How to Tell Someone You’re Only Interested in Sex Without Sounding Like an Arsehole

How to Tell Someone You’re Only Interested in Sex Without Sounding Like an Arsehole
Vicky Leta

The headline here is optimistic. If you tell someone who has feelings for you that you don’t want to date them, but you do want to sleep with them, you probably will sound like an arsehole. But we have a few tips on how to sound less like one. You’re not actually a bad person, but when feelings are involved, it’s easy for people to get hurt, so proceed with caution as you follow the advice below.

Make sure this is really what you want

Before you go to another person with the declaration you have no interest in their personality but plenty of interest left over for their body, make sure you know what you really want.

Are you doing this because you’re afraid of a relationship or still hurting from a previous one? Are you trying to date multiple people at once and stressing out about how to explain that?

It’s key to explore your own feelings before you impact the feelings of someone else. If the problem isn’t that you don’t want to pursue a relationship, but feel like you can’t — for whatever reason — you might be able to work through it with the other person.

But if you really do just want something casual and physical, that’s fine, too. Read on.

Start with a compliment

The easiest way to have a difficult conversation is always to start out positively. That’s true when you’re quitting your job (“I’ve really learned a lot over the past three years, but…”) or telling a stylist you don’t like your hair colour (“I love how my bangs turned out, but…”). It’s also true when you’re trying to let someone down easily while still enticing them to sleep with you casually.

If you come right out and say you’re not interested in dating someone, you’re starting with a bit of a put-down, even if you don’t mean to. Start out nicely. There are nice things about the other person, after all. Try this:

“I’ve really liked getting to know you over the past few weeks. You’re super funny and cute, but I’m not able to commit to a relationship right now. The sex is great, though — and I hope you feel the same — so if you’re interested, I’d like to keep that going.”

Samantha N., a 29-year-old New Yorker who’s had these conversations a few times, added, “If you’re worried that only wanting to have sex will offend the other person, I think the best way is to put it on yourself.”

In other words, take ownership for your own disinterest in a relationship. Say clearly you are just not interested in dating exclusively right now. Samantha added, “Obviously, the biggest thing is to respect whatever response someone has there. If someone can’t do that, no big deal. Move on to the next person. It’s not like you were emotionally invested in them.”

Remember that the other person can say no to this arrangement. That’s their right and it’s the gamble you’re taking.

Be as honest as you can

You don’t want to hurt the other person for two reasons: First, of course, you are a decent human being who doesn’t love to see others in pain. Second, you do still want them to sleep with you after you reject them romantically.

That being said, you still need to be honest. Use your judgment to walk the thin line between honest and offensive.

If your reasoning for only wanting to be physical is kind of mean, like that your parents wouldn’t approve of the other person, don’t tell them everything. But if they ask direct questions, you do owe them an explanation, especially if you’re a few dates in and they really like you.

Don’t be hard on yourself

There is nothing wrong with knowing what you want, being open about it, and embracing that you want something physical, not emotional.

As Samantha said, “It’s 2021, so luckily for everyone, it’s totally normal, respected, and good to communicate your needs with others.”

Even if it’s uncomfortable to have this conversation, it’s better to be frank about what you want than to keep leading someone on.

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