Jump Offs: The Myths, The Realities

I cover a lot of different topics on this blog. But for the next few entries, I am going to be focusing on relationships, especially the more intimate and sexual aspect of relationships.

There is a lot of discord going on between men and women these days, and much of it is because of a lack of honesty — a lack of honesty with each other, and even worse, a lack of honesty with ourselves. I want to stimulate TRUTHFUL, open, mature discussion about these matters. I want to generate discussion that doesn’t seek to make one gender feel superior to the other. I want to generate discussion that isn’t focused on proving who is right and who is wrong, which is one of my pet peeves about these types of conversations — they are often divisive and more about finger pointing that helping us identify our issues and resolve them so we can treat each other better.

I want all of us to stop making ourselves feel better by looking down our noses at how other people behave in their personal relationships. But that’s not easy. We don’t like to face our own internal ugliness head on. It is much easier to observe others, criticize others, talk about what others have done that we never have done or would do, berate others for tolerating things we say we would never tolerate and so on. But more often than not, most of us have, in some form or fashion, have engaged in most of the behaviors we criticize others for. So it is my hope that those who read this won’t have the politically correct knee jerk response. That’s too easy. After you read what I have to say, Just think about it, ponder it, and don’t judge.

Having said all that…let’s begin!

The topic of today is “the jump off”. I want to get into so real talk about jump offs, the myths and realities of the jump off scenario, people’s attitudes about jump offs, and even jump off etiquette.

Now for some reason many people feel that being a jump off is demeaning, degrading, etc. Women and men speak in a condescending, even a disrespectful manner about this arrangement. But let us be honest and clear about exactly what a jump off is in an attempt to understand that negative attitude.

A jump off is situation in which one has a relationship that is solely sexual in nature. It is an entirely physical interaction. The exchange in and of itself doesn’t have to be cold and unfriendly, but it does have to have a certain amount to detachment to work. People should always be courteous, hospitable, and pleasant in these circumstances; what is absent in these scenarios is a connection between the two participants beyond the temporary merging of genitalia.

Now, I don’t know why this arrangement is met with such derision by so many. So often I hear women say with much scorn and disdain, “well, she’s just a jump off” or “I ain’t trying to be just a jump off”, or men will say “she ain’t nobody, she’s just a jump off”. Why the negativity people? Is it really necessary? If two consenting adults mutually agree to engage in such an arrangement and are honest with themselves and each other about it, what’s the harm? Why the attitude? Why is it so bad?
Why do men feel compelled to accompany the jump off arrangement with a level of contempt, though they still willingly participate in it? Why is that necessary? Do men find it impossible to respect a woman who enters into this situation; are they only capable of having jump offs that they don’t respect on some level? Why the verbal harshness in referring to them? Why is the jump off role in one’s life minimized and trivialized instead of being looked at objectively and honestly? And ladies, some of you seem to equate participation in this kind of thing as something unladylike, that its an indication that something is wrong with the woman that does this, that it means she has low self esteem and doesn’t want more for herself besides jump off status, because of course she MUST want more. Why can’t it be that the woman made a clear decision about what she wanted and is getting exactly that — no more, no less? And why does this mean the man is some kind of man-whore with no respect for women, or no ability to deal with a “real woman” in a “real relationship”? What if he really only wants the sex, and isn’t misleading, hurting, harming or disrespecting the woman? Why the snobbery when it comes to jump off scenarios, especially when a large majority of us, if you reach age 25 and are still single, have either had a jump off, been someone’s jump off, or both, at least once — whether you knew it or not or are willing to admit it or not?

Having said all this, I’ll let you in on an important truth. For the most part, jump offs are myths. They don’t genuinely exist to the extent that rumor would have you to believe they do. True, actual jump offs, where the two parties are just sexual and nothing else are rare. That level of detachment where one shares their body without sharing themselves isn’t easily accomplished by men or women. It is a genderless condition. Very few people can honestly manage it for any extended period of time, and there is a very simple reason why.

