At the end of each year, I like to engage in the most masochistic behavior anyone can ever undertake: trying to see if I can remember the entire roster of my sexual who’s who from memory. Both a test of age and indexing capabilities, I often end up losing track. But it’s not just because I’m a little trampy when I drink tequila – I get sidetracked recounting the best of the worst, trying to figure out just where hookups in my past went wrong, just before they turned into a dumpster fire.
Usually this stock taking leads me to resolving to avoid very specific behaviors – no more affairs with the boss’ best friend, no more allowing my orgasms to go unfulfilled, significantly clearer establishment of the reasons we don’t do butt stuff, and the like. The same goes for my friends, whose own experiences added to the roster always made for a nice time capsule of sexual trends of the year (did you know 2008 was a very popular year for casual sex tapes and BJs in sexy librarian glasses?). But in asking around this year, I noticed a different trend. Our sexual resolutions – the sex and dating moves my friends and I vowed to abolish from our dating repertoires – had taken a turn for the slightly more serious.
Sexy stuff came up to be sure, but so did a lot more commentary on behavior; namely, respect. And more surprisingly – that sentiment was echoed by all genders. If 2008 was the year of the civilian sex tape, 2015 is the year of civility being as important as sex. In that spirit, I took to the streets of my friends’ sex lives, as well as my own, to compile the 2015 list of bad sex behavior that we’d all like to see disappear by 2016.
1. Netflix and Chill
More than any other response, people vehemently raged against the idea of “Netflix and chill” (we already covered the fact that it’s a terrible date). The reasons were varied as expected; most old grumpuses echoed that “Netflix and chill” is nothing different from “Do you want to come over and watch a movie?” though a few brave men copped to the fact that the more ubiquitous Netflix and chill became, the more they had to try new moves to get women to smash (apparently just asking has become too difficult).
My friend Freda sums it up best. “Netflix and chill [needs to stop] being a ‘cool new sex thing,’” she rants. “The theme of my relationship has been Netflix, chill, and six months of leg hair growth for four years. This isn't new!”
2. Internet Date Shaming
It’s 2015. Everyone is on Tinder. Or Hinge. Or Bumble. Or OKCupid. In the next five years, previously unseen thumb tendonitis will become the new “Did you know your cell phone is bad for your spine?” insofar as technology breaking our bodies down just as Darwin predicted. Yet for some reason, online dating hasn’t completely shaken off its archaic stigmas.
“You’d think the negative reaction towards others hearing that people met online through an app thing should have died off in 2015,” laments my friend Nate, who has met previous girlfriends both in-person and through OKCupid. “I am hopeful the stigma really goes away in 2016.” Another friend, John, a stock broker with no free time, mentioned that while he has no problem copping to meeting dates through apps, he does often “bump up” which apps he used when talking to friends. “We’re in our 30s; I can’t tell my friends I met a woman on Tinder, even if she’s fantastic – I lie and say Hinge nine times out of 10.”
Stigma isn’t the only problem online dating should long since have outgrown: social shaming is an even bigger one.
As my friend Gabriella points out, rarely a week passes without a new listicle categorizing Tinder fails, or a tweet or screenshot popping up on Instagram loudly calling out daters – often male – for bad behavior. While explicitly abhorrent texts and unsolicited nude pics often deserve a good tongue lashing, lately it feels like a lot of these call outs are often a cruel response to people doing the best they can to play through life’s most awkward ball game: dating. The only thing more ubiquitous than people using dating apps in 2015 was people chronicling dating app bad behavior; at this point, we get it, we’ve seen it all, we don’t need to see anymore. This is what group text is for.
3. Benefits without Friends
While having brunch with a friend in an open marriage, I couldn’t stop quizzing her on the logistics of having a sexy new boyfriend, while still being madly in love with her equally sexy husband. “Well, my boyfriend always calls and shows up when he says he will; I’m never in the dark, so I’m never jealous or curious, which is when the fantasy and obsession would usually kick in for me,” Jeanne explained. “We just respect the shit out of each other, so there’s no guessing game. It’s just like any other casual hookup, isn’t it?”
Jeanne, who’d been out of the dating game for a long time, was shocked to hear that most friends with benefits trafficked in far less humanity; in fact, every one of the eighteen people I spoke to who had a FWB relationship this year admitted to it ending badly, or at least annoyingly. And every single time, whether it was one side catching feelings, or one party being annoyed that the other only called late night and on their own schedule, the same issue kept cropping up: the “friends” part of “friends with benefits” had all but gone by the wayside.
“I’ve been hooking up with my best friend – BIG MISTAKE – and now he’s aloof in the way guys get when they don’t want you to crush on them,” complained my friend Marie. “Which would be fine if he was a normal dude, but he’s my best friend, so this only ends badly when I lose a hookup and my friend.”
Having been rendered mute in many a casual relationship of my own, I’m all for the emphasis on respect. Sometimes you just want to get brunch with a person who hung out inside of you for a minute without him assuming you also want to make it Facebook official, you know?
4. Bad One-Night Stands
“I would like to see the classic one-night stand go the way of the dodo. As in: You meet somebody, you fuck, you never hear or talk to them again. It's not that I'm against casual sex - by all means, keep it loose! Fuck lots of people! Eschew romantics for fuck buddies! But lately I've been trying to avoid the one-time bang for this simple reason: If it's good, I'm gonna want to do it again.
And there are ways to make sure whether it'll be good before you commit to bringing someone home. Have a heavy make out, cop a feel, text your fantasies beforehand — anything to better gauge whether this person will fuck you well. And if it still goes bad, better to have a half-night stand than grin and bear it.
I realize that occasionally even the hottest foreplay can lead to shitty sex. And I fully endorse a tryst on a work trip or vacation. But even then, the single-serving boyfriend is more satisfying than one drunken bang.”
-- Tami, 30
5. Ass Eating
I will never stop singing “But he gotta eat the booty like groceries,” after hearing Jhene Aiko croon it this year, but I can assure you no one is getting near my truffle butter in this lifetime. Between Allison Williams getting her ass motorboated on “Girls,” and Nicki Minaj continuing her ass-centric dominance over the music charts, 2015 has been the year of butt stuff. But my god, at what cost? I don’t even want someone to kiss me after they’ve gone down on me even though I know that’s a terrible thing to say as both a woman and a feminist and if a man said that to me after I gave him head I’d fuck him up, yet I’m now expected to be sexually attracted to someone whose tongue was all up in where I shit on a near-consistent basis?
I get that ass eating is fantastic, and I would love to possess the lack of inhibitions necessary to be an ass eating aficionado, especially because who doesn’t love the feeling of being motorboated, am I right? But I like ass eating to be a personal choice, not a cultural necessity, and I fear if I don’t get on the train now, I’ll never be able to keep up with future stakes being raised. I’m willing to come around on a well timed finger, but near-perpetual ass-eating?
Let’s leave that on HBO.