Modern dating culture is not set up for introverts.
You see, we introverts need more time to establish trust and connection in a relationship. We’re pretty selective about who we let into our inner circle. We’re downright scrupulous about who we let into our heart.
And our bedroom …
We’d like to keep that a VIP sacred space, too. Studies have shown that introverts have fewer sexual partners than extroverts. I suspect that we’d have even fewer horizontal mambo partners if there weren’t so much pressure to have sex early on.
In our society there is this underlying belief that if a date is going well it should inevitably lead to sex. If not on the first date, at least by the third or fourth date.
For introverts, the idea of being sexually intimate with someone we just met can be stressful to say the least.
Of course, there are introverts who have one-night stands. If that floats your boat, all the more power to you. But for many introverts, this is too much, too soon.
Female introverts, in particular, are frustrated by the pressure for early physical intimacy. I want to clarify that I’m not talking about rape, or even verbal pressure to have sex. I’m talking about unspoken assumptions about what is normal and expected.
The norms of dating are pretty backwards. Sexual intimacy often comes before emotional intimacy. Sometimes there is no emotional connection at all. Just sex.
Disney lied to us
As a 30-year old introverted female whose romantic ideals were largely influenced by The Little Mermaid, I find modern day courtship to be lacking.
Upon doing a little romantic audit, I realized that most of my intimate relationships were preceded by friendship, or at least a more drawn-out courtship.
Sure, I’ve had my whirlwind romances that peaked and fizzled within the span of one week. But overall, I prefer the slow bloom approach to romance over the wham-bam-let’s-get-naked-on-the –first-date approach.
What about you? What’s your preference when it comes to dating? Slow bloom or wham bam – or something in between? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
Totally agree. For the longest time, I couldn’t understand how it was so easy for others to jump into the sack so quickly. It didn’t help to stack on the wondering of “why am I so behind?” throughout high school and into early adulthood.
I once almost went to Vegas with a cousin who’s the same age as me, and his recurring sentiment (masked as a joke) was about how we were going to find me some action. I tried to Google / research “how to have fun in a safe way” in case it did happen, even though I never felt congruent with it. I’m really glad I didn’t go on that trip, as I’ve since had *incredibly* meaningful & fulfilling experiences since then.
I’d rather enjoy a single kiss that’s charged with emotion and connection than a one night stand with no foundation. For me, the richness of a meaningful and fulfilling connection is where the expression of physical intimacy comes from. It doesn’t make sense to go without.
I enjoyed this post a lot. I’ve found I can warm to someone pretty quickly in the right mood and situation but, as far as determining who might be a potential partner, I’m more deliberate in deciding that.
I also have a natural sexual curiosity and playfulness that shows in how much I enjoy teasing and flirting. That said, I still haven’t had a sexual partner and don’t seem personally motivated to find one.
I’ve made… awkward attempts at dating while I was worrying about what people thought of me, but my romantic relationships have never lasted more than a year and that doesn’t cause me much distress anymore.
My own audits often turn up nil that indicates I even want a romantic partner. And I’ve learned my lessons from dating just because. I might like a woman and get along with her, and sometimes there may actually be chemistry. However, I seem to be lacking any personal romantic drive or feeling that would lead me into the wonderful world of dating and courtship. I’m just more comfortable having close friends and accept the risk that the friendship might dissolve once they partner off.
I’ve actually had a long and sort of sexually intimate relationship with one friend in particular. in the sense that we enjoy being in the presence of each other’s libidinous energy and teasing one another. It’s woven its way into our dynamic somehow. 😛 However, she knows and I know we’ll probably never consummate that with sex itself.
She dates on her own because she does want a romantic partner, and I have no issue when she finds the right guy and that part of our friendship stops.
Above all of this though: intimacy of any sort isn’t on the table until I get to know someone better and there is a mutual desire for that intimacy. For me, that takes a LOT longer than the average dating phase.
And while emotional and physical intimacy may be there, because of the way I’m wired as a person, there’s really no guarantee of sexual intimacy or that I’ll even have a strong desire to do anything about it even if there is some. 😛
In some ways, I can become frustrating to a woman if they happen to take a romantic interest in me. I’m upfront about how I am so they don’t waste time trying to date me. Haha
My preference, when it comes to dating, is not to date. As an introvert I’ve long believed that I was “defective” in some way. Knowing differently now helps a great deal however today I find myself a 47 year old celibate man whose last relationship was in college – roughly 25 years ago. The idea of dating someone now is not one that I could seriously entertain. I do not believe that dating, relationships and marriage are in the best interest of modern men as the bias against men in the court and legal systems in the US have made relationships with modern women extremely unattractive for them (see: Helen Smith, PhD: Men On Strike). From a strictly introvert point of view it does not make sense to me to sacrifice my solitude and my privacy (both of which make me inordinately happy most of the time) for something that I’m usually quite happy to be without. It is far better for me to experience the longing of desire on rare occasions than to have to experience the longing for my solitude and my privacy on most days. The effort that I would need to invest in such a relationship is, simply stated, better invested elsewhere.
