Saying ‘no’ is not always easy

Image by the fabulous Stuart F Taylor

‘No’ is a complete sentence, sure. But if you get partway to shagging someone, saying ‘no’ can be genuinely difficult, especially if you want to give them an explanation for why you’ve changed your mind. I’m going to tell you about one of the most awkward ‘no’s I’ve ever said. It’s not the most awkward ‘no’, just one of them. It starts on the south bank of the Thames, around autumn 2020.

It’s hard for me to judge the tone of this piece, and editing it proved tricky. But just so you know up front: this story has a happy ending.

This guy and I, we’ve been chatting a bit. First by email, then Skype. We had a really fun Skype ‘date’ which lasted two and a half hours or so. At least three wee breaks. Repeated trips to refill glasses with vodka lemonade. He had his camera on and I – being GOTN – did not. But he didn’t seem to mind the Big Brother aspect of our audiovisual imbalance. I sat with my headphones on chatting into the mic I use for audio porn, and he sat in front of his camera letting me see his grinning face while we talked through some of our best and worst moments. Dates that ended in glory, adventures that ended in shame, lots of things in between with a brief detour via Magic the Gathering. He was too young for me, which I found uncomfortable, but he was unapologetically nerdy, which I liked a lot.

So we agreed to meet for a date in person.

The in-person date started off terribly, as I arrived an hour early and then texted him asking where he was. Like a fucking nob. He panic-replied ‘I thought we were meeting at 7, not 6? I’m just having a shower, I’ll be with you soon’, refraining from adding ‘you fucking nob’ because he’s a polite young man.

Then we sat on the south bank of the Thames (outdoors, thanks Covid) and drank spirits I’d decanted from my rapidly-dwindling booze cabinet (thanks, post-break-up poverty), chatted shit and caught up and watched the world go by.

So far, so good, so I said ‘let’s go back to yours.’

Back at his

Have I mentioned he was young? I’ve known straight men my age who’d brag about this sort of age gap, but it itched in my brain and made me uncomfortable. I was thirty-six at the time, and he would have been about twenty eight. This point becomes relevant in a second, so I just want to hammer it fully home: he was younger than me, and so no matter how fun our chat, there would always be something scratching at the back of my mind telling me ‘you have power here, be careful.’ On top of that, he knew me through the blog. I didn’t just have power by virtue of being older, wiser, and more experienced in casual fucking, I also had power because he read and liked GOTN. And once guys decide they like ‘Girl on the Net’, they’re infinitely less likely to say ‘no’ to real-world-me in any sexy situation that arises.

So: warning signs hung, alarm bells turned on, we walked the twenty minutes or so back to his flat, wrestled my bike in the door, and then… well, then I had to hold back a gasp of ‘oh fuck’.

His flat was the bedroom of a teenage boy. There was literally one place to sit (a fancy-ass gaming chair in front of a serious PC setup: nerd, remember?). There was a sofa too, but the sofa was so covered in clothes that I’d have had to dump them onto the floor (where more clothes formed a sort of t-shirt-fabric rug) in order to sit down. Every available surface was covered in toys, more clothes, and other random ephemera. When I went to the loo, every single inch of the rim around the bath was crammed with bottles of shower gel, shampoo, shaving cream, and whatever else it is that men in their twenties use to make themselves pretty for dates.

He offered me a drink, I said yes (Oh God yes I definitely need a drink). He poured me one and I asked why he wasn’t drinking himself. He sheepishly told me that he only owned one glass. 

See why his age is relevant? I felt quite uncomfortable with the age gap already, and the state of his flat compounded it by implying that he wasn’t just young, he was very much Not A Grown Up. The only part of his flat that looked reasonably put-together was his bed, on which there were fresh sheets and a clean duvet cover: he may have been young, but he was no fool.

Anyway. I clutched the one glass he owned, took a few big gulps, did some basic date admin (texting his address and a picture of his driving license to my ‘please seek vengeance upon me if I get murdered when I’m casually shagging’ WhatsApp group), then settled in to chill.

We had a nice time. It was fun. He seemed sweet and interesting, if a little starstruck by the GOTN thing. He (sitting on the sofa atop a pile of clothes) was attractive in that warm, compelling way that nerds embody when they’re entirely unashamed of their geekery: he showed me his Gundam figurines, and that is not a euphemism.

