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I’m Terrified of Rejection. How Do I Flirt With Women Without Pressuring Them?

And all your other most pressing questions for adult film legend Tasha Reign

Every day, porn star and University of Southern California journalism grad student Tasha Reign wakes up to a curious string of emails from her fans, a devoted group of men and women she lovingly refers to as “Reigndeer.” Said Reigndeer ask her questions — so many questions — about her perspectives on sex, love, relationships and life itself, and as someone who’s had more firsthand experience in these areas than four average adult women combined, she’s become uniquely up to the task of answering them. Every Friday then, Tasha will select a few of these questions and grace us with her insight, advice and expert wisdom in the hopes that she can help you fuck long and prosper, too.

This guy and I really like each other, but he just got out of a four-year relationship, literally last week. He insists he’s ready to start seeing me, but I’m kinda hesitant. I don’t want to be a rebound for this dude, and I feel like people need time to process. What do you think? How long are you supposed to wait after breaking up with someone to get into a new relationship?
I’m going to butcher this, but I’m pretty sure there’s an old saying that goes something like this: “You need half the time you were in the relationship to be single before you move on to the next relationship.”

Yeah, well, that’s bullshit. I think you need whatever amount of time is appropriate for you. It’s possible you were already checked out of the relationship long before y’all broke up, in which case you might not need any recovery time at all. On the other hand, maybe you need years of healing from the loss of your long-term relationship. Every relationship and breakup is different, and how long you need to recover before you start the cycle over again is dependent on who you are, how attached you were to your ex and the factors surrounding your relationship and eventual breakup.

Because of that, I’d encourage you to move away from thinking there’s some quantifiable amount of time to shoot for here. Rather, I’d go off of feeling. When you’re with him, does he feel present? Is he considerate of your needs? Is he emotionally available? Or is he distant, always talking about his ex and not meeting your needs?

In my experience, I’ve always needed time to process, move on and work on myself. The last time period between my ex and my current man was over a year, and I wasn’t even with that ex for a year. I’m a slow healer, and I’ve been through so many breakups at this point that I know better than to jump into something new just because it’s there and feels good. I find I’m a more responsible and present partner when I’ve processed an ex fully, and I could never get into a new relationship a week after a breakup, even if the breakup was relatively amicable. That’s just me, though. Your guy might be totally different.

Four years is a pretty significant chunk of time to be in a relationship with someone, so I’d assume this person needs at least a little time to move on before committing himself to a new thing with you. Go slowly and give him plenty of space, and know that as the person he’s transitioning to, he might consciously or unconsciously ask you to play the role of emotional sponge. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — I think overcoming a loss or an obstacle together can be bonding — but just know he might have some baggage he needs help unpacking.

Not that that’s your sworn duty, though. As a person who he’s not actually dating yet, it’s hardly your job to be his therapist or to provide emotional support for him through this transition period. Your needs are equally as important, so don’t give him a hall pass for being a dick or let him walk all over you just because he’s “going through some shit,” which I’m guessing since it’s only been a week since his breakup, is a distinct possibility.

If you want to move forward with him in his current state, make sure to lay down crystal-clear boundaries about what you are and aren’t available for during the early stages of your relationship. Tell him straight-up what it is you want from your relationship right off the bat and then see if he’s as ready for you as he says he is. This involves some self-reflection on your part, so make sure you’re in touch with what’s best for you and what your needs are before you ask him to take on something he might not be ready for.

All that said, he might actually indeed be ready. He knows better than anyone whether it’s time for him to get wifed up again, so if he’s down to give it a shot, why not try it? It may feel a little vulnerable for both of you, but that’s okay! After all, new relationships are always a little wobbly, and vulnerability is incredibly important to being human. It can change the way you live your life. I’ve said this before, but please check out any book or video by Brené Brown. She’s been so inspiring for me in addressing the way that I date and helping me embrace the vulnerability that comes with it.

Long story short: Don’t worry too much about whether or not he’s ready unless he’s giving you obvious signs that he’s not. If anything, embrace the scary, wonderful parts of this new relationship. Whatever the outcome, you’re sure to learn something from it.

I’m a cis guy, and I really want to put myself out there more when it comes to meeting women, but I’m so afraid of rejection and seeming creepy to girls that I totally shut down. How do I talk to women without making them feel put off or pressured?
So many men feel this way. Rejection is scary, and the last thing most humans want to do is make someone we’re interested in feel pressured into talking with us.

I can’t speak for all of womankind here, but I will say that, on the whole, most of us don’t mind polite interaction with men such as yourself. Kind, friendly, respectful guys are welcome to try their luck with us, and while I can’t promise it’ll lead anywhere, you’d be surprised how many women would be flattered if you said hello or smiled at them.

The key to not being creepy is to go about it without entitlement or expectations. Try to look at “talking to women” as just that — it’s a conversation, not a conquest.

As opposed to believing there’s some formulaic script or method women like to be approached with (there’s not), try striking up conversations naturally, seeing if you even like talking to the lady in question and sussing her out as a human and a potential friend or useful contact.

