When Putting Out Means Losing Out

"If one key can open many locks its a good key, but if many keys can open one lock it's a shitty lock." - Nash Laney

Hi Susan,

Last month, I was visiting my alma mater for a week, hanging out with friends, and I met this guy who is friends with some of my friends and who I’ve heard about for awhile – my friends have wanted me to meet him because they say we are “male/female versions of the same person” – both outgoing, social, like to have a good time. So I met him and we ended up hanging out just the two of us, getting drunk, and then having sex.

The rest of the time I was there, I basically LIVED with him (not totally by choice though – the friend I was staying with was having roomie problems and drama and asked if i could stay somewhere else). Anyway it was instantly really comfortable – we went out for lunch and stuff, hung out at his place without having sex, I had dinner with his friends once. Basically, he was my fake BF for a week.

My last night in town, he asked me why I hooked up with him and if I had planned on it before we hung out. I said, “No, it wasn’t premeditated.” I explained that taking out the alcohol factor, I hooked up faster than usual because I had heard so much about him and we have mutual friends so I already preapproved him as a decent person. Then he’s like…”Even if we won’t be in the same city?” I just shrugged…I was kind of taken aback.

THEN he asked “Do you hook up a lot?” which of course is legitimate – he probably thinks i put out very easily. I said “No I don’t.” Which is true – I don’t sleep around. It’s true that all my past LTRs have started out from hooking up. But if I’m sleeping with a guy, it’s usually because I’m in a relationship with him. Then he said “That’s kind of hard to believe because clearly you enjoy having sex.” I said “Well just because I enjoy it doesn’t mean I sleep around!” And he was like “OK.”












After I left he was texting me a lot being SUPER flirty, calling me “baby” and saying i miss you and asking me if i missed him and stuff. Which I do NOT take seriously at all – I don’t believe what guys say. Oh and this guy is DEFINITELY an alpha – he has girls all around him, I know that for a fact. His fb page is 90% girls writing/commenting. So I’m not stupid – my guard is definitely up.

Anyway, starting next week I’m going to NYC for the whole summer (he just moved to NYC as well, as he graduated in May). I’m actually going to be attending law school in New York – I got my acceptance last week. So it looks like we actually will be in the same city.

However, it’s been almost two weeks since we last texted. It was everyday and then suddenly stopped. I mentioned to him I was probably going to be in NY for the summer but he doesn’t know when I’m coming or that I’ll be in NY long term now. However, I’m pretty sure if he knows I’m in NY he’ll contact me.

So I’m trying to decide whether I hook up with this guy right away or not. I mean to be honest – I don’t even REALLY know the guy. But I do enjoy hanging out with him so far, and I want to get to know him better to even decide if he’s true BF material or not. Which means I will need to see him and hang out with him right? So while I’m in the process of deciding, do I still hook up with him or pull back?

I’m sure he will ASSUME we will just hook up but I don’t want to jump into a casual hookup situation with him and then start to have feelings later because I know it’s very difficult for a LTR to come out of a hookup and then I will end up getting hurt.

Or have I already messed up my chances? That’s what I’m asking basically – is it too late for me to even try to actually date this guy? Has he already discounted me as potential GF material because I put out so fast?

I was thinking if/when we do meet up, I’m sure he will make a move but I would not reciprocate. And if he is weird about it, I was going to just be like, “You know I got carried away last time and acted very uncharacteristically by hooking up with you right when I met you. That’s not my MO. I actually want to get to know a person before I hookup with them. But if you’re just looking for a hook up then I’m probably not the right girl for you.”

What do you think – good move?  Like I’m not sure if I strictly want no strings sex OR try to see where this actually could go because I don’t know him well enough yet to assess his potential as a “quality boy” and also to know whether he’s even open to a relationship at this point in his life.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!!! And I LOVE your blog btw!!!

Thanks so much,



Hi Danielle,

Brace yourself for some tough love here. You need to increase your understanding of male sexuality so that you can move forward and execute better strategies. You’re obviously interested in getting into a relationship with a great guy and you feel that this guy might qualify.

It’s a moot point, because in my opinion you thoroughly disqualified yourself with this particular man by hooking up with no strings. Fellow blogger Badger wrote recently about the Ladder Theory for Men. In a nutshell, men have three ladders, and every woman is on one of the three. It’s basically a version of Fuck, Chuck or Marry. From Badger’s post, his description of the three ladders (FCM is mine):


Male ladder 1 (ML1) is for women a man would consider seriously dating and/or marrying.


Male ladder 2 (ML2) is for women with whom a man desires sex but has no intention of committing his personal energy and resources to. For a typical man, ~70% of women are eligible for ML2.


ML3 is for everybody else – unusually ugly women, seriously dysfunctional personalities, damaged goods, body types you don’t like, your best friend’s sister, etc.

It sounds to me like you’re firmly positioned on Ladder 2, but you’re wondering whether there’s any possibility of moving to Ladder 1.

“In almost all cases, any ML1-eligible woman is also ML2-eligible (the reverse is not true), in other words one is a subset of the other. Another way of saying it is men don’t desire relationships with women they don’t want to have sex with…

The upshot of all of this is two critical cause-and-effect equations. Contrary to the apex-fallacying of jilted female hooker-uppers, men do not lack the ability to bond through sex. It’s just that the system is only deployed under certain conditions.

A man who is interested in sex with a woman (an ML2 woman, by definition) is generally speaking not going to get emotionally bonded /fall in love with her by virtue of having sex with her.”

