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I used to write porn scripts. When I channeled my confident, female characters, I overcame my fear of rejection in dating.

a mans hands on a laptop
The author, not pictured, wrote porn scripts for an adult-film actor's company.Delmaine Donson/Getty Images
  • I landed a gig writing porn scripts, allowing me to create strong, confident female characters.

  • But I was too scared to approach men in real life because I feared rejection.

  • When I channeled my characters, I learned I can approach anyone because they can't take my power.

I juggled three boyfriends simultaneously when I was in middle school.

I asked them all out on RuneScape, a multiplayer online game.

One kept me company while I mined for spell-crafting runes; the second was a melee warrior, so we stealthily ganged up on other players in the wilderness; and the third gave me a lot of valuable free stuff.

My female avatar was audacious, funny, and as open as a 13-year-old boy could be. I complimented my boyfriends' avatars and made mine blow lots of kisses.

I've failed to channel that confidence in my dating life ever since.

Now, as an adult gay man, I can't get myself to hit on people in public because I'm too scared of rejection. The only times I've met romantic partners in real life is when they've approached me first. This self-imposed rule persisted until I found myself viewing the world through a woman's eyes once again — this time through writing porn scripts.

I landed a gig writing scripts for porn

The adult-film actor Hazel Grace, also the owner of InMelanin Productions, hired me in 2021 to write entertaining and spicy porn scripts. To break stereotypes and gender roles, she wasn't shy about letting me know when my characters and dialogue bordered on predictable.

Beyond flipping the script on a man lusting after a woman first for them to have sex, I aimed for new narratives. Why can't a wife be the one to sleep with her husband's secretary? Why can't a man be a housekeeper or a woman be the horny president?

I concocted plots with daring women who had the confidence and sex appeal of DC's Poison Ivy — except a kiss was the beginning of the sex scene instead of their partner's doom.

Meanwhile, I struggled to translate that confidence into my dating life

While I created confident, dominant characters in my scripts, I approached my dating life differently.

My friends and I loved going to bars to pick up men, but I was typically the wingman to their conquests because I couldn't face the possibility of rejection.

I used to think going home empty-handed was better than risking rejection. I often imagined making a fool of myself, trying to profess my attraction to someone. Why couldn't I lead with a compliment or a relevant observation and then pivot into an engaging conversation? I wish I knew.

More importantly, I worried about how they would respond because I thought of people's reactions to being approached in public as unpredictable and situational.

Writing porn scripts was like role-play for the kind of person I wanted to be — at least when it came to the art of flirtation.

When it came to porn scripts, I challenged myself. Men were shy; women had poker faces. There was more excitement when the conquest wasn't easy. Crafting this dynamic dialogue between fictitious strangers made me think about how to approach people in real life.

I faced my fear of rejection head-on

My job in writing porn scripts manifested as a master class in interacting with hot strangers.

I realized I wasn't a shy person at all; instead, I worried I'd lose some of my power if I confessed to being sexually interested in someone. But by channeling my characters, I realized that no one can take my power. I can approach someone and have an engaging conversation no matter what.

Once I focused on making conversation, my anxiety lessened; the worst that could happen was a polite — or boring — conversation.

The different dialogue variations in my scripts encouraged me to channel this boldness into my life. From that, I realized I didn't need to hit on people with my heart on my sleeve, especially considering many of the close friends I've met in public through unexpected casual encounters.

I eventually learned to dribble the ball into others' courts and offer them the chance to shoot it; that would make my 13-year-old self proud.

Read the original article on Business Insider