The Problem With Stereotyping & Fetishizing Your Dates

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): FiguringItAllOut

Comment: I’m female, bi, and not fully out. I had a friends with benefits situation with a girl I met at a race3party for about four months. Once a month or so we’d hang out, head back to her place, cuddle, then it would lead to more.

I’m fairly inexperienced with girls and was nervous about going down on her, so I avoided it, although we did other stuff. Also, I was having trouble making her come on a consistent basis. She said it wasn’t a big deal, but indicated we might be better off as friends.

We hung out another time last month ostensibly as friends, but I ended up seducing her and proving that I’d “improved” so to speak, which seemed to make her question her decision. Also, I told her that my reluctance to go down on her wasn’t because I didn’t want to, but because for me it was still a first and felt like a big deal to me. That again made her question her decision.

In any case, we left still as “friends” but with her wondering whether to change her mind. I’ve been traveling and we’ve just been texting.

Is it at all worth pushing it to seeing if this is a FWB situation that can be salvaged? Or does my lack of experience at first make it a lost cause?
Age: 33
City: Brooklyn
State: ny

I’m not sure it’s your lack of sexual experience that is the hurdle here. I think the real problem is that you and she are in different places in terms of your confidence levels concerning your sexuality.

The fact that you aren’t fully out is probably the bigger issue. The woman that you’re hooking up with probably doesn’t wish to be someone’s introduction into bisexuality, nor does she want to deal with someone who might feel uncomfortable going public. And I don’t blame her. Nobody likes to feel like they are somebody’s experiment. Put yourself in her shoes. How would you feel if the person you were dating only wanted to stay in and never wanted to go out or who might shy away from being affectionate in public? How would that make you feel? She’s probably already dealt with all the confusion and prejudice and come to terms with coming out and is now comfortable with who she is. Perhaps she doesn’t wish to be with someone who isn’t in the same place?

Nobody enjoys feeling fetishized or like some sort of guinea pig. To some people, this sort of treatment is offensive. And the worst part is that the people fetishizing them see absolutely nothing wrong with doing so. There are actually people on dating sites who say things like, “I’ve always wanted to date a Black woman/man or Asian woman” or “I’ve always wanted to get with an older woman.” Do you know why comments like that are truly offensive? It’s because those fantasies are borne from stereotypes. Usually intensely racist or misogynistic ones.

Black women are frequently combating the Black Jezebel stereotype, where women of color are presented as hyper-sexualized. Asian women deal with the Geisha, Concubine, or Anime inspired stereotypes, wherein they are expected to be submissive and exist solely to serve and please a man. One of my clients recently explained that she doesn’t fill in the Ethnicity field on her dating profile because she’s been bombarded with emails from men who contact her and comment solely on the fact that she’s Asian and that’s why they messaged her.

Men of color are also faced with racist stereotypes about their sexuality, genitalia,  and manhood. (Side note: Yes, the term “jungle fever” is racist.” It implies that a) the man of color is from the jungle and b) that the white person they are dating must have some sort of illness to be attracted to him. So, yeah, racist.)

This is why I always tell profile review clients never to fill in that section on a dating profile where they are asked to choose the ethnicity or races of their ideal mate. Leave it blank. Do not make any selections. Doing so will at best make you seem rigid and and worst make you look racist. Remember – profiles are all about perception.

(I urge readers who have dealt with this first hand to share their experiences.)

While the older woman trope isn’t steeped in racism, it is infused with a whole lot of misogynistic ideas about woman of a certain age. Older women are perceived to be desperate for male attention because our “expiration date” has come and gone. We’re assumed to be in our sexual prime and therefore down for anything.  That’s why all those emails women over 35 get from guys in their twenties should be deleted and discarded. Their claims of always being drawn to older women or relating better to older women are lies. They just want to have sex with you to scratch it off their bucket list. Seriously, stop bragging about hearing from the twentysomethings. It means nothing. We all get those messages.

