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By B.E.

I spent part of last week in the Dominican Republic and met an older man who was dynamic and charming, sweet and very direct.

I have never been accused of being a wallflower, and have only been deemed a prude by those I have neglected to sleep with, so, it took me by surprise that someone saying what they wanted, in plain straightforward language, to sex with me, would not only make me blush, but it caught me completely off guard.

Although flattered, I decided to politely decline the offer. Luckily, this resulted in minimal friction and we went about our time together traversing the unknown city (at least to me) in good spirits. While dining one evening, watching the waves lap against the shore, we were discussing our non-physical partnership. It was here that this May to my December explained his theory on sex and how most of the sexual acts, in his humble opinion, start prior the proverbial bumping of uglies using such delicate language as “sex starts long before penetration” loudly and at the dinner table. My mother would have been aghast.

He went on to explain, as we feasted on mofongo and Presidente that we were in fact, having sex right there and had been the entire day. Of course, this made me pause. Here I was thinking I had spent the day sampling Dominican delicacies and using my limited Spanish vocabulary to communicate with strangers, where I had it seems, been getting down all day long. I felt violated and dirty. No wonder I was so exhausted.

His declaration led me to further ponder the validity of this sure to be seasoned love maker's theory. Clearly he had bedded many women in his 6 decades of existence and although the subject matter may be a bit crude, the way in which he characterized it seemed well thought out and downright logical. This left me asking, when does sex actually start?

Although it has taken me many years to realize and, in turn, admit this, I am a flirt. A good one. A seasoned one. I believe I turned pro quite some time ago, and although this means no shot at going for the gold in 2014, this does mean I have some experience in the field. As a consummate flirt, I am very aware of the palpable tension that develops various stages of a relationship, whether that is letting the man who makes my egg sandwiches every morning call me his novia, gracefully grazing a well placed arm while in an attempt to do more than procure a drink at the bar, or sharing text messages with an old friend that are just slightly suggestive. What I was not aware of was that, at least according to my Dominican Don Juan, this was sex. Perhaps these acts are just the earliest stages of foreplay, making me far sluttier than I had previously thought.

Now, I know that this is just a theory, but it seems like a damn good one. As I look back on the handful of year’s interaction I have had with men as a woman I see things slightly differently and some of the miscommunication has been illuminated. Perhaps if everyone thought of these seemingly benign interactions as sexual acts the genders would more easily understand one another. As for me, all I can say is I wish I had taken the time to more thoroughly enjoy all of my sex without penetration.

B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.

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