Well said. I feel the same way. I actually kept a log of the percentage of time I felt a strong longing to be with a romantic partner, and it was a very small percentage. Why mess up 97% of your life in order to accommodate a 3% desire? Better to spend your time, money and attention on your own interests, and with friends and family.
I can totally relate to this article and the other commenters. I was a 29 year old virgin before my first time. I ended up marrying that woman and we had 25 (mostly) wonderful years together. That relationship ended recently and now I am alone.
I’ve been trying to figure out whether or not to pursue another romantic relationship for the past several months. I’ve tried to just make “friends” with women, being upfront about my intentions. But they all want more. Those didn’t seem to last long. And I thought they would appreciate having a male friend who actually wasn’t after sex. I now realize that no matter what she says, most women want more than they say they want.
I’ve also tried using Match.com. I don’t write anyone asking for a date. I just use it to learn more about what women really want by reading and studying profiles.
All of this is really just me trying to learn more about myself. What am I looking for? What do I want?
The more time I spend doing this, the more I am reaching the conclusion that I am happiest by myself. My stress level is at its lowest in years. I am a more pleasant person to be around because I am now getting my needed alone time. My doctor has told me that my vitals are the best they have been in years.
So, in conclusion, this particular introvert has concluded that he doesn’t want any more intimate relationships. I’m happiest when alone. I don’t really miss having a woman in my life. I don’t need sex. Sex was one of the biggest sources of stress for me. Now I don’t have that. It just isn’t worth it.
Yes…. I have only had sex with just that one woman in my entire life. So I am a testament to the information included in this article.
As a single introverted female, I agree with you. I hear stories from friends who’ve done all sorts of things in high school and still do and it just completely mind boggles me. Not much in our society today is set up to work for introverts but I think that’s why we make much more meaningful friendships and connections more often than our extroverted counterparts.
Its important that introvert men contribute to this article if only to demonstrate that not all men use women for sex! Since thats what we appear to get accused of especially on dating sites. I am indeed the same as the previous comments suggest, I’d run a mile or 20 if I knew it was expected of me without a lot of ”preparation” first.
Thank God! I thought it was just me who thought like this ?
Blind dates don’t work for me, nor getting intimate too soon. Sadly though, modern day dating doesn’t always allow for that. Wonderful poast though, and thank you for posting it ☺
Even without the introvert factor the idea that you have to have sex with someone within a set period of time (and a short peroid of time at that) is in itself outrageously offensive. It implies entitlement (not just from men but from a culture that thinks this is not only ok but that there is something wrong with you if you won’t subvert every part of yourself that is telling you this is toxic and go along with it), it suggests your body is not your own, your boundaries are for others to define and it looks a lot like a kind of social extortion, an “if you don’t sleep with me” threat.
Someone using the “three date rule” should be a giant red flag for anyone who is looking for a serious relationship, I’ve seen men half heartedly small talk their way through “dates” (which could be anything from coffee to texting, which is now apparently considered a “date”, only to become livid when women don’t jump at the chance to sleep with him after having only met him a week ago). “Dating” has become a coy term for casual sex.
Mostly it’s aimed at women but I’ve seen this turned on its head, men do not like being put on the spot either, a lot of men are looking for a serious relationship and want to get to know someone at a comfortable pace without the pressure of deadlines, men have hearts and want meaningful relationships too, they don’t like being used and discarded either.
Many singles are divorced and are rebuilding their social circle, it’s common sense they are going to vet newcomers, predators know they are vulnerable socially and often target people with weak social support systems. Many are also parents who do not want to risk getting involved with someone who could pose a threat to their children so of course they are going to screen people carefully, sex is not going to be the first thing on the priority list when dating and anyone who is busy and whose life is already complicated would appreciate people who are only looking for casual sex to be clear about their intent and ask for it like a grown up instead of trying to manipulate people, waste their time, throw tantrums and attack them personally when they don’t get their way. That those people can’t be sincere just tells me they have nothing to offer, if they did they wouldn’t have anything to hide, would be able to see the other persons perspective and what they need to be getting out of it and would know how to communicate what they want (or more importantly what they have to offer as men who manipulate it’s all one sided).
Women do want casual sex but when it comes in a manipulative, entitled, disrespectful package we’d rather just skip it, women want lovers who adore women not creeps who hate them. You need to be a considerate lover to get honest casual sex, these “three date rule” guys are just cheap hustlers with nothing to offer and they know it, that’s why they have to hide behind the “dating” facade.
