Remember that time someone asked a favor of you and then insulted you behind your back? If you’re like me, your next thought probably included an obscene word followed by a vow to never help this person out. Offense and resentment can work similarly in the dating world, where an insult is the best way to end a date prematurely or to prevent one from being arranged. Continue reading to find out why women don’t respond to online messages.
Insulting Your Way to Her Heart… and Why Women Don’t Respond to Online Messages
I had begun a conversation with Anthony from Tinder. Although Tinder is known as “Grinder for straight folks”—aka a hookup app—I’ve found enjoyable conversations with men there, even when our desired outcomes differed. For the most part, some men who are interested only in hooking up are respectful or just end the conversation.
Well, Anthony and I began a fairly typical conversation with the “What do you do?” and “Tell me about your job” small talk. This led to a discussion about our plans for that specific day. No biggie right? Well, in the midst of this mundane conversation, Anthony asks, “Whatcha doing tonight?” Tonight being in the 10 o’clock hour after I had told him previously I was meeting friends for dinner. I can be forgiving of short-term memory and inability to scroll a few messages up. I repeated my prior plans of dinner and my current plan of reading in bed. The following is typed exactly as it was in our online conversation.
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I know it’s been awhile since posting about Living with a Sex Therapist, but the BFF and I recently had a wonderful interaction that is a must-share! After several weeks of a male masturbation sleeve just sitting on the living room end table and no comment at all, the BFF sees my Magic Wand lying on the kitchen counter.
This Wand isn’t for Harry Potter
Before we get to his reaction and our conversation, let’s review the Magic Wand and why it is totally awesome. The Magic Wand is a ‘personal massager’ with intended uses for general muscle aches and soreness as well as sexual pleasure. Granted, a majority of its use is, more than likely, for sexual pleasure. However, not pointing fingers (or using them!), some may use it for muscle soreness after leg day at the gym! More about that to “come”….
Now, why is the Magic Wand so amazing? If you listened to the Let’s Talk Sex Podcast, Episode 16: “Your Mindset on Masturbation,” then you heard Magnus Sullivan educating us about the technology behind the Magic Wand. The Magic Wand was designed to allow clitoral stimulation without over stimulating the clitoris’s 8,000 nerve endings, an unacknowledged problem with some stimulation devices. Overstimulation can cause sensitivity to the clitoral head, which can lead to premature orgasms or even discomfort that makes continuing intercourse unpleasant. Yes, gentlemen readers, this happens to ladies as well! By reducing sensitivity and slowing stimulation, we get more time for play! Seriously, check out the episode to learn more, and check out the Magic Wand at Manshop.com.
What’s THAT on the Counter??
Back to why the Magic Wand was on the kitchen counter. As I said, the Magic Wand can help relieve muscle soreness, which I was experiencing after a great squat session. I figured, why not test it out on sore muscles? My Wand has a cord and needs to an outlet to function, and I needed a chest-high outlet for maximum reach. This is beginning to make sense, right? Well, after my research, I left the Wand on the counter to go look at shoes online (totally reasonable, right?). Half asleep, the BFF emerges from his room, walks into the kitchen and says, “What is that on the counter?” To which I respond, “A Magic Wand.”
“What does that do?”
“You use it to massage your back.” He stands for a moment, shakes his head and just walks back into his room. After a second or two, he pops his head back out and says in a concerning yet hesitant tone, “It looks kinda…big.”
“Yes, it’s external.”
I receive a dumbfounded look for a brief moment while he is processing this information. Then, his face contorts with disgust (maybe?)and he goes, “Get that off my counter!” Hold up! He’s ok if a vaginal toy is on the counter, but not an EXTERNAL only toy??
Living with a sex therapist… the Magic Wand remains on the counter as I type this post.
