When I started writing about sex a couple of years ago, it provoked reactions of mostly amusement and shock from people I know. The former from my friends, the latter from my parents. Was I really willing to put my name, publicly, to stories about “private” acts? That was the question. The answer was yes. After the initial amusement and shock, though, what I received was support and encouragement. “If you want to do it, go for it,” they said. Which was great, because I didn't really want to lose the people in my life because of professional choices I was making.
Two things happened, though. One: Googling my name no longer led to just my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles but also to the stories I was writing. Two: the rishtas that my parents would receive for me started drying up. I shrugged them both off. Last year, I got on Tinder. Like every other girl on Tinder, I had a few matches. I had interesting conversations with some of them, and even went on a few dates. Nothing life-changing. The regular routine of match, talk, meet/ not meet, unmatch. And then I met the second kind of Tinder boys. The Googlers. The ones who would Google me while talking to me, see what I write about, and then get excited about it.The ones who send me “Ooh, you're a sex writer, wanna do it?” messages, I unmatch straightaway. I may write about sex publicly, but my own sex life remains a private matter. Neither does it make me more likely than other women to sleep with complete strangers. People who don't get that - I don't want anything to do with them. Then there are the other ones. The ones who stop flirting with me the moment they discover my “area of expertise”, so to speak, and then decide to use me as their very own agony aunt. It took me a while, though, to believe that this was actually happening.
It started with one guy asking me, “So, why do women not like going down on men?” I said that this wasn’t always the case. The conversation continued...moving from my opinion on blow jobs to what (most) women think about blow jobs. From specific to academic, from flirtatious to advisory. And here’s where it ended up at: “When I’m eating out a girl, how can I make her come without using my fingers? My ex used to eventually start laughing at my efforts.” I’d been dispensing sex advice for two hours now, and I was exhausted. But I answered as best as I could. It didn’t look like I was ever going to get into bed with this guy, given the teacher-student role that our Tinder relationship had taken on, but hey, maybe some girl somewhere was going to get eaten out better because of me. More guys did their due diligence and Googled. And I started getting more and more questions like this. “What do girls really think about manscaping?” “Is it true that thicker is better?” “How can I give a girl a nipplegasm? Or is it, like, a myth?” “Can girls really tell the difference between ribbed and dotted?” “What is the difference between a clitoral orgasm and a vaginal one?” I answered for as long as possible. And then I gave up out of sheer exhaustion. So, here’s the conclusion: I’ve stopped using Tinder for the moment. Because… Once upon a time, people used to flirt with me because they found me attractive. Now, people flirt with me so that they can have better sex with other people. FML.