So did you hear the latest about a presenter at a skeptics’ meeting getting propositioned? Elyse was handed a sexually explicit invitation by a couple of nice strangers to participate in group sex. Guys, don’t do that.
I have a simple suggestion. Think of sex as something two or more friends do; but also keep in mind that most friends don’t have sex together. When you’re at a meeting, plan to make friends promiscuously, but remember: the purpose first and foremost is friendship, not sex partners. And that friendship takes two people interacting, not one setting the expectations and telling the other what’s happening.
Maybe you make friends really quickly, and one evening of conversation is enough to reach mutual agreement and mutual attraction that leads to sex; that’s fine. But you know, playing pick-up artist is not how you become friends. Handing someone a card does not make you friends. Reading someone’s blog does not make you friends. Hearing someone speak at a meeting does not make you friends. Becoming friends takes a lot of work and communication. If you try to take a shortcut past the “making friends” part, don’t be surprised if you find yourself reported for harassment, or your activities outed and shamed on a popular blog.
The first simple guideline is: make sure you’re friends before crossing any borders.
The second simple guideline is, again: you don’t have sex with most of your friends. Sex is not a necessary side effect of friendship.
Be aware of that, and most of these problems will disappear, and everyone will be able to relax around each other a lot more.