A lot of anxiety and hesitation about beginning therapy is connected to a social stigma that expresses itself differently at different times in our lives but has a similar theme: “I should be ‘over’ this by now.” This sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. Because each of our psychological profiles is literally unique, there’s no time that’s too late to begin therapy; that’s like saying, “It’s too late to start exercising”. Not only does this sentiment lead people to delay seeking a therapist or ending therapy prematurely, but it also prevents people from solving problems in their lives. This delay can often lead to those problems getting worse.
For the next few weeks, I’m going to post about why starting therapy is beneficial for emotional and sexual growth at different stages of life, roughly defined by decade. So don’t worry: we’ll get to your age group soon! And if any of these situations describe you, feel free to speak out in the comments or to reach out to me personally. Without further ado, continue reading to find out how therapy benefits emotional and sexual growth especially during the 20s.
During our late teens and early 20s, we begin to separate from our family and primary caregivers – we become our own individual people. According toErik Erikson’s paradigmatic psychological model, we begin establishing our autonomy between 18 months and 3 years of age, and it is a process that continues as we become more psychologically mature, through adolescence and early adulthood. We might call this process ‘differentiation’, where we come to see ourselves as different from our families though still part of them.
It’s Time to Fly! Wait…Don’t Let Go!
In family systems therapy, I view differentiation as creating physical and emotional independence while remaining part of a family system. As we grow and as our parents become conscious of our separating, it can be a difficult time for both parents and children, leading to conflict especially between parents and teenagers. The negative effects are especially notable in unhealthy family systems with poor boundaries. A healthy family system allows this process to naturally occur and its members are individually supportive of the process. An unhealthy system, such as one with poor physical and emotional boundaries, will try to prevent the process, leading to stunted emotional growth for children and unresolved conflicts. Unresolved conflicts and resentments between parents and children can last decades and have effects that are difficult to predict.
Therapy benefits emotional and sexual growth of children raised with healthy or unhealthy differentiation systems. But in either case, it can be vital to seek therapy in your 20s, because the process of differentiation often hasn’t ended yet, meaning that there is still time to improve how it concludes. For children from healthier family systems, this can mean working on communication techniques that allow children at the last stages of dependency on parents to transition to an adult-adult communication pattern that can be especially difficult for any family to master. Children from less healthy family systems often benefit from deeper psycho-analytic insights into why they continue to have significant conflicts with their parents, and why some of these conflicts may have negative effects in seemingly unrelated parts of their lives.
Leaving the Nest (and have Great Sex!)
Emotional development and maturation in adolescence is related to physical and sexual development, as well, all of which is complicated by significant changes in our social, romantic, and sexual lives in our 20s. Sexual development begins during infancy through exploration of the body through touch. Infants and babies also explore other people’s bodies through touch as well. However, the shame and stigma associated with sexual development could stunt the growth of a sexual identity or create confusion in early adulthood, an issue (not surprisingly) related to how families discuss and think about sexuality. I work with many clients experiencing anxiety or confusion around sexual identity. Many of these clients are in relationships or marriages that are unconsummated or sexless due to lack of understanding the self, how to communicate about sex with others including a partner or spouse, and/or differing ideas and preferences about sexual activity. This is, yet, another reason how therapy benefits emotional and sexual growth.
Whether you come from a healthy or unhealthy family system, therapy in your 20s can support your growth as functioning adult and help you recognize the impact of your family on your growth and relationships with others. The therapeutic work is different depending on each family, but this shouldn’t surprise you. Just like no two individuals are exactly alike, no two families are exactly alike either. Therapy can help you determine just how your family has helped (and hindered!) your growth, and how you’d like that process to continue into adulthood.
In my practice, and in life in general, I’ve often heard men complain women don’t respond to online messages or women not engaging in conversation. I wondered if men realized how their female counterparts experience online ‘courtship’ rituals. With my most recent online and app dating experience, I decided I would start a series of posts sharing a few reasons why women don’t respond to online messages. You’ll also find strategies for communication and online correspondence that might lead to more online dating successes.