Dating has never been much of a thing in my country, going on dates here is something you do when you’ve been aquanited with someone for a while and you only go out with people you have an interest in, dating multiple people would get you a reputation. We have a singles scene where people “date” American style but it’s seen as a joke, as something desperates with no social skills do, and it’s also seen as a public nuisance, entertainment venues have cancelled certain types of entertainment because when the singles scene crowd show up there are fights, the staff are harassed and abused, there is a steep rise in breakages and the neighbours complain about the noise as people spill out into the streets drunk and screaming at each other. The singles scene is a cespit and you won’t find a gem digging your way through a cespit.
Couldn’t have said this better….
Everybody here nails it perfectly…
I’m a slow bloomer. I’ve broken some hearts because of that, I’m sure they felt rejected because I wanted to wait or because they had this idea that the way to my heart was through sex, that all men love sex and a man will commit if we have sex. sheesh, are they wrong on that.
Men will only commit if they feel emotionally safe with a woman, yes that includes even men that are emotionally available, they won’t commit wholeheartedly, unless they feel safe and even then it’s on principle, if at any time they feel emotionally threatened by a woman, they will disconnect and start planning their exit. Many a woman has made the mistake of thinking that if they give a man what they think he wants he’ll stay forever and this isn’t true as you’ve found out. For the men to know that a woman usually won’t get physically intimate unless she feels physically safe with a man, and often times after being burned in a relationship even she too will seek out emotional safety too before committing or getting physical with a man.
A lot of guys have messed this up for the guys that actually love women and respect them and we’re left with the arduous task of rebuilding trust that was broken by other men. People wonder why I’m so honest woth women and the simple answer is that I don’t want to be that guy, the one that lies upfront or through my actions, I want consistent words and behavior to come from me so she doesn’t have to wonder, however sometimes there is still some unknowns about me such as my MIA behavior, it’s usually because I’m actually problem solving and it’s not to be taken as a negative. It’s just me solving things that I may have seen as a problem, there is a benefit to the relationship. I may have asked to have it resolved earlier by the woman but if she’s unwilling or doesn’t know how to solve our issues together, I’ll set out to find how to do that and discuss it with her. However many a relationship had been sabotaged by this behavior of mine, so I tend to now make it clear I do that and don’t take it as a break up or being ghosted, I’m still there just putting a lot of behind the scenes effort into our relationship, trust me you’ll notice, either I’ll change or I’ll find an amicable solution to the problem, and we’ll both be happier as a result.
Great article, thank you.
I find it frustrating trying to take things slowly so that I have time to process things, and feel safe. If I don’t feel safe, then I can’t feel much pleasure, and so there is absolutely zero incentive for me to engage in anything cheap and meaningless.
The last sexy extrovert that planned a date with me ended up disappearing. Obviously found an easier option. The one before him was a narcissist, and everytime we were together I seemed to say in conversation “we’re getting to know each other, we’re building trust, and that’s a good thing”. His utter disrespect of me was made so clear, when at his house he was trying to get into my pants for the umpteenth time (only the fourth time I’d seen him, so that was perhaps six hours together in total — not even a whole day at a new job) I said “I’m not here for this”, and he held me down and raped me.
I’m in process of counselling and rebuilding my emotions which were trampled roadkill after that experience. When I went to make a statement, the police asked me what he and I had done together prior to that, and I told them “nothing, I wanted a relationship. I told him we were building trust, and getting to know each other”. I told them I was waiting for him to move the relationship forward, and had made it clear that I only have sex when I have an official relationship, a commitment. I needed to know I was loved by him first. I don’t think this should be rare or weird. I have self-esteem, and I’m wayyyy to sensitive for some guy I hardly know to use me and treat me like trash, and trash my self-esteem in the process. How long does that recovery process take? It wastes my precious resources and energy.
We have to protect our hearts and minds. Anyway, we want to be loved, and treated with respect, and quality always wins out over quantity to an INFJ, doesn’t it?
I told the ex-narcissist (who is a sales manager) that “I take time to decide after considering all of the facts, and I don’t impulse buy”. I also rarely have buyer’s remorse either.
I wish everyone success in their quest for love and happiness.
INFJ HSP introverted male here, I really struggled with the throw away dating culture during my 20s. Women couldn’t seem to understand that I didn’t want to jump straight into bed with them. This sadly resulted in me either walking away, being “friendzoned”, ghosted or verbally abused, some even calling me gay…despite explaining I needed to establish a connection before moving forward. Maybe I just had bad luck with people, but its really hard to meet non-superficial folk with emotional intelligence. I hope one day I can connect with someone that doesn’t follow all these set dating criteria and deadlines. I will also continue to examine my own flaws, i.e. confidence, awareness and compassion towards others; maybe this will work in attracting the right person into my life. Heart goes out to anyone struggling too.