Viewing the women you talk to as people you’d genuinely like to know can help you calm down and start acting more like yourself. The stakes are lower that way, and it’s harder to be a creep when you’re actually interested in who someone is, regardless of the outcome of your interaction. It’s also harder to get rejected when you’re just two people shooting the shit with no particular expectation about where that’ll go. That doesn’t mean you can’t also want to fuck their brains out, but know that that part will be a lot better if you establish some degree of interest in who each other are (regardless of how fleeting or casual).

And if it doesn’t work out fuck-wise? At least you made a friend or a contact of some sort. At the very least, you got over your fears and talked to someone in a respectful way, which, as a woman who lots of men try to talk to, is really rare and refreshing.

There are also a few creepiness-killing, basic social skills I recommend adopting before you start flirting with or attempting to date anybody. Paying attention to her body language is a big one. When you make eye contact with her, does she hold it, or does she look away? Is she looking somewhere else entirely? Did she smile back? Does her body language say, “Talk to me?” I don’t mean her body; I mean her body language. Notice where she’s leaning and what she’s turning toward; what she’s looking at; what her expression says. If I want a man to talk to me, I will smile, make eye contact, maybe even stay near to them in hopes for an interaction.

At the same time, watch your own body language. If you stand at an acceptable distance from them when speaking, that helps a lot. If you’re so close that she’s cowering from you, leaning backward or her eyes are frantically darting around as she looks for an escape route, that’s creepy shit. That would be a good time to take a step back. Don’t touch her if you don’t know her, either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had someone touch me without asking, in a “friendly” way, on my shoulder or waist and felt so grossed out.

Conversation-wise, sounding creepy is avoidable if you don’t comment on their appearance out of the blue. “I like your shoes” or “Are those your real eyes?” aren’t conversation-starters, they’re inane observations that lead to a conversational dead-end.

Very rarely have I ever initiated a date, so I can only imagine the tremendous pressure men are under. This is why I love dating apps. It’s easier than ever to match with people who are already interested in you. Bumble might be a good idea for you because the woman has to initiate contact first.

Personally, I’m kind of like real-life Bumble: When I like a man, I’ll let him know. There are also a lot of other women like me who will make it obvious that they want to talk to you, but until you feel comfortable having expectation-free, casual conversations with them, apps are a great place to practice and get in the headspace that you can do this.

As for rejection? That just comes with the territory. Everything in life worth having is full of rejection, and everyone experiences it in some way. I’m rejected at work all of the time. Dating used to be a rejection game for me too, before I met my current boyfriend. The bottom line: Resilience is necessary for success in any area of life, so lean in to it.

Do you ever meet with fans? I want to fuck you. How much do you cost?
Sigh. This question. It’s the most common one I get, and I receive emails asking about it every single day of my life. And while the details differ person-to-person, the motivation behind the ask is always the same: People want to know if I’m for hire.

I get it. People go online, and they become big fans of certain adult models. They watch all their stories on social media, like all their posts, and lucky for them, if these models are anything like me, there are treasure troves of their nudes and porn online for anyone to jerk off to. This makes some people feel very close to the object of their desire. It feels intimate to get off to them time after time. And because no one ever taught them media literacy — or anything about how to navigate sex work and sex workers in general — they don’t understand that you can’t just ask for sex from a sex worker. Nor do they understand that there are many kinds of sex work, or that not all sex workers have sex. Particularly difficult for them to process is that a particular sex worker wouldn’t be for available for hire at any given time. Isn’t sex for money her job? As the person willing to pay for them to do their work, aren’t they entitled to their services?

Let me set the record straight: No one is entitled to a sex worker’s services, ever. Time with a sex worker can’t be booked like a haircut or tattoo appointment. For the most part, sex workers are extremely selective, especially since it’s highly criminalized and very dangerous to do in the current climate. Some sex workers have sex with everyday people like the people who email me daily to see if I’m for sale. I do not. I’m not an escort. I do porn. Unless you’re a major studio with a director, a $45,000 camera, a makeup artist and legal team coming at me with non-disclosure agreements and contracts, you’re not booking me for anything.

So to me, it feels like sexual harassment when people ask over email to hire me or meet me in person. For the longest time, I could block it out of my mind, along with the negative comments, the unwanted dick pics, and of course, the dreaded sex proposition emails that reek of entitlement. But recently, that’s gotten harder. I can’t ignore how violating this feels to me anymore.

In the last few weeks, these virtual requests have made it more challenging for me to live my fullest life, mostly because they put me in a particularly fragile state that makes it harder to cope when these things happen to me in real life — and they do all the time.

I don’t mind being recognized on the street — in fact, I’m beyond proud of the art I’ve created online — but when a man corners me in public while I run errands, asking me my for my “rate,” as if I’ve consented to having sex with him in the first place, I feel disgusted, humiliated and sickened. It’s like I’m being sexually assaulted but can’t do anything about.

The support of my fans means everything to me, but it’s time I speak up about how much I need this culture of sending delusional emails to cease. If I wanted sex with you in person, I’d ask for it. As a culture, we need to stop assuming we’re entitled parts of the people who we consume. Artists and performers deserve respect, and I appreciate yours.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s column! Feel free to send me your sex, love and relationship questions at tashareign1@gmail.com!