So, FiguringItAllOut, I think what your friend with benefits might be feeling is that you’re working out your curiosities on her. I would respect the fact that she seems to be stepping back from the relationship. You should never “push” for anything. If you wish to stay friends, then be sincere in that intention. Don’t stay in contact with her hoping she’ll eventually change her mind. If she does, it will be because she has decided to do so. Nothing you say will get her to that point.



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37 Responses to “The Problem With Stereotyping & Fetishizing Your Dates”

  1. J Says:

    I’ve been on the reviving end of a black woman fetish. Not fun. Some give it away easily some not so much. It’s gross when you are having a normal conversation then someone asks “do you want mixed babies?” WTF. It’s date 3… How about NO babies?!

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      J, my first was a black woman, 30 yrs ago. We lived together for 3 years, had the best connection I’ve ever experienced, and remain actual factual close friends to this day, although she married someone else, a man who I respect and is probably best for her at this time.

      It was the 80’s, and inter-racial wasn’t nearly as normal as it is today. I wasn’t anything like a do-gooder or equality warrior, just open minded. And she was funny as hell, lively and open and playful and probably has a higher IQ then me, which helped a lot as I was rather full of my smarts at that age.

      I got a lot of ribbing from people suggesting I was only doing it to break taboos, to try forbidden or exotic fruit, the “never go back,” or “brown sugar,” and stuff from relatives like “It’s not that she’s black..” which drove us both nuts.

      She was the most compatible woman I’ve ever been with by a damn sight. I play in soul bands on occasion and find black women as sexy as any women, but it’s a bit sad because none I’ve met yet are anything like her.

      And yeah, she fit the stereotype in two ways; she had an angry side that sometimes scared me as I was dealing with my own anger issues at the time, and she could and often did wear me out, not that I’m complaining. :)

      • PGH_Gal Says:

        Your comment is the equivalent of saying “but I have black friends!” Just because you had a good relationship with a black woman doesn’t mean that you aren’t still being VERY racially inappropriate. Even your sentiment that “it’s a bit sad because none I’ve met yet are anything like her” implies that we are a “breed” that shares commonalities.

        Just awful.

        • Joey Giraud Says:

          Oh cram it. You’re the prejudiced one.

        • Joey Giraud Says:

          I forgive your prejudice.

          The frame here is “Stereotyping and Fetishizing,” so of course you would interpret any white man’s honest story of an interracial love as just another “I have black friends!”

          Of course I have black friends, so what? I know who I am and I sure don’t need to brag about black friends or lovers to have street cred.

          And I know how she would react to your snotty comment, with a snort and an eye-roll. Can’t vouch for J of course.

  2. Snowflake Says:

    It is a real turn off when all a guy can say is will you be my first brown girl (I’m East Ind.). I have had quite a few of those lines and honestly it does not come off as appealing/attractive at all to be on the receiving end of “will you break my brown girl cherry”. There was a guy, who I found really attractive, we were messaging and I was quite hopeful. Even though neither of us were looking for anything serious, the moment he said those lines, I was out. It’s not just a turn off, red flag it also speaks volumes of the other person’s social skills (lack of).

    Being over 35, I have also had my fair share of under 29s message me, and as soon as I see their age, I don’t even bother reading further. Delete (block if they send more than 2 messages).

  3. Age Says:

    I’ve been on the receiving end of this (as an African American woman) more times then I care to admit. As I get older, I can spot it faster so that I can spare myself heartache down the road.

  4. Sherry Says:

    I’m a black female who has dealt with stereotypes during my online dating adventures. I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the number of messages I’d receive that would read, “I have heard wonderful things about black chicks in the bedroom!” or “I’ve always wanted an experience with a black girl!”

    As someone in my early 30s, I’ve been told by men in their mid-20s that “Women your age are at their sexual prime.”

    It gets really, really tired and I tend to cut off contact with these men.

