking to someone about our turn-ons as casually as we’d discuss our favorite movies. I want to know that part of someone, and I want them to know that part of me.
Once more, I’m not even looking for a sex partner or girlfriend, at least in the normal sense of the word. The intimacy I’m looking for is actually closer to being fans of the same sports team or TV show rather than sharing the same bed. Heck, I’m completely open to talking about myself to another guy. Literally anyone 18 or over who can say “Yeah, me too.” is fine by me.
Cautious Yet Curious