by Myisha Battle, World Association of Sex Coaches Certified Sex Coach
There is a plethora of online dating sites and apps available, many of which are free or very low-cost, making access for most of us easily attainable. Most of you can name a few dating sites are used primarily for “hook-ups” and know which ones are geared towards long-term partnerships. Some of you may even know where to look if your sexual taste is kinky or fetish driven. If you are in a relationship and want to explore polyamory or bring in a third, there are online dating sites for that as well. There really is something for everyone. We live in a time when our ability to connect with like-minded sexual partners is in our hands every day. So why do so many people struggle to obtain the kind of romantic and sexual connection they really want?
You may know where to look, but what I find as a sex coach is that most people need some help developing a strategy to attract the kind of partner (or partners) they really want. Developing a strategy isn’t about misrepresentation or luring as many people in as possible so that you can pick from the herd. It is about approaching online dating mindfully, evaluating what you want from the experience of online dating and blasting that very clearly through the language and images you use in your profile. Below are some ways to do just that.
This is perhaps the biggest area of concern for online daters. Creating an online dating profile is now as easy as going to a site of your choice and signing up using your Facebook login information. While that means that there are virtually no barriers to joining a site, it allows for people who are unsure about what they are looking for to enter into a space where they could end up on dates! There are so many choices that you can easily go down the rabbit-hole of thinking “I don’t typically… but it would be nice if…”. My biggest piece of advice is to know what it is you are looking for based on serious consideration about what has worked for you in the past and what you wish to avoid.
Being honest in your online dating profile can mean a lot of different things. First, and most obvious is to be honest in how you represent yourself. No one wants to show up to a date and realize that what they read or saw online was not a true representation of the person sitting across from them. While this happens all the time, I think it is a failing of our culture and the unreasonable expectations it puts on all of us to be something that we are not. A good way to avoid this trap is to ask a friend to read over your profile and tell you if they feel it represents who you really are. Be open to their feedback. You could offer them a trade if they are currently online dating as well.
Second, be honest about your intentions. If you have already done the work of knowing yourself then this should be easy. For example, if you are not ready for a relationship or to go on dates but want to have an active profile as a way for you to explore the online dating landscape and occasionally communicate with other people, then just say so. Some suggested language would be: “I’m here to browse while I figure out what I’m really looking for”. People may be confused and taken aback, but will appreciate that you had the nerve to state your true intentions. When you are ready to meet people in real life, you can take this language out.
Participate in Your Own Way
To some extent dating is a numbers game. For instance, for someone who has never gone on a date, one date is better than none in terms of increasing their odds of obtaining sexual fulfillment. In the online dating world though, quality is often underestimated in the face of seemingly limitless quantity. Going on date after date where there is no spark or worse, thinking there’s a spark and the other person doesn’t, can be devastating. Unfortunately that is part of the process and why I advocate for people to online date for periods of time that work for them. It is natural to get burnt out from online dating no matter how many people you end up meeting in real life. This is the time to shut down your account and be still for a moment. When you are ready to try again, you will be refreshed and approach the experience from a different perspective.
Keep in mind that you are not everyone’s favorite flavor, but you are some people’s favorite flavor. It is hard to remain confident within the online dating world, especially if you are dating for the first time or you have specific sexual needs that have been difficult to discuss with potential partners. The good thing is that as folks with different tastes start up dating sites, there is more safe space for everyone to be open and honest about what they really want. If someone shoots you down, know that it’s because they were not a good fit for you. Hold out for what you know is best for you.
Hire a coach
If all of this is overwhelming and you just don’t know where to begin, you can seek out help from a certified sex coach like myself who can help you clarify what your goals are for sexual fulfillment and set objectives for obtaining those goals. We can also provide a safe space for you to express the sexual desires you have that may have been stigmatized by others in the past. Together we can build a plan to get you more involved in online dating in a way that reflects your unique wants and needs.