    • PGH_Gal Says:

      We should start a club. LOL.

      As a woman who can appear black or Latina (depending on the viewer’s frame of racial reference), I get all sorts of racial stereotype emails. That’s why I don’t list my race on certain profiles (I check off other)…I don’t even want guys searching based on race to find me.

      The worst is when a guy keeps it in check until we meet. Then he starts using slang or talking about rap or asks me to talk to him in Spanish or asks me to show him how to twerk. I will tell them why their query or comments are inappropriate, end the evening and leave politely. I do that in the hopes that if I deliver the message with a bit of tenderness (but by leaving make it clear this is UNACCEPTABLE) they will perhaps rethink stuff like this. Sigh.

  5. Ishtar Says:

    Yep, have been on the receiving end of it too, though not as much as some of the ladies here. It feels really dehumanizing to be treated like some stereotype. And also the “I’ve always wanted to try an X girl” tells me that they would not considering dating you seriously and that they will go back to dating conventional white women after their little ‘adventure’. They just want to bang a brown woman so that they can brag to their bros in the grossest way possible.

    On the upside, I also met my boyfriend on OKC, so there’s good guys as well!

  6. mxf Says:

    Yup, I’m 36 and I also get regular messages from 20-something guys. Ironically, the messages are often pretty cute or clever and go beyond the “hey” of a lot of guys closer to my own age. But then I see the age difference and realize what’s going on.

  7. bbdawg Says:

    I’m Brazilian so I used to avoid mentioning that because I’d get emails from dudes who LOVE BRAZILIAN WOMEN and I cannot stand those dudes. The worst was one time I met a guy from Tinder who seemed normal and “loved Brazilian music” and at some point we started discussing sexual attitudes in a completely impersonal manner at he asks me point blank if I wanted to give him a blow job right then (????) because I am “Brazilian and Brazilian women have more open attitudes towards sex”.

    I had not kissed this person or expressed any physical interest at all. I was like “what” ???? and I had said I had met many people but that I am looking for something long-term and I don’t have any random sexual contact or intercourse with people unless I felt there was a genuine mutual connection, attraction and compatible interests and goals… The fact that I even had to say that. He responded ” I am not looking for intercourse, just a blow job and making out”. WHAT??? I left.

    That was soooooo depressing, to be treated like a free hooker. (This is also why I have the “no hookups” line now). I used to just meet people very easily. Now I make sure to ask more questions and openly state things like that. Just to avoid this.

    BTW this guy had pestered me on OkC the year before and I ignored him…he seemed aggressive…now I know why he was so aggressive…so gross.

    FYI I have no accent (been in the USA since my teens), don’t dress in particularly revealing clothes and I am not particularly flirtatious.

    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      How did he figure out you were Brazilian?

      • bbdawg Says:

        I had said in on my profile before. (I had mentioned that I had just recently moved back to New York from Brazil – I lived there for a while recently, etc…).

      • bbdawg Says:

        Yeah, Driving, because I have to hide my background and where I’m from in order to be treated like an actual person as opposed to a sexual object, right?

        • ATWYSingle Says:

          I believe the point DMN is making is that you appear to have used the fact that you were Brazilian aka “exotic” to get attention and then got annoyed when people fetishized you. It’s kind of like when men talk about their income in their profile then complain when they meet women who expect them to spend a lot of money on them.

          • bbdawg Says:

            Interesting. TBH I don’t think my profile gave that impression, although I do look sort of “exotic” but I get what you’re saying. That was just a very unpleasant experience. I don’t understand how being Brazilian or looking “exotic” leads to the expectation of random blow jobs from someone you just met.

            • D. Says:

              It’s the “genetic diversity” factor, basically. Guys always assume that women from [somewhere else] are way easier than the women back home. See also, the myth of the hot exchange student, and why women go nuts for a dude with an accent (as opposed to an equally attractive dude with the same accent as the woman). It’s all just genetic diversity.

