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How To Stop Creepy Dating App Sex Talk

Maureen asks:

I'm beginning to look at dating five years ago as "the heyday of on online dating". Back then, people were mostly actually engaging in polite get-to-know-you messages. How has it become NORMAL to ask a woman her willingness in certain sexual acts in the first few minutes of messaging? Are men watching SO much porn now that they've become desensitized as to how to properly chat up a potential date? Are so few men actually interacting with live male-female IN-person interactions, that they cannot tell the diff?? Or, AND, are men using/seeking satisfaction from dating apps as SUBSTITUTION for dating a living breathing woman in person?? How can we as daters stop this prevalent trend? Has virtual sex replaced dating to have actual relationships now??

How can a gal deflect the online premature sex talk from men, without being accused of being a prude?? Once he steers the convo there, it is VERY hard to reel it back in! Give us some practical implementable suggestions.

I believe that both men and women are using dating apps as a substitution for real-life dating. By putting up a profile and exchanging messages, users feel like they're making an effort. That way they can tell themselves that they're trying to meet people. Except they're not. For one reason or another, they are ambivalent about dating. Online dating and dating apps provide the illusion of making an effort and offer those people a safe form of attention. That's all they're looking for, they just haven't admitted it to themselves yet.

I also believe that - YES - some people use dating apps to fond people to exchange naked pictures and sexual conversation. It's a kink, and as long as both people are consenting adults, there's no shame in it. That is, as long as all involved are on the same page.

As for your specific question, I have a general rule of thumb that I follow when a man starts taking the conversation in a sexual direction.

I disengage. Mentally, they are now relegated to the toss bin in my brain. These are not people looking for a substantive connection. They're either a) looking for something casual and using the sex talk as a litmus test OR they're trying to elicit a reaction.

The people in the former category aren't necessarily doing anything wrong. They're seeking casual sex, or at least sex without commitment. And that's okay! There's no law that says anyone who creates a dating profile must only be looking for a long-term relationship. The word "dating" covers a lot of ground these days. Dating no longer means to go on traditional dates. Dating encompasses a lot of the gray-area are we/aren't we stuff, too. If someone starts making sexual references or uses sex-laced innuendo, they're testing the waters. They're trying to see if you're game for whatever it is they're seeing on the app. If you're looking for sex, or something casual, then proceed with the conversation.

But if you're not, disengage. That means stop all conversation. There's no point in illuminating them on the impropriety of their comments. They don't care. They will interpret anything you say - even if it's to tell them off - as you taking their bait. From there, they will say whatever they think they need to say to reel you in. Don';t fool yourself into believing that, if you put your foot down, they'll act different. Wrong. They will pretend to act differently until they feel they have you hooked, then they'll start it all over again. Don't wait it out. Don't test them. Don't continue talking with them as some kind of useless experiment. You will not change them.

The only way to win at this game is not to play. Remember that. Nothing you say and no matter how offended you seem will change their mind. They are adult men. They are damn well aware that sexual comments are inappropriate. Nothing you say to them will make them alter their behavior. I can not stress enough how pointless it is to even respond to people who make unsolicited sexual comments. It's a drain on your energy and will ultimately confuse you and affect your self-esteem. Why? Because you'll start to wonder what it is about you that makes these people it's acceptable to speak to you with such disrespect.

It's not you. Repeat after me: IT'S NOT YOU. These men will make these comments to every woman they meet. Either they're trolls looking to make a woman uncomfortable or make her feel self conscious or they're unapologetically looking for sex. There's no way to prevent these types of conversations because, like I said, these men don't care. If they are so socially inept that they don't know what they're saying is rude, then take that as a blessing in disguise. They've shown themselves before you've invested any time or emotion on them.

I'm not sure we can stop this from happening. It's been going on for years and it's only getting worse. All we can do is refuse to interact with these people, block them and report them. We can't control what other people do, only how we respond to it.

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