Saying ‘no’

I wasn’t entirely sure I could go through with fucking him, but I knew that he wanted to fuck. The yeah-I-want-an-ice-cream delight of his eagerness to shag was compelling, but the knowledge that I could probably have called him a prick and he’d still have fucked me anyway gave me pause. I fancied him, and he fancied me, but I couldn’t fathom where his ‘no’ line might be. And finding a ‘no’ is important to real-life me, especially when I’m with someone who’s already keen to fuck GOTN.

I told him ‘this feels a bit wrong, I’m not sure,’ and we went back-and-forth on it a bit. Eventually he suggested making out and I thought ‘yeah, fuck it, why not?’ so we lay down on the bed and made out.

It was lovely. But something felt wrong.

He put his hand up my jumper, which was hot. But something felt really wrong.

I grabbed his cock through the fabric of his boxers and holy shit it was lovely but… something still felt really fucking wrong.

On paper, we were having a good time, but in practice every atom of my being was yelling ‘NOPE.’ He was eagerly and enthusiastically consenting and yet the power I held over him coupled with his apparent determination to fuck me… all that elevated the situation from ‘playful’ to ‘high-stakes.’ The tone of it chafed and itched and compelled me to stop. When I asked to pause, he seemed disappointed. We played for a little while with him nudging me and saying ‘I really want to fuck you,’ (not applying pressure, just making his consent very clear) and me giving him more kisses and gripping his rock-solid dick again, just to remind myself what I’d be giving up if I obeyed the signals my body and brain were giving me.

But I did it, in the end. Eventually. I said ‘no.’

I said more than ‘no’, in fact, I said ‘this just feels wrong, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Something about the tone of this just feels off.’ I told him it wasn’t that I didn’t fancy him. I didn’t want him to leave this encounter feeling like I was rejecting him as a person, because I wasn’t. I was rejecting this situation. This weird, awkward, discordant sensation that made me feel like we were not meeting as equals. I held so much power that my cunt could not get wet for it. He was so eager to fuck GOTN no matter what that my cunt could not get wet for it.

So I cycled home at 1 in the morning, getting lost multiple times before I found the route back, then went to bed kicking myself for the fact that my stupid body wouldn’t let me shag an eager guy with a fabulous cock just because… because why? Because he was too much of a GOTN fanboy? Because he was the wrong side of thirty? Because he only owned one glass?

Take it or leave it

As I said at the start, this story has a happy ending. In the moment when he realised that my ‘no’ was final, he very graciously made a plaintive moan of sadness, so he could leave me in full knowledge that he totally would have if I’d wanted to, but backed off and said he understood. We didn’t fuck that night, but the fact that I left with a parcel of guilt that I’d led him on, combined with a curious thirst for a guy so nerdy and chill about things changed the power balance slightly. He was no longer this young starry-eyed GOTN fanboy who’d have fucked me no matter what: he was a dude who had tempted me with fun but respected my ‘no’, and hadn’t been crushed by the weight of it. He wanted to shag me, but he could take it or leave it. He might have been sad that he didn’t get his dick in this particular woman, but there were plenty more sluts in the sea.

Knowing that, my body relaxed a bit. I wasn’t quite as all-powerful as I’d felt at that first meeting, and my memory of the playful way we’d made out gave me reason to wish we’d done that a little bit more. It was no longer a question of ‘him wanting to fuck me, and me having the power to say yes or no to it’, the balance had changed so that now I was thinking about sex, and he’d be the gatekeeper of whether or not I got it.

So later, I texted him asking if he could please bring me tequila and his dick. Later still, I asked if I might be allowed to harvest all his spunk at the end of No Nut November. And then after that, we managed an excellent transition from hanging out to making out, and a fun bank holiday shag in which I stripped him to his very soul towards the end of a blow job. And recently, as we sat by a river getting lightly stoned in the sunshine and planning a trip to a strip club, he told me about that evening from his perspective:

“I was so nervous that first time we met. Having read your blog for years and then actually on the way to see you… I was terrified. It’s like having a massive wank about one of your hot teachers, then you go into school and actually see her the next morning. Then in class she leans a bit close…”

Fucking out of politeness

In my twenties, I had quite a lot of sex out of politeness, or awkwardness. I gave a fair few yeses that weren’t as eager as they could have been – ones that fell more into the ‘fuck it, might as well’ than the ‘fuck me, oh God please’ category. The shags you have because someone’s come all this way and you don’t want them to ride the night bus home empty handed. Or the ones you were keen for when you invited them back but went off as the mood died on the long tube journey home. The sex you leapt into because you’d already texted their driver’s license to your ‘hope I don’t get murdered’ WhatsApp group, so the sunk costs fallacy dictated that you might as well at least suck a dick.