First and Foremost, Read Her Profile
Sometimes men are inclined to send replies to women without first reading their profiles. While this impulse seems to take advantage of the ‘low risk, low commitment’ culture of online dating, it communicates something different to the recipient, especially women: you aren’t interested in the profile she took the time and consideration to ‘put out there’, only in her picture. The first order of business is to read the potential match’s profile. If you’re interested, send a thought-provoking and conversation-starting message about something you found interesting, want to know more about, or share in common. For instance, my profile clearly asks for men to send more than just a “hey” or “what’s up,” as I’m more likely to respond when I see that someone is showing interest in me and has taken the time to read what I had to say.
The Longer the Better
Another good rule of thumb is to send a message like you would an e-mail. Raise your hand if you just e-mail a person with “Hey,” and nothing else. I hope no one raised a hand. I realize that many online dating sites now allow instant messaging, though not everyone uses the feature or has time to constantly check messages from potential matches. Longer, more conversational messages get the dialogue going faster than a volley of “hey” and “how are you” that could spread across several days. Also, for many people, it can be as awkward to respond to a non-commital “hey.” Craft a response that pays genuine attention to a person’s profile. When you do the latter, you signal that you value reciprocity, easing the inevitable first-message tensions and increasing your likelihood of getting a reply.
Here are two tips to get you started! Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss my next post about how insults are reasons why women don’t respond to online messages.
Thank you for teaching me how to love myself better and to grow in this world that throws a curveball whenever I least expect it. But now, it’s time for us to part, and I need you to let go so I can continue to grow and become an even more healthy person than I already am.
You are not the overbearing, clingy-type who is following me on social media to see where I am and who I’m with. You are not the possessive type who does not want any other person to enjoy my company and is keeping me locked away from the world…
In my practice, one of the biggest reasons therapy is not ‘successful’ is that people don’t commit the time or to making the process a priority. For many, this means attending the
session as scheduled and reflecting on the therapy outside of session. My time recommendation for new clients is a weekly appointment, as this allows time for you and your therapist to learn about each other, to develop a rapport, and to begin the therapeutic process. If time or cost is a barrier, every other week is an option to discuss with your therapist. Once a client is established or has achieved the goals for initially seeking therapy, we discuss sessions monthly as “well-care” or as needed. I have many clients in my caseload who schedule as needed because they used therapy to develop skills to keep them healthy, one of which is understanding when they need a professional’s unbiased thoughts. In terms of “how long therapy will last,” I don’t put a timeframe. Again, therapy is your own personal journey, aimed at working with your psychology needs, and this journey may not have an obvious or definite end. That all depends on you and your goals – which can change as therapy progresses.
… the Therapeutic Relationship…
Another reason therapy doesn’t work out is a lack of connection in the therapeutic relationship. Although your therapist is not your best friend or family member, a potent bond still forms. This person may be one of the only people who knows the most intimate and vulnerable details of your life. It’s important to feel safe and comfortable with them! But therapists are still human, and this means we may not click with every other human in the world. It happens and it’s ok to be realistic about this and seek out a new therapist. Instead of ghosting on your therapist, have a discussion to properly end the relationship. In these cases, professional therapists will understand where the client is coming from and can recommend a colleague who may be a better fit.
Addressing Outside Factors…
Another reason I see clients reporting dissatisfaction with therapy (either with our sessions or past therapy with another therapist) is focusing on other aspects of the process. These can include costs or pricing, insurance issues, and rapidly switching therapists before change can occur or is about to occur. Yes, the cost of therapy is an important factor (we don’t want you going broke in order to grow or heal!) but is your growth and healing less important than finding someone with a lower rate or being able to use your insurance benefits? It’s important to answer this question in the best way for your situation, and also, to discuss this concern with your therapist.