This may seem like a paradox, as one of the primary characteristics of hookup culture is that physical intimacy precedes emotional intimacy.

Indeed, most contemporary relationships among college students begin with the hookup, and getting to know one another comes later, if at all. Obviously, the vast majority of NSA hookups result in averted eyes and awkward moments in the days following. But some hookups do take hold, and research shows that this depends on the objectives of the individuals when the hookup occurred. When both the guy and the girl are in search of a committed relationship, early sex does not necessarily rule it out.

However, this will vary quite a bit from guy to guy. A guy who has had a ton of sexual partners may consider sex on the first night the norm, and not be bothered by what it implies – that you have also had a lot of sexual partners. That may be rounding error to an alpha. On the other hand, a guy who has more limited experience is going to be extremely wary, and possibly judgmental, about a woman who has sex right away (and like a pro).

So what’s going on in your case? There are several clues in your letter. Let’s take them one by one:

1. You played house for a week following your initial hookup. It sounds like he didn’t initiate the 24/7 togetherness, but he was obvs down and the two of you were compatible, enjoying one another’s company. I’ll make a wild guess that you had plenty of additional sex that week. In other words, the ONS turned into a One Week Fling.

2. By the end of the week, the no-strings aspect of the sex was obviously on his mind. It sounds like he was really liking you, possibly wondering if there was any way he could move you from Ladder 2 to Ladder 1 (or from Fuck to Marry). He asked several questions designed to help him understand your motives in having sex with him the first night.

3. In asking if you’d decided to have sex before you met him, he’s trying to determine how selective (or conversely, promiscuous) you are. How often do you have sex with people you don’t even know? What does that say about your perception of your own worth?

Paradoxically, during the 40 years since the Sexual Revolution, women have gotten much more promiscuous, and men have gotten more sensitive to promiscuity. They love having sex with sluts, but will not knowingly commit time, energy and resources to them. So asking the tough questions has become very important for men, and they’ve become more judgmental about promiscuity than they were even a generation ago. From the male perspective, “a good woman is hard to find.”

4. Your response that you’d already preapproved him (like an American Express card!) as a decent person only says that you felt sure he wouldn’t murder you in your sleep. “Decent” is very contextual, especially if you’re hearing that from his guy friends. Does decent means he never pumps and dumps? Has no idea how hot he is? Is honest? Sensitive? A decent guy can have no-strings sex when it’s offered and never want to speak to the girl again. Women who go all in on the word of a guy’s friends that he’s a great guy usually wind up getting burned by a douchebag.

5. His response is interesting – pointing out that you don’t live in the same place, or didn’t at that time. Again, he’s trying to figure out your objective, and concluding that it has to be a short-term hookup, since there wasn’t really a plan or sense that this could turn into something more.

6. His final question – “Do you hook up a lot?,” along with his comment, “I find that hard to believe…” makes it clear he has serious doubts about your ever being on Ladder 1. He likes you, but is clearly uncomfortable with the way the sexual relationship started, and he holds you responsible. Women are the gatekeepers.

7. You say this guy is alpha, surrounded by girls. He’s most likely a player, but there is a slight chance he’d be willing to date someone now that his college days have ended. If it’s the latter, this is the sexual double standard in action. He does not want to risk dating a slut. This may be “unfair,” but again, it’s doesn’t matter. He is not required to select a girlfriend according to any standards but his own.

8. Intense, flirty texting is natural enough as a fling ends, especially since it was cut off by your leaving. I’m sure he was missing you (and the sex) after that week, but that doesn’t say anything about his intentioins for the future. The fact that all texting ceased a couple of weeks ago, even though he knew it was likely you’d be in the same city for the summer, indicates that his interest has probably waned.

That’s not to say that if you met up with him and offered sex he wouldn’t take it – but he’s clearly not motivated right now to pursue even a casual relationship.


Perhaps the most unrealistic thing about your expectations is this:

“I actually want to get to know a person before I hookup with them. But if you’re just looking for a hook up then I’m probably not the right girl for you.”

You’re looking for a do-over, and that’s not going to fly. Do you know how often women say to men, “I’m usually not like this?” So often that it’s considered a “slut tell.”

Danielle, if you want to get to know a person before hooking up, then do it. No more random hookups. Since you’re clearly looking for a relationship, you are definitely not the right girl for any guy who just wants sex.

What you’re trying to do here is get back some control. I understand your desire to do that. But in truth, you forfeited all control the minute you had no-strings sex. You can’t put the chastity belt on now – why would he ever want to start back at the beginning, only this time he gets no sex and has to commit?

I say let this go, and take time to reflect on what it says about men, and what they are looking for in a partner. Men and women have very different mating strategies. Women like players who sleep around but men don’t. You’ve graduated from college, and there’s no good rationale for having booze-fueled hookups. This is the time when dating really kicks in, so take advantage of that. It will be easier if you focus on guys a few years older.

I have heard from many readers that law school is a continuation of the college hookup scene – everyone is too busy for relationships. Take time to think about what you want – you’ll be 25 or so when you get out, and you may be better off sitting out the casual sex scene and saving yourself for someone worthy.

As you’ve learned, even the players want a “good girl” in the end.

Note to Readers: Please comment and share your constructive and supportive advice with Danielle. I believe she wants to understand the male POV, and could benefit greatly from it. Any comments from women who have been in her shoes, or have strategies to share are also welcome.