Mailbag: I Don’t Want To Have Sex With My Formal Date

Mailbag: I Don't Want To Have Sex With My Formal Date

Hi there!

I’m going to make this quick. I was recently invited to a fraternity formal and I’m really excited to go on it, except that I don’t want to sleep with my date. It’s an away event, and we’ll be sharing a hotel, and likely a bed, and equally likely tons of alcohol, so it complicates things. I’ve made out with him before, but I’m really not interested in sex with him. All I’ve got in my arsenal is potentially getting him so drunk that he falls asleep before he can try anything. Would love some womanly advice.

PS: pretty sure he’s gay, but doesn’t know it yet.

This, my dear, is a weird phenomenon — the feeling of obligation to sleep with somebody, because you’re there in the place where people sleep together, and you don’t feel like you have a good reason to say no. I’m not trying to get all preachy and emotional, or explain to you from my soapbox about my societal commentary on this subject, but if you’d like to read the emotional version, click here.

Simply put, though, it’s easier not to sleep with somebody than you think. You don’t need some elaborate escape plan. You don’t need to drug your date or get him so drunk that his penis doesn’t work (though, that would work), all you have to do is not sleep with him. It’s like a riddle — in order to not fuck someone, all you have to do is not fuck him. I know in the moment it seems more complicated than that, but really it isn’t. If you don’t want to do it, then don’t. Close the lights, close your eyes, and close your legs.

You know how to show you’re not interested in a guy. From the beginning of the night, make it clear that there is a goalie in place, and it’s all systems “No.” Don’t touch him too much, and if you do, not on his thigh, because a penis is basically a third thigh, and he will think you just got them confused. Don’t spend too much alone time with him throughout the night. Channel the high school dance when you just went as a big group of friends. Treat it as not so much a date event as it is a bunch of crazy kids getting drunk in formalwear.

When you get home, take your makeup off before you go to bed and put your hair in a messy bun. Wear full underwear. Change in the bathroom not in the bedroom while he promises to turn around. Bring your retainer. Take steps to make your irresistible self a little, well, resistible. Crawl into bed, and face away from him. NOT in fetal position, because that sets you up way too easily to spoon, which sets you up way too easily to turn around and start making out and dry humping like an eighth grader. Don’t ever give him a moment to kiss you. Treat him like your brother.

And then when you inevitably ignore all of that, because like…hello, I still want him to pay attention to me, I just don’t want to fuck him, just remember this word: “No.” And more importantly, remember that not wanting to do it IS a good enough reason not to do it. There are people out there who say no to sex all the time. Ask my boyfriend. It doesn’t matter that you’ve had sex before — it doesn’t matter if you’ve had A LOT of sex before (not that you have, or that you haven’t. I don’t know your life). It doesn’t matter that you’re in bed together. It doesn’t matter that he paid for the bed you’re in together. It doesn’t matter that you made out, or grinded, or that he touched your lady parts, or that you touched his. If you don’t feel like sleeping together, that’s all you have to say. “No. Sorry. I don’t want to do this.”

It’s really not as awkward as you think. Guys are used to getting rejected for sex, and I promise, you too, can be someone who rejects this guy. He will live. He might not even remember it by morning. He’ll be bummed in the moment, of course, but if he’s a good guy, he’ll respect you. If he’s a gay guy, he’ll thank you. And if he’s not, then he’s a shitty person. If he keeps pushing the issue after you’ve said you don’t want to do it, then he’s the bad guy for pressuring you. You’re not the bad guy for “leading him on.” It doesn’t have to be a whole big thing. You can pretend you’re tired if you want. You can pretend you’re “not ready.” Or you can provide no explanation at all. It doesn’t matter. He’ll probably ask again once or twice, but if he’s a decent guy, after that, he’ll let up.

And sorry to Mother Hen you for a second, but I have to. If he does not let up, if he gets aggressive (and I’m not anticipating he will — especially if he’s potentially gay), then you should too. “I said no. That wasn’t because I was teasing you. It’s because I don’t want to have sex with you, and continuing to ask me to do it will not change my mind. You’re being a fucking creep right now.” I had a friend who once threw in “If you do this, you’re raping me.” Sometimes, to make sure he knows that your “no” is real, shit has to get real. An unfortunate truth that leads to an awkward morning, but at least it’s awkward because he feels like shit, not because you do.

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Veronica Ruckh

Veronica (@VeronicaRuckh) is the Director of Total Sorority Move for Grandex, Inc. After having spent her undergraduate years drinking $4 double LITs on a patio and drunk texting away potential suitors, she managed to graduate with an impressive GPA and an unimpressive engagement ring -- so unimpressive, in fact, some might say it's not there at all. Veronica has since been fulfilling her duties as "America's big," a title she gave to herself with the help of her giant ego. She has recently switched from vodka to wine on weekdays. Email her at

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