Pbrokeback boyslenty of people have focused on bringing “sexy” back. But, perhaps it’s time to dig a little deeper.

What about romance?

You know, that desire to be wined, dined, paid attention to, courted, wooed (I like that old-fashioned word). I hear from a lot of clients in their 20’s and early 30’s that they’re over quick hookups and fast sex. They’ve done it, had fun, but now they want more. They read about “old” ideas like “courtship” and find it appealing.

Perhaps the days of no impulse control are over. Is it time to try going slower? Could there be joy and bliss in slowly getting to know someone? No sex right away, but yes to kisses and stuff to lead up to it. It is amazing how many handsome young Gay/Bi/Trans men and women tell me that they don’t want to have sex on the first date. Perhaps it’s time to bring back romance.

If you’d like to experiment with this, here are some ideas:

Get clear on what you want and ask for it.   If you’re single, tell guys/girls you date that you want to take it slow. Notice their reaction. There is so much pressure on everyone these days to be “hot” and have “amazing, porn star sex” right away, so that you can “hook” someone with your fabulous talents in bed. Let’s shatter this illusion. Despite San Diego being one of the porn capitals of America (hello Sean Cody), please do not believe that everyone in San Diego lives a super sexualized life. You know, the porn dream/fantasies of sex with the mailman, sex with the next door neighbor, sex with the UPS guy…and all before lunchtime!

Most of us are searching for a combination of friendship, physical attraction and respect in a partner relationship. Great sex is great stuff, but it’s not the foundation for a long term connection. Sometimes we settle for sex, when we really want romance. In this Grindr/Scruff instant hook-up world, it may take longer to find a lover who shares your commitment to romance, courtship and wooing than someone who just wants sex, but once you do, it’s more likely that they’ll be a keeper.

Some clients – particularly younger men and women – have asked me: “What exactly is romance?” Author, Ellen Gilchrist talks about a woman who fell in love with a man because he bought her a clothes dryer and had it delivered to her house: the woman was struggling financially and had to take her clothes to a laundromat to dry them. Her lover saw a need and filled it. That’s romance! Talking about love is easy. Romantic actions – like Mr. Dryer Man’s – speak volumes.

Romance isn’t the same as being seduced into sex. It’s not about being tricked or used. It’s about being heard, seen and appreciated. Romance is about getting to know each other. Sex is about sexual release. The two overlap, but, unlike sexual hookups, romance involves the gradual buildup of sexual desire and interest. You might not like to hear this, but a certain amount of sexual frustration is good for you (I already hear moaning from the Internet sex addicts).

Have you noticed how empty you feel after instant sexual gratification? You had no time to develop interest in the person. There was no romance; you just hooked up, did it, and moved on. This quantity approach to love leaves you feeling empty. There’s something missing. Romance may seem hopelessly old-fashioned word, but what we’re really talking about here are satisfaction, depth and meaning. And who doesn’t want that?