In the past insurance plans were more consistent and changed less frequently than today. Now, the majority of plans could change in a year or a provider may leave your state or network. For instance, your employer may contract with company A this year though next year contract with company B, altering your network and your coverage significantly. Even private plans through the insurance company may change each year, resulting in a change of your benefits including mental health coverage. Before beginning therapy and choosing a therapist, I suggest exploring what is most important to you about therapy and then choose based on those options. If seeing a person with a specific niche or knowledge area is important, then choose a therapist based on those criteria. If using your insurance is most important, then choose a therapist who accepts your insurance with the possibility that this could change at any point during your treatment. And as always, discuss these issues with your therapist. He or she is invested in your success as well, and will often be able to find workarounds and compromises for insurance, coverage, and billing difficulties.
…And Embracing Unintentional Change
As I tell clients beginning therapy, be open to the process involving change you
aren’t expecting. Therapy is a journey and, at times, our path may take us down an unintended route. You may begin therapy with a specific goal in mind, but the could open other possibilities or provide insights you’d never considered. These can be some of the most moving and helpful sessions, even though neither I nor my client anticipates them when therapy begins. Much of my work with clients is not only symptom management but also helping clients learn about themselves (and learning along with them) and the systems impacting their development. Being too rigid with goals and expectations of therapy can lead to dissatisfaction and lack of growth. For those concerned about too much flexibility, a good therapist won’t let you flounder around and will help keep you and the process on track by reviewing the reasons you started therapy and reviewing the progress and change. And of course, therapy is grounded in communication: if you think your progress is slowing or something is not working for you, tell your therapist, who can help work out new strategies.
Tell us your thoughts about how you choose a therapist and what is most important to you…
There is still a lot of social stigma around mental health and related therapies: a lot of people receive the message that “you’re crazy or sick” if you need therapy or mental health care. However, while psychotherapy, talk-therapy, and psychopharmacology are interrelated treatments for mental illness, therapy is also a process of progressive emotional growth and lifestyle change, regardless of its relationship to mental illness. I think of the range of therapies as analogous to the range of treatments for physical ailments. Severe injuries may require invasive surgeries, medication regimens, and a long recovery time, while chronic ailments can be addressed with physical therapy, exercise regimens, and lifestyle changes, which can benefit almost anyone. Yes, some mental illnesses are like severe injuries and require multiple, coordinated forms of intervention – but just as with physical injuries, most of our ‘mental ailments’ are lower level and can be addressed in ways that not only alleviate suffering but actually improve life satisfaction.
Defining Therapy as Well-Care…not Sick-Care
For those who don’t see therapy stigmatized, or have experienced therapy in the past and have moved beyond the stigma, therapy can function as a form of psychological exercise, a regular experience clients use to “better themselves” or their relationships. In my practice, I discuss this as a distinction between “well-care” vs “sick-care” and define well-care as “preventative medicine” instead of sick-care, which is similar to emergency or urgent medicine. In physical medicine, after an emergency, many people try to improve their health and lifestyle through physical therapy, exercising, whatever they have to do to address underlying problems that they didn’t know were leading to a crisis. I see the exact same thing with my regular clients. I meet them first in a crisis situation, and once we address that, we work to improve day-to-day habits and functioning not only to avoid emergencies but to address life goals and that always mysterious idea of ‘happiness’.
Yes, Even Our Brains and Hearts Need a Checkup
Therapy is a place to gain insight into yourself – your emotions, your thoughts, and their relationship to your behaviors. Many times, a person first seeks therapy after a crisis occurs; for example, the discovery of an affair, the possibility of divorce, a family member’s death, or depression or anxiety impacting daily life. Just as you go to your primary care doctor for annual checkups to ensure that you aren’t missing subtle cues about significant illnesses, you can also use therapy to ensure that emotionally you and/or your relationship are on the right track and that you’re addressing any potential concerns before they become crises.
The important point is that therapy is like physical medicine in two important ways: there are as many varieties of treatment as there are people and conditions, and for this reason, there should be no social stigma in making use of it. Once we move past the stigma, we can find out how therapy can most benefit our specific situation and help improve our lives.
Check back next week for Part Two: Committing to Therapy, but in the meantime, what are your thoughts about therapy as a part of healthcare? How do you view therapy and mental health?