Whenever I'm talking to single women and the topic of sex comes up, if there's a common question that I get, pretty often, it's "How do I know that it isn't just sex when it comes to him?" Listen, not to sound like y'all's grandma or anything yet I certainly get why a lot of the elders are like, "That's why you might wanna wait until there's a solid commitment in place."
Because, although I'm going to touch on a few points that can definitely give you more peace of mind, there is something to be said for waiting for a long-term commitment or—gasp—even marriage because those kinds of relationships tend to come with intentional promises and/or vows. Y'all, some things may seem traditional or antiquated. Still, that doesn't mean they're all bad. Real talk.
Now that I've made grandmas, aunties and church mothers proud with that lil' PSA, let's get into how you can avoid being able to relate to articles on this site like, "Don't Mistake A Great Sex Partner For A Great Life Partner". If you're seeing a guy and either you're already having sex or you're considering doing so, here are six ways to know if there's more there than just the physical.
1. There’s a Solid Connection Outside of the Bedroom
There are people who've gotten together off of a one-night stand. There are people who've divorced, even though they were virgins on their wedding night. So, I'm not gonna sit here and say that everyone who has sex quickly is headed for disaster and everyone who waits will experience marital bliss for the rest of their lives. What I will say is the more open you are to taking your time, the more you can establish a real connection with another individual.
And just what does a true connection look like? You've had some serious conversations. A level of mutual trust has been established. You care about each other on a mental and emotional level. You've had a few disagreements or areas of conflict and have been able to resolve them. You make time for one another besides just when you want to have sex.
I'll be the first one to admit that lust can be one hell of a drug. It can cause you to become a little delusional, if you let it, because when you're really into someone physically and/or the sex is off the charts, it can cause you to think that something more is there when that actually might not be the case. Making the time to establish a connection that has nothing to do with copulation can help you to feel like "he" is spending time with you, not just because he wants to get the goods. Time can make you feel more confident that he actually values you and enjoys you as a human being. That you're not just some glorified sex doll.
2. It’s Not the Only Thing the Two of You Have in Common
Something that I find really sexy in a man is wit. To me, it's the perfect blend of intellect, humor and great timing. So, if you're already attractive in my eyes and you're witty, I'm already super intrigued. Anyway, when I think back on all of my sex partners (check out "14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners"), something that most of them had in common is they were super witty. They found me to be that way too, so the back-and-forth light sparring was basically a form of verbal foreplay. Oh, but when you peeled that back and took the sex away, when it comes to a handful of those men, we really didn't have that much in common. Matter of fact, when it came to a couple of guys, we actually got on each other's nerves.
Wanna know why some people get married and then basically end up hating each other's guts? A part of the reason is because, while there may have been really strong sexual chemistry—so strong that they thought there was more to their relationship than there actually was—they didn't have much in common past that. Ask any married person and they will probably tell you that great sex with your partner is amazingly indescribable; still, if you don't have some other things that you both enjoy, that you both are interested in, that you both value, you still could be headed for relational disaster. So, what things do you and he share a common ground on? The answer to that question can reveal…A LOT.
3. Sex Is the “Icing”. Not the “Cake”.
I know some dating couples who, whenever they have a disagreement, they "fix things" by having sex. Although I get it—and back in the day, oftentimes even did it—that isn't a smart move. For one thing, running to sex all of the time is usually a sign of fear. You don't really know how to effectively communicate or connect any other way, so that becomes your go-to. Because that is the case, sex is no longer simply a pleasurable act; it's a crutch. Another challenge that comes from taking this approach is it can have you out here thinking that you're in something healthy and beneficial when all you're really doing is having great sex with someone. And real talk, y'all—you can do that with hundreds, if not thousands of people on this planet. Yeah, never EVER assume that mind-blowing sex means you're in a great relationship. Some folks can experience passion with someone they don't even like or respect very much. I can speak from personal experience on this.
That's why it's so important to look at sex as the icing in a relationship, not the cake. Icing makes cake sweeter. Icing makes cake more fun. Icing can be an unexpected surprise or welcome addition. At the same time, if there was no icing, the cake should still be bomb. When it comes to your relationship, can you honestly say all of this about the current state of your dynamic?
4. You’re Both Careful with Each Other’s Feelings
Something that I like about the R&B artist Joe is he writes songs in such a way that certain lyrics can really hit home. Take his throwback jam "If I Was Your Man", for example. One of my favorite lines in it is when he sang, "Got rid of everything that I knew was hurting you". Come on, Joe. Preach it. When two people are in something that is merely sexual, they don't really care all that much about anything other than what happens in between the foreplay and the climax. However, when two individuals are engaged in something that is more than just sex, they definitely care about not hurting each other's feelings and doing what they can to make the relationship better.
That said, I'm not saying that if a man cares then he will comply with all of your expectations or that he will want the same kind of relationship that you do (one day, we'll have to talk about the problem with sexual manipulation; even if it's self-sexual manipulation). What I am saying is your feelings, your concerns and even your needs will not be something that he shies away from. He will see value in you beyond sex. His words and actions will prove it.
5. You Feel Like Your Partner Is Having Sex WITH Rather than AT You
It was close to this time last year when I wrote the article, "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?". The gist of it is when someone is good for you, they are going to benefit you in a holistic way. Well, along these same lines, when a man is having sex with you, by the definition of the word "with", he is not only interacting; he is making a true connection. On the other hand, when a guy is having sex at you? Hmm. I think I've shared before that there's one past sex partner I had who liked to have sex in front of mirrors. Mind you, it wasn't so that he could watch both of us in the act, he liked to look at himself. Like sometimes I would catch him posing. WTF and LOL all at the same time. What he taught me was that some people can be good in bed and it still has absolutely nothing to do with their partner. Their performance is an ego boost for them, more than anything else.
So yeah, another way to know if sex is more than just sex is if your partner is fully present with you. You don't feel like it's "performance sex". Instead, it feels like he relishes being in your presence and sex is just a part of the reason why. Between the two of you, there's intimacy. You feel comfortable. You feel seen. You feel safe.
6. Things Can End Well
You know what they say—all good things must come to an end. And while this isn't automatically or necessarily a guarantee when it comes to you and your current sex partner, what I will say is that if there's a mutual respect for one another, should you both decide that it's time to transition out, hopefully neither of you will feel used, slighted, embarrassed, neglected or even hurt. You might miss each other (or the sex); still, there won't be battle wounds from the situation because even though sex was a big part of the dynamic, it was never just about that. Shoot, you might even be able to remain friends—or at least cool—after it's all said and done.
And even, for whatever the reason, that ends up not being the case, at least you won't have to look back and feel totally mortified because you shared something so private, so real, so special with a person who didn't embrace the experience with the dignity that you deserved. You can see things for what they were—a season of sex that, on some level you enjoyed and quite possibly learned and grew from. No regrets. Because the sex…wasn't just…sex.
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