I crawled into his embrace as I tried to think of us as something normal.
But in fact we weren’t even an “us” – a couple, partners or some form of a unit. We only lived in the moment together; casual friends who also happened to move together in similar and different ways through breathing, friction and moans. We didn’t have sex all the time but when we did either one of us would leave afterwards to return home, or depending on how tired we were, we would make room for the other in the bed that we had just fooled around in. On this particular night I felt more and wanted there to be more between us but knew that this fantasy could not be a reality because there was nothing more at hand. I had already been objectified, rejected for someone else by this person, but somehow every 3 months there was a text, an invitation or a social media conversation that had us right back at square one – hanging out again as new friends, getting to know each other and maybe eventually we would find ourselves in a passionate “friends with benefits” kiss.
He had told me “Damn, I have been messing around with white girls for too long; Black girls are the real deal.” I felt flattered by his compliment and it was great to have an attractive brotha-who-should-be-dating-the-sistahs acknowledge that he wasn’t giving us any love, but in the end he was only using me and my body for an exchange – for him to feel pleasure without any real commitment to me or my feelings. I thought that after this comment he would choose me, but his idea of love and relationships was only reserved for someone or something else and I was left in the shadows. After a night of hooking up and me initiating a conversation about relationships and him addressing that he wasn’t ready for one, I laid back in bed thinking that he needed space and that I was being respectful by accepting and acknowledging his needs. However, when I invited him to hang out the next day, he texted back saying the idea of hanging out was tempting but he couldn’t. Tempting? I was confused. We had acknowledged that we were friends last night,friends that may enjoy conversations and hanging out even after having sex…why would it be tempting to hang out? I thought about it with no reason as to why he would use this language except for trying to be playful. I responded, “Tempting?” His response: “I just can’t justify hanging out with other women.” “What?” Was this some riddle I needed to find the answer to? “Explain,” I shot back. To my astonishment he responded that he couldn’t justify hanging out with other women because he was in a relationship with someone else. I was flabbergasted. Had we not just spoken the night before about relationships and had he not stated he wasn’t ready? What had I misread or misheard from the previous night? I was confused, shocked and felt used. How could someone lie blatantly to someone else? We had acknowledged our relationship as friends who sometimes hook up, so why was it hard for him to say there was someone else in the picture, especially if that other person didn’t want him seeing other women. At that moment I was thankful we had always used condoms. I know that even by using condoms during penetrative sex there is still a risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but that was a low risk we were both open to since we had previously talked about our STI testing history and current situation.
I was hurt– no lie- because I felt I had put more energy into our friendly exchanges than he had. I felt stupid and kept thinking that I should have known better, that I could have avoided this. Yes, I could have had more hindsight, but I didn’t. What did I learn? That you can’t control other people’s emotions, nor their actions. That at the end of the day we can’t put ourselves down if someone doesn’t give us the respect that we know we deserve. We can only state what we want and be prepared for the affirmation of yes, or no, and move accordingly. And that begins by not being afraid to ask for what we want.
I am worthy of love, respect and enjoying my sexuality.
How do I get smart b4 I get sexy?
By acknowledging my needs at the moment and asking myself questions to make me more aware of how I will and want to be involved with someone. Am I open to casual sex? Do I want an open relationship? Do I know their relationship or STI status? Do I prefer a committed relationship at the moment? Asking myself some of these questions prepares me before I get sexy, so that I know I am always making the right decision based on my needs and wants.
Send writing submission or call 323.290.5955 to learn more about the Get Smart Get Sexy Writers team within Black Women for Wellness’ Get Smart B4U Get Sexy campaign.
Get Smart B4U Get Sexy is a movement that wants to know how can we support one another in being smart and sexy, and to make sure that we are creating a sexual and reproductive health culture that is safe, consensual, affirming, nonjudgmental, pleasurable and addresses all our diverse needs, as we are the ones in charge of our reproductive, sexual health and well-being.