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Sadie Asks … What Turns You Off?

Thursday, January 24, 2013 AT 07:01 PM

So, dear reader … what turns you off?

I am discovering that my own ON/OFF switch operates much differently than it once did. Nowadays it takes a little more to turn me on – more eye contact, more philosophical conversation, more authenticity, more everything actually…. but it takes much less to turn me off than it once did. Meaning my switch flips rather quickly these days. And it doesn’t just go OFF, finishing with a gracious “Thankyouverymuchforbeinghere” but instead it goes OFF, and then exits the building, announcing tersely,


The thing that turns me off the most is the expectation of sex.

I can be attracted, enchanted and/or crushing hard on someone I don’t know very well and if that person lets me know, overtly or subtly, that they have an expectation that I will get naked with them, an expectation that I will happily consent to shedding my regal robes, providing them with direct and ample access to my own personal crown jewels, an expectation that we will fuck, either straight away or in the future … I will freeze right the hell up. Yep, if they let me know that screwing me is their expectation I turn into a block of ice. You might as well wrap me in cling film and throw me in the walk-in.

Actually, that sounds like it could be fun.

Am I becoming less sexual in my older age? I don’t think so. I just want someone to be with me because they like me as a person, not simply because I might be decent in bed. Who doesn’t, right? It’s that whole I want to be loved for me, not my ability to make you come thing. Is this me growing up or is it me growing into myself? I think it might be both, and my body flipping switches is simply its newly natural response to … sexpectation. And it’s annoyed, I suppose, my body. Because with that expectation comes a sense of entitlement. And that? That is the turn off.

I used to wonder if the expectation of sex exists because of what I do. I am a sex writer and a producer of a sex storytelling show after all. I am all about sex, aren’t I? I recently tested this in conversations with a potential FWB I had met online (and yes, I get that it sounds like there is expectation in that sentence itself, but the thing is that I never expect anything to work out a certain way, I only lay the foundation for the possibility of it.)

Anyway …. I didn’t tell him anything about what I did. All he knew is that I was 44 years old and that I had a “progressive attitude” about sex. It wasn’t long until he was asking me to provide him with masturbatory material in the form of pics and texts and dialogue about what we might do together once we met on person. I had yet to actually meet him and therefore I wasn’t really a person to him yet. Perhaps I was just an ethereal vagina. Am I surprised by this? Of course not

But I was definitely turned off.


And I should be clear that I am not simply requiring this … respect. I am also reciprocating as well. I am all about taking it slow these days. I have certainly done plenty of objectifying of others in the past. The “he is hot and I want to fuck him … tonight” conversation is not one that is foreign to me, by any stretch. But what I am finding, I guess, is that I am just not in that space any longer. Being single has softened me a little bit I think. And I guess that is because I know now –perhaps because I was married for so long and learned what works and what doesn’t– exactly what I want in (and from) my next long or short term partner(s).

And really? I have had enough casual sex to last a lifetime.

I guess what I am saying is that if am going to get turned on, it will be for (and with) someone without expectations, entitlements, or the need for it to happen.

Because neediness? Yeah. Another big ‘ol turn off.

So, what turns you off?

18 Responses to “Sadie Asks … What Turns You Off?”

  1. Speaking personally, smoking turns me right the hell off. And, to borrow a quote from Spider Robinson, “anything that involves former food or former people”. Nooooooooothankyouverymuchgetthehellawayfromme.

    But yours is definitely understandable. Guys, however, are a lot less likely to have that problem. Most of us would be turned on if the woman we were with EXPECTED sex. :)

    You ladies really do have to put up with a hell of a lot, don’t you?

    — PB

    • Sadie says:

      Hi PB! So good to hear from you,

      What has been so interesting about this is that once upon a time that expectation actually turned me on, too. But not so much anymore.
      Smoking turns me on, as does the combination of beer and cigarette breath. Probably because it reminds me of being a teenager :) but it still really flips that switch to Yesssss, all these years later.


  2. Dan says:


    We are truly shaped by our life experience aren’t we?

    For me, Lack of Sense of Humor (yes, those people exist!!), Perspective (lack of), and bad breath turn me from “Hell YEAH, she is hot, intelligent and I’m excited to know more!” to “OHHELLNOPLEASEGOAWAYDOIKNOWANYONEHERETOWALKOVERTOANDTALKTOINSTEADOFTHISPERSON”

    Seriously, if you can’t laugh at a joke, story or funny life event, have the perspective to know that it is not all about you and your preconceived notions about life, and for God’s sake I know you are hot but I can still smell the lunch you had hours ago, and all I want to do is give you a breathmint and walk away!


  3. singleexpat says:

    Agreed that the expectation of sex is a huge turnoff. It’s not a business transaction (unless of course, you know, it is) and nothing should be assumed, especially when you don’t have an established history together. I think where you and I differ is on the issue of objectification. You want to be loved for you, and not for your ability to make someone come. Perhaps there’s an air of sexuality around you that overshadows your other qualities: qualities you now feel are unappreciated by comparison. I have the opposite problem: women seem to look at me as a great friend or potential boyfriend, but never as a raw, sexual person that they can really let loose with. I’m tired of being seen as a nice guy or a good catch: I want to be the dangerous guy that a woman has amazing sex with and only calls when she’s a little drunk. I would LOVE to be objectified, because it so rarely happens. But if I was that dangerous guy, I’d probably want a sweet girlfriend who loves me for my deep inner qualities. Maybe that’s just human nature.