              To be honest, the guys who are saying shit like “Will you break my brown girl cherry” are probably also objectifying women in their own ethnicity, too. I’d be stunned to hear that a guy who sends a message like “Wanna have mixed babies?” is a respectable gentleman towards white women, ya know? The main difference is that the crap he sends lacks the ethnic/racial component…but it’s probably still crap like “Can I [sex act] on your [anatomical feature]?”

  8. Kyra Says:

    I’m paler than a ghost, but I definitely do get guys emailing me purely on my size, which depending on the email can definitely freak me out.

    Like instead of just sayin that I’m sexy or beautiful, or whatever the word of the month is, I always get “complimented” on how much more appealing I am to them than slimmer girls.

    It’s just really uncomfortable hearing that these guys want to hook up with me because of my size. I guess girls with bigger breasts get it a lot too, but guys asking to skype with me so they can see my tummy? Creepy.

    • Abby Says:

      I am one of the big-breasted gals as are all of the women in my family. Everyone is pretty height/weight proportionate except me. I’m tiny. 5’0 and bone skinny. Always have been. My school nickname was “toothpick skin” until I grew breasts in 7th grade (think Bernadette from Big Bang Theory). In my online dating experience I was asked point blank on more than one first date if they were real. Sometimes it was assumed they were fake and I was asked why I would do that in the first place. I really can’t complain too much because I don’t think it compares to what other ladies have heard, but it blows regardless. My best friend since 6th grade is black and very tall, shes constantly approached by redneck jerks wanting her to be their first. We treat it like water off a ducks back, but it does get old!

      • Kyra Says:

        Ugh, people really don’t have manners. Our bodies are not novelties for you to get excited over!

      • BTownGirl Says:

        I can’t with the “are those real?” people. That goes for men and women alike, BTW. This goes quadruple for the people that go ahead and make a value judgment about my character/clear confidence problem based on the hypothetical implants that I don’t actually have. I show these people to their seats so they can go ahead and SIT. DOWN.

  9. BTownGirl Says:

    I’m 5′ 1″ and have definitely encountered guys that make gross comments about how much they love “little women” *pours bleach in ear canals* and whatever sexual gymnastics they think comes with the territory. It’s just a skeeve-fest. My best friend is black and definitely gets the My First Black Girl dudes whenever she does online dating. I can also attest to the fact that there are women out there that would giggle “Oooh! Lucky girl! Big dick central!” when they met my black ex-boyfriend. I can’t believe that we’re still at a point where people don’t know this is offensive.

  10. Camie Says:

    I’m a black woman who has only dated white guys. You can spot the “experimenters” a million miles away thankfully. There are just SO MANY OF THEM, and they approach you as if they are really an option for you lol! I just don’t speak to them.

    My experience has been that white men who are interested in me go out of their way to show that they aren’t interested in that way, and I’ve always felt like I’ve had a lot of romance because of it :)

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      Not that I doubt you, I just wonder how bad it gets.

      I was talking to a very nice black woman at a dual birthday party for my brother and his AA friend, and was a bit interested in her because she seemed in my age range and thoughtful. My lame excuse for not pursuing her was that she was there as a sort-of date for same said friend, who was totally dragging his heels and leaving her all by herself …

      Anyway, later I found myself painfully wondering if she thought I didn’t ask for her number because she was black. She just might have. God that sucks.

      • Camie Says:

        She probably didn’t assume it was because she was black. I know I don’t think about men who didn’t ask me out that much lol. If you are still interested in her and run into her again I would say go for it. She is black everyday, and she was just a girl at a party hoping someone would be interested in her. You shouldn’t feel bad.

        To me as a black woman it’s more about weeding out the guys who approach in a disrespectful way, the ones who don’t want people to know about you, and most commonly, men already IN relationships. It’s VERY easy to spot, and so it’s not something you have to waste a lot of time on.

