Ask Sex Coach Leigh: Ghosting

Question: I’m a straight guy who frequently matches with girls on kink and vanilla dating apps. Mid-conversation, or even after exchanging some pretty elicit texts, she’ll ghost. I’ve even had girls I’ve slept with text me back after a number of messages with no response, something along the lines of “Can’t you take a hint? I’m not interested.” It kinda turns on a dime. Is there something I can be doing better or is this just a “she doesn’t want to drink the tea anymore” situation?


Hi lovely! Oof – I think we can all agree that ghosting is the worst. For those of you not currently in the dating world, “ghosting” is the act of disappearing on someone without a trace. This can happen in the middle of a texting conversation, after a first date, or even after several encounters, sexual or otherwise. Ghosting is done without explanation, so while we may never know a person’s true intentions in these situations, there are a few common reasons why folks ghost, and I think most of them have to do with a fear of vulnerability.

Online dating is, like many things, both terrible and amazing. Lots of us don’t go to church or know our neighbors, and it’s usually undesirable (and often unethical) to date our co-workers. There are opportunities to meet potential partners through friends, or at bars, or all cute-like at the dog park, but for the majority of us, online dating is the easiest and most successful. It’s accessible to most, which is amazing. And it’s fairly anonymous, which is terrible.

Ghosting is what happens in lieu of telling the truth, and it happens a lot because telling the truth is scary – especially to folks we don’t know very well. When there’s a level of accountability (you met through a friend, for example), there’s an obligation to tell the truth, or at least a polite version of it. In the world of the internet, not so much. So what is the truth that these gals aren’t telling you?

It could be that they are no longer interested. It could be that their dad just died and they had a really complicated relationship with him and they don’t want to tell that to someone they met three days ago on Tinder. It could be that they thought they were interested, but then they met someone who they were more interested in, and they realized that maybe they weren’t actually that interested. It could be that they just had to get a bunch of repairs done on their car and now their bank account is really low and they’re too embarrassed to go on dates they can’t afford. It could be that the sex wasn’t all that good. It could be that the sex was great, but there was this moment right in the middle when you did that thing that reminded them of their creepy ex and even though there’s nothing you could have done to avoid it, they were just like, “nah.”

You see where I’m going here. Is there something you could be doing better? Maybe. Or maybe not. If you’re not being emotionally vulnerable and truth-telling with the folks you’re interacting with, you could try to be. Modeling the way you want to be treated can help you attract people who also want to be treated that way. What I promise I’m not saying is “the common denominator in all these ghosting situations is YOU.” This is a pet peeve of mine. Clients tell me about their bad relationships, about the terrible ways that people have treated them in the past, and then they say: “It must be my fault. I mean, the common denominator in all my relationships is me.” Sure, technically. But this sounds like something your shitty sitcom mom would say. I am not your shitty sitcom mom. I will say that the common denominator in all your relationships is your choices. And if your choices are not serving you, then by all means, make different choices. If you recognize patterns in the people you date that aren’t working for you, spend some time investigating where those patterns came from (like with a sex coach!). Identify the traits that you are looking for in a sexting buddy, a casual fling, or a long-term partner. Don’t settle for ambiguity, if ambiguity is not what you want.

Go forth and be vulnerable. Be the tea you want to drink in the world.

If you have a sex or relationship question you would like me to answer (anonymously), please contact me.