Sex talk
Speaking of Unsuitable Crushes

Simon Sheppard,

"My god, the number of crushes I've had on guys," says one late-30s fellow, somewhat ruefully, "and the huge proportion of them that have ended unsatisfactorily."

Yes, we've all had those moments when we spotted a stranger across a crowded room and thought He's sooo cute! He must really be The One! It may not have been a crowded room; it might have been an office, a classroom, or even a queen-sized bed. Continues our late-30s lad, "Even if a sexual encounter is obviously of the no-strings-attached variety – something arranged over the Internet or at last call in a bar – I can end up falling for a guy as soon as I start sucking his dick." That feeling of attraction, devotion, and longing can make for an enjoyable – if bumpy – ride.

Just why do guys – many of whom should surely know better – end up falling head-over-heels in temporary and most likely futile love? In many cases, one need look no further than beneath the belt. "Lust is a powerful motivating force," says one wise soul. "Often it can be triggered by some detail: the curve of a jaw line, a man's voice, the way he moves. And many times, that might remind a fellow of someone else, someone in his past. So guys can get repeated crushes on similar types again and again."

Kept in check, crushes are harmless enough, though they may be a bit immature. Unlikely-to-be-fulfilled attractions may even provide an emotional safety valve. "I'm in a long-term relationship," says another infatuation-prone dude, "but I end up getting crushes on other men all over the place, especially if I'm unlikely to actually get them into bed. That allows me to repeatedly feel the rush of falling for someone, while not threatening the stability of my home life."

But sometimes the unreasoning nature of a heavy crush can lead to trouble. It can be as simple as embarrassing behavior, like fumbling for words when that attractive coworker comes around your desk. Or it can border on obsession. A middle-aged man confesses, "I had this crush on a gorgeous younger man who didn't return my feelings. So I started, well, lurking. Not really stalking him, but making sure I walked past his place a lot, in case he was headed home. When I finally did run into him, he told me he'd spotted me looking up at his window on more than one occasion. I guess I blushed. And stayed away after that...most of the time."

And then there are the self-destructive aspects of nurturing a one-way infatuation. Our wise soul advises, "Crushes can add spice to life – who hasn't had fun yearning for that straight guy in our college class? But continually setting yourself up to be turned down, both emotionally and sexually, by only wanting men unlikely to want you, is a losing game. After all, instead of mooning around and yearning for the impossible dream, you could be trying to build a mutually satisfying relationship instead. Or at least trying to get fucked."

At some level, that may mean going for guys you're likely to get. Sure, there are Brad Pitts out there yearning for Donald Trump types. But – hard truth – unless you're filthy rich or rather lucky, you may be better off yearning after men who are more or less in your league. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for frequent let-downs.

Which may be what some guys want. Afraid of getting what they need and perhaps having to make a hard-work commitment, they self-sabotagingly set their sights on the unobtainable instead. But, as our wise man says, "Passing fancies come and go. Self-respect lasts forever."

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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