        • Joey Giraud Says:

          Yeah, not that I’m so wonderful. She seemed a bit bummed out, most likely because she came to this party for a guy she wanted to get to know better ( the mutual friend, ) and he pretty much ignored her.

  11. LL Says:

    To the original writer, I can’t help but think that maybe the problem is that you ARE new to sex with women, and if it’s just FWB, why wouldn’t you want it with someone who really knows what they’re doing? It’s entirely possible I’m wrong, but it might just be…that.

  12. Robyn Says:

    Oh my… this reminds me of the time way back when, when I was a very young 20-something year old in Paris for the first time, all by myself, and had a very cute & studly (but not very worldly) French guy try to pick me up while I was sitting on a bench, eating my lunch in one of the parks.
    We managed to converse OK between my broken French & his broken English, but I had to restrain myself from laughing out loud at one point. He asked me where I was from, and when I told him “Africa” (which was true, I am from South Africa), he replied with a very puzzled look on his face “But you’re white…” (i.e. He thought that all people from Africa had to be black…).
    I wasn’t offended by his comment at the time. Back then SA was considered persona-non-grata by many other countries around the world, so many people were genuinely ignorant about SA.
    Different story if the same comment were made today, 25 years later, though.

  13. Guest Says:

    Not having come out yet, likely because of genuine confusion and/or justified fears, is totally different from having fetishes or even being experimental. Almost every LGBT person has had a coming-out experience and it is a unique experience for every individual. Of course, nobody is required to stick around while another person is navigating any kind of identity confusion… but I don’t think one should be offended by the process, either. The commentariat’s and Moxie’s examples of objectification are completely irrelevant to the OP’s not-out status.

    • fuzzilla Says:

      Maybe the objectification angle came from the letter writer only talking about sex with this person and not how funny and smart she is, how great they get along…then again, the LW seemed to only be after an FWB situation, in which case the hearts ‘n flowers stuff isn’t so relevant, but you still need to be able to communicate and treat the person well.

    • D. Says:

      It doesn’t necessarily sound like anyone’s taking offense. More like just not wanting to deal with the experience. Some people may not want to date someone who’s going through an experience that they’ve already gone through years ago. Not that they begrudge them the experience itself (especially if it’s something most people go through), but more that they’re just…past it, and aren’t looking to have their romantic/sexual relationship take on aspects of mentor/mentee or whathaveyou.

  14. FiguringItAllOut Says:

    Hi, I’m the OP. Thanks so much for all the advice. Just to clarify a few things that were brought up in comments:

    This girl and I were primarily in a FWB situation since she wasn’t really looking for a relationship period. I’m open to one, but since I haven’t found the right person (male or female) I figured that this was better than nothing for the meantime.

    We’ve hung out as friends as well and get along, and I’ve met several of her friends.

    From what I can understand, she isn’t that bothered by where I am in the coming out process since it’s not like we’re in a relationship per se and I’m not willing to show affection in public, etc. I can completely understand how that would be an issue with someone else, though, and it’s a concern.

    My guess is the biggest problem was disappointment by or frustration with my lack of experience.

    What’s frustrating — and what I’d love everyone’s thoughts on — is how to get over this Catch-22. I understand that people are reluctant to be with people with little experience, but how do I get past that?

    I appreciate the advice some people mentioned above with the fetishizing, but for my specific situation I’m not sure if it’s relevant. I like this girl and didn’t view her just as a bi experiment, though I can see that’s something some people would do.

    I saw her yesterday just for coffee and she brought up the idea of trying again. Her other concern was that I was developing feelings for her, and she wasn’t looking for more, and didn’t want me to get hurt.

    Thanks again!

    • Damein Says:

      One suggestion is to check out some of the lesbian online sites. Second choice is a swingers online site. Explain your situation and be clear what you are looking for. Then take your time waiting for the right reply.

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