Q: My dilemma is that I still love my ex, who I dated for nine years. Recently, I dated someone else—it didn't work out. I'm now thinking of using the ex (we remain friends) as a booty call, which is a new concept for me. Or maybe it's time for my old-fashioned self to get more familiar with my body and try self-satisfaction? — Linda, Rhode Island
A: Ladies, let's talk about the booty call. The beauty of the booty call is its simplicity. You're in the mood for sex. You don't have a boyfriend at the moment. You know someone who doesn't have a girlfriend. You call him up. Wham, bam, thank you, Sam. Everybody's happy.
How does love factor into this, Linda? It doesn't! And yet, as women, we have trouble keeping love out of the bedroom. Love is like a puppy whimpering outside the door, waiting to be let in as soon as the sex is over. Love will ruin a booty call faster than you can say, "Where do you see this going?" It's a tragedy, really, the number of no-strings-attached booty calls that have been struck down in their prime by love.
"But we're just friends now!" I can hear Linda yelling all the way from Rhode Island. Yes, he's a friend you "still love," a friend you "dated for nine years." That's a lot of baggage to bring on a trip that normally doesn't require an overnight stay. In fact, of all the men in the world who would happily volunteer for this gig, the nine-year love of your life is the one I'd veto. I'd vote for the other guy, the one you barely mentioned, the "someone else" you dated who didn't work out. Mr. Someone Else might have been a booty call while your heart spent a tenth year in your nine-year relationship. That's another reason to move away from—rather than into the arms of—your ex: so when true love shows up, you'll be ready.
But for now, who's a woman to do? In my opinion, the perfect booty call is someone who's great but. You know, he's great but he's too young, too crazy, too negative, he's only in town a week.... That "but" is your answer when you start musing: "If the sex is good, and we like being together...why can't we marry, have kids, and live happily ever after?" That's the love talking, proving once again that a man will bring the condom, and a woman will bring the love. (Not to stereotype. Sometimes the woman provides the condom, too.)
I asked a single friend who's a lesbian her recipe for the ideal booty call. I assumed with two women in the mix, it must be nearly impossible to keep love out, but she surprised me. She said one of her regular booty calls is a man. Genius! You need something to be inappropriate about this person. Why not gender?
Okay, okay. Let's assume you'd like the guy to at least...be a guy. Another safeguard is to attempt casual sex only when you're not looking for more. Maybe you're getting over a divorce, swamped at work, fed up with dating, or busy raising kids. If you really don't have time, interest, or room for love (and he feels the same), you two could be very happy.
Otherwise, as you suspected, Linda, there is one person who can always satisfy your urges: Your Old-Fashioned Self. This is not a last resort; it's essential. It's like having your own car—you never have to rely on others to get you where you want to go.
If you need guidance or an upgrade, babeland.com has a simple, no-nonsense "How to Choose a Vibrator" page. And if you got embarrassed reading that just now (it's okay, I got embarrassed typing it), you owe it to yourself to peruse, choose, and fall in love (guilt-free!) with any product that tickles your fancy. There may be times in a girl's life when it's better to be boyless, but there's no need to be joyless. Or toyless.
Cindy Chupack is the author of The Between Boyfriends Book (St. Martin's Griffin).