The shags you have not because you want to, but because it’d feel awkward not to.

I don’t regret any of those awkward fucks, for what it’s worth: all of them have made me who I am, and some of them turned out to be spectacular. More importantly, even the awkward ones helped to nudge me towards a genuine understanding that ‘no’ is extremely valuable. Not necessarily because I respect myself, but because I respect the men I might (or might choose not to) fuck. If I genuinely like a guy, I don’t want to turn him into an awkward one-night-stand story or a horrible memory to block out later down the line.

In my thirties I find I’m saying a lot more ‘no’. Some ‘no’s are easy, some are hard. Some are well received, others hurt quite badly. But I try to do it anyway, even if – like on that night in 2020 – I am a flailing dickhead who cannot articulate why. I understand more fully now why I couldn’t bring myself to fuck him on that night, but at the time I couldn’t do more than give vague platitudes and apologies. Everyone knows that ‘no is a complete sentence’, but in the moment it’s hard to say a simple ‘no’ without explanation – when a guy’s looking at you with puppydog eyes and a bundle of his own insecurities, and you can’t put your finger on anything specific he’s done wrong.

For those of you who follow what I’ll loosely call the ‘plot’ of this blog, the guy in this piece is my toyboy. We had a weird start, but we’re good mates now and we have a lot of fun (and for the record, because he’ll be so annoyed if I don’t add this: he lives somewhere else now, and he keeps his house pristine and clean and lovely, with plenty of glasses). And although I still cringe and feel shitty about the awkward way I said that initial ‘no’, I don’t think we’d be hanging out today if I hadn’t bit the bullet and said it. There’s an alternative universe in which I said ‘yes’ back in autumn of 2020, then we went ahead with some awkward sex and never saw each other again.

It’s hard to do and I’m terrible at doing it, but these days I’ll always try to say ‘no’ rather than give a half-hearted ‘yes’. Even when I can’t explain why.






  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    I can understand this. I’m the same generation as you, and doing it with a desperate 28-year-old might feel a bit weird (even if they actually had more sexual experience), in a way that someone the same number of years in the other direction wouldn’t…

    Glad it all worked out nicely in the end though! Sounds like just the right guy at the wrong time.

  • I completely understand what you mean about the balance of power throwing off the vibe. There’s something about flirting with someone who seems like a complete innocent compared to my extensive sexual history (on and off camera) where it feels wrong to take it further because they seem starstruck rather than truly into me.

    There’s been a few guys that I’ve gone ahead and had sex with, and then had to deal with not quite guilt but definitely unease afterwards. Most of those encounters were before I started porn. They rarely got a second shot, and now I’m going to spend the night thinking about whether they recognize me in the videos they might watch!

    • Girl on the net says:

      “it feels wrong to take it further because they seem starstruck rather than truly into me.” YES! This is such a good way to put it. I always feel a combination of flattered and sad when this happens – if someone gets close enough to meet me in person and they do the starstruck thing, there’s that lovely feeling of recognising that someone likes my work (always an absolute joy) but at the same time a sense of being treated like a cartoon character rather than a real person. I suspect this is partly what magnifies the difficulty in saying no, because I realise I’m ‘acting up’ to what they expect and my brain’s going ‘well you’re this big internet slag, you should just suck a dick. Just do it, get over it: suck that dick.’

  • Aaron says:

    There’s lots of goodness to take from this story. But the thing that struck me was how so much pleasure, and even happiness, was unlocked (eventually!) by good communication. ‘Good’ as in rich, honest, and respectful.

    It’s almost as if ALL human rerlationships are improved with good communication – who knew??

    • Girl on the net says:

      Ahh thanks Aaron! And yes definitely! I think I find it way easier to do comms when it’s ‘here is a sexy thing I love/would like to do’ than just flat-out saying no. Even if someone is good at receiving a no, it’s trying to explain a ‘no’ that is often really tricky.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.