    But back to your original question of turnoffs:
    -Unrealistic expectations (“do you think we’re soulmates?”)
    -Lack of confidence (I think you’re sexy, so please pretend to think the same about yourself).
    -Bad smells
    -Any bodily substance that isn’t conventionally involved in sex
    …that’s about it. I think I’m pretty good with everything else.

  4. anon says:

    We’re in it together – you have to want it (whatever that might be) as much as I do (or at least in the same ballpark), or forget about it. its great to have your boundaries pushed by a lover, and to be able to give that push to someone else, but if their heart isnt in something, its obvious, and thats the biggest turn off of all for me.

  5. Mike says:

    I am still stuck on “ethereal vagina(s).” Thank you for that. (And that apparently is not one of my turn offs.)

    I enjoyed the piece up to there, though. Hopefully I’ll finish the rest when these ethereal images get sorted out.

  6. Jill says:

    There are several things that turn me off… The expectation or pressure to have sex is probably number one. Drunkeness, over inflated ego, bad hygeine… Definitely when a person is rude or shallow, I then want nothing to do with them.

  7. Bobby Love says:

    Bad breath, BO, cigarettes. Oily unbrushed hair.

    Way too much detail about personal stuff way too soon – such as “He did this and said that and she owes me yada yada because this one time…”

    Too much talk, not much listen.

    Men (and women) with facial scruff and baggy wrinkled dirty clothes.

    Name calling, bullying, criticism, lack of compassion.
    Closed minds, strict “religious” opinions.

  8. Bobby Love says:

    Bad breath, BO, cigarettes. Oily unbrushed hair.

    Way too much detail about personal stuff way too soon – such as “He did this and said that and she owes me yada yada because this one time…”

    Too much talk, not much listen.

    Men (and women) with facial scruff and baggy wrinkled dirty clothes.

    Name calling, bullying, criticism, lack of compassion.
    Closed minds, strict “religious” opinions.

    Dubstep. :)

  9. Jules says:

    SPIT! I can not stand having spit used as lube. Do not spit on crotch! I would not want you to spit on me anywhere else any other time! Either take the time to get me wet damnit or if I am fucked dry then grab the lube (there are like 3 bottles within arms reach!) but do not SPIT on me. ack!!!!

    Also being rushed into cumming. I understand that it might be taking longer than you wanted (but that ‘s what happens when you rush through the prelims! ) While I literally can make myself cum in like 4 minutes during sex it is not enjoyable for me and I am only doing it for you at that point. There is a huge difference between me cilmaxing after 4 minutes or 14 or 34 (get the towels out for that !) Trust me, it’s worth you taking your time.

    and smoke and bad smells (please do not smell like ass, it’s not ok) and lack of confidence in your bod and over confidence in your ability …..

    This was kind of fun! thanks

  10. sue says:

    As a divorced woman in my 40’s I have to agree that my ON/OFF switch is functioning completely different than in the past. Mainly because I’m now taking the time to explore what I want, my desires, & my needs as a woman. Yes, a big turn OFF is an eager & expecting partner. And Sadie I don’t think its your career. As Dan said “we are truly shaped by our life experiences”. I am one who doesn’t talk about sex very often because of the belief system I was raised in. However, as a divorced woman back in the dating world I can tell you that … that has been my experience. They “expect” it. The quest to conquer & aquire the crown jewles is just bred in the male physc. I believe. Another BIG turn OFF for me is a partner who only take care of them self. By either lack of experience or lack of character. At this point in my life the BIG turn ON for me would be to have my partner be my best friend so that we could explore the sensual, romantic, fun, pleasuring fascets of one another on all levels. Wishful thinking?

  11. Melissa says:

    Lack of intelligence is a turn off for me, or thinking that I lack intelligence. I am a smart capable woman I can hold my end of a conversation if he can’t I’m moving on. I can get past most anything but a low Intelligence.

  12. Sam Weston says:

    What turns me off is women who curse and smoke. These two items are such a bad turnoff for me that I won’t even give them a chance if either one happen first or at all. Trust me ladies and gents, there is NOTHING classy about a woman who throws F-Bombs in a conversation and then wants you to respect her for who she is.

  13. Do says:

    Treating it like an obligation/chore is my biggest turn off.

  14. Z says:

    I’ve always objectified men and have rarely minded being objectified by them. I wonder if that will happen as I get older (I’m in my 30s)…

    turnoffs are corny opening lines, fratboyish appearance/behavior and being drunk. I don’t fuck drunk men. few years ago I also decided not to fuck republicans and very religious men too – i can’t support their hypocrisy, lol… other than that, if they’re hot and I’m horny, I will happily take them home with me.. :)
    *I’m only talking about casual sex, of course.

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