Sex & Relationships

Sex With Emily

In the first edition of a new AlterNet feature, self-made sexpert Emily Morse explains everything you ever wanted to know about Craigslist dating, no-strings sex and the 'oxytocin excuse.'
I'm the host of "Sex With Emily," a podcast and radio show about sex, love, relationships and everything in between. Each episode of the show features an interview with a guest willing to share the real, intimate details of his/her sex life and relationship.

I try my best to ask those questions we were all really about to ask before the phone rang, the food arrived or we realized it just wasn't appropriate at the office Christmas party.

Questions like, how are you still having (good) sex after 15 years together? Do you really get turned on when your wife ties you to the bed … and leaves you there for hours? How do you make open relationships work? Why am I not having a successful dating life? So, you're cool with your boyfriend wearing your underwear to work?

In this column, I'll provide some nuggets from one of my favorite interviews, debunk a dating myth or two, and reveal one woman's more memorable online sex and dating adventures.

If you like what you read, you can hear all these details -- and more -- on the free accompanying podcast interview -- just click on the "listen now" button next to this column. And visit to listen to all of our shows.

Can women have emotionally detached sex?

Of course -- but try as we might, it's still more difficult for some women to have sex without getting attached. Sure, we've smashed some great glass ceilings, but certain personal battles remain challenging.

The pragmatist in you might prefer the "oxytocin" excuse: that elusive "cuddle" hormone that makes you really, really want to see the guy you just had mediocre sex with (you know, the one who experienced "technical" difficulties). Yep, it's frustrating, because you're not that into him either -- but you still catch yourself wondering if he'd like a June wedding … in Mexico.

On "Sex With Emily" episode 11, I talk to Andie, a smart, sexy 32-year-old painter who used to fall in love with every man she slept with.

But like an Olympic athlete training for gold, she decided to push her personal limits: Andie slept with as many men as possible to get over that "love" thing.

Through sharing her internet dating stories, we hear how she was finally able to have sex for sex's sake. "It takes practice," she admits, "but you can do it!"

I asked Andie to share her experience so that other women (and men!) could learn from her experiment. She said: "The reason I decided that I needed to get over falling in love with every guy I slept with was that the seventh guy I slept with was a total jerk. We had great sexual chemistry, but in my weirdly romantic mind, I thought, 'This must mean something that we have great sexual chemistry' -- never mind that we didn't get along as human beings."

"So I thought to myself, "I've got to get over this very girly, unrealistic notion that every person that I want to sleep with is someone that should be my boyfriend. So then, yes, I became kind of slutty."

How was Andie's dating experiment planned, and how did it pan out?

Andie is a smart woman, so I knew she'd probably have a master plan. I wanted to know how she executed it, and she graciously informed me:

Andie: After I had the realization that "this is really stupid, to fall in love with every person that you sleep with," and after a couple months of soul-searching, I met someone on Craigslist.

Emily: And what happened?

Andie: I approached it in a very businesslike way of thinking: "What's my plan, and what am I going to do about it?"

Emily: That's very efficient, and [masculine] in a way. You know what you want.

Andie: The Craigslist ad said something like, "I'm really bossy in my everyday life, but I'm looking for a guy who likes to be bossy in the bedroom."

Emily: We're all nodding (in the audience here). I think a lot of women actually want this

Andie: It was the regular dating section (on Craigslist), and I met these people with every intention of meeting someone great and actually having a good relationship.

I met them and thought this probably won't work out for a long-term relationship, but you're fun and interesting and sexy and let's … have sex.

What did Andie learn from online dating?

Next I asked Andie what she learned, and who she's looking for now.

Andie: When you first meet someone, and you feel like, 'Wow, we really have a connection' -- no no, what you really have is a projection.

In the first couple of dates, you don't really know that person, since [he's] still a blank slate for you.

You're able to fill in all the gaps with whatever it is that you're hoping to find in someone. So that's why you go on a few dates with someone, you have chemistry, you have fun, and then by the fifth date you're not even returning his phone calls. You may think 'Whatever we had was all in my mind. 'Once you really get to know someone, then the reality sets in and the whole fantasy that you're projecting onto someone gets blown to bits.

Once I realize I don't have an intellectual connection with someone, I have no desire to have sex with them anymore, and I move on.

Truth be told, I am totally cured of my desire to fall in love with every guy I sleep with. In fact, 40 percent of the guys I sleep with I don't even really like! I can see someone and think, 'We have fun physical chemistry, but this is not going anywhere emotionally.'

What's she looking for in a partner?

Andie: My ad now says, "Kinky pseudo-intellectual seeks same … Type A personalities please apply, also high achievers who are tightly wound. But I'm not a gold digger."

On the contrary, I mean, look at the guys I've dated They're on food stamps, or just insane. I just want someone motivated. I don't want to have to pay for my own burrito.

Fantasy or Nightmare?

Andie: [One man I dated] was all about telling me what kind of fantasies he was into -- talking about how he wanted to handcuff me to the sink and leave me there …

Emily: Just on the second date?

Andie: Yeah, on our second real date … and I was like, 'Wow, thanks for being honest,' but I'm thinking to myself, 'I don't know if this is going to work out,' because none of these things really appeal to me. I think they're funny and interesting and there's a lot of things that I would do just to be like, 'Sure -- what the hell,' but it's not fulfilling in some deep-seated inner …

Emily: Do you know what that is, though? Do you know what a man has to say that would be so fulfilling to you?

Andie: Oh, I'm pretty regular, you know.

Emily: What's 'regular?'

Andie: I think 'you're really great' would be the culmination of all my fantasies. I don't need some guy to go into some weird dark inner place, sexually.

Emily: How interesting that he was an investment banker …

Andie: It was funny from an exploratory point of view. I didn't find him in any way threatening … like I didn't think he was going to go into his closet and come out with a chainsaw or anything. I found it fascinating, and I was interested in exploring it, but I also felt like, you know, weird, deep-seated psychological issues that he was working out through his sex life.

Emily: So what are you working on in your sex life (now)?

Andie: Boredom. I'm just bored and looking for entertainment.

To hear more of Andie's adventures, you can download our podcast by clicking on the "Listen" button next to this column.
Emily Morse is the host of the podcast and radio show "Sex With Emily" in San Francisco.