Human beings are wired to seek out connections to others. Now please read that correctly — that doesn’t mean they are always seeking romantic love. BUT being human is about the connections we make to other humans — our family, our friends, etc. Those connections are how we know we are alive, they validate our existence, they allow us to find meaning in the time we spend here on Earth. The inability to successfully make those connections is a sign of a greater psychological disorder that we don’t have time to get into here. Now we may get hurt in our relationships, or find ourselves in abusive circumstances that injure our spirits and souls in a way that make it hard for us to reach out to others. In some cases we are so damaged we actively avoid involvements with other people beyond the superficial and necessary. But no matter what we say or do, we still usually stumble upon someone who attracts us, who stimulates our interest, our curiosity, and we attempt to make a connection, even if the connection is just sexual. We may do it badly, awkwardly, or subconsciously. We may do it in a thousand tiny little ways that no one understands but us. But no matter how successful we are at it, we do find ourselves reaching out to connect when we come across people that ignite an undefinable spark in us in the hope of lighting up our cold dark lives, even if we fuck it up because of our own issues.

Because of that, jump offs work like this:

You and said person become sexually involved, and agree that will be the limit of your involvement. Cool. Jump off etiquette requires that you and this person have minimal contact that is not sexual. So you meet, perhaps politely converse while undressing, fuck, and part company.

Now if the sex is not particularly outstanding, it is possible that the jump off status can remain intact for a time. The lack of mind blowing sex makes it easy to keep the contact sporadic and inconsistent, two other key elements to a genuine jump off. A jump off is never someone you fuck regularly, consistently or frequently. As soon as a jump off consumes that much of your time, they are taking up space in your head as well, because if you fuck someone a lot, you think about fucking them a lot. Anyone who takes up that much space in your head isn’t a jump off anymore. They may be a lot less than a boyfriend or girlfriend, but the detachment that is part of being a jump off is gone.

But if the sex was just okay, its not going to hold your interest or attention for long. At some point, whether it takes days, weeks, months or years, you’ll find someone else you like fucking more, or someone else you just like (or someone else you came to like because of fucking them, which we’ll get into in a minute). No matter how it happens, waning interest will usually cause the jump off to die a quiet death.

Now let’s say you like the sex. Let’s even say you love it. The earth moved and the angels wept, etc. If that was the case, you are not going to be willing to make hooking up an occasional occurance. Something in you was touched; you have been moved. A connection was made somewhere inside you, even if it was made in your sex organs…those connections count too. So now you want to spend more time fucking this person. Spending more time with a person, even if its spent fucking, invariably leads to more opportunity to get to know a person. And getting to know a person can often lead to getting to like a person. Liking a person has a way of leading to finding ways to spend time with a person. And when that happens, its clearly no longer a jump off. Again, it may be less than a spouse, but its no longer a jump off.

The space between jump off and committed relationship is a huge one. It is the largest gray area in all of human existence, and truthfully, it is the area a lot of our personal relationships operate in. Many of us have that person we are intimate with, who has clearly stopped being jump off status a while ago, (even if this hasn’t been verbally acknowlewdged by either party), who has yet to fully, openly, and willingly shoulder all the burdens of a committed relationship. They might appear to in their actions at times, but the “out” is always there — the “out” being that the person never agreed to a change in their status, and you can’t change a person’s relationship status without their consent. That “out” is the single most frustrating thing about this vast gray area in which most relationships exist. So these gray area living/extended and remixed jump off situations become like giant relationship waiting rooms…the places where people pass the time hoping their conditions improve.

The other big myth surrounding the jump off scenario is that it can’t change. That isn’t true at all. In my experience and observation, a situation like this has just as much of a chance of surviving as any other kind of relationship. But if it is going to change into a more “official” relationship, one of the parties involved is going to have to request a change in relationship status. And making that kind of request is a huge risk; you must be prepared to forfeit everything you already have with this person. It is truly an “all or nothing” proposition. Because if the other party doesn’t agree to the status change, the relationship is over, or will be over soon. Why? Because one party has made it known they aren’t satisfied with the current state of affairs, and the other party isn’t going to wait for the dissatisfaction to make itself felt in other ways. Most people are cowards, and just ride along, sorta kinda mostly cool with how things are but still secretly hoping that one day they are offered all the keys to the kingdom.

My finals words on the topic are simple: never let anyone make you feel bad about FEELING something for someone else, even if it is the wrong person. As long as you have it in you to care about someone else, all you need to adjust is your selection process. That is a much easier task than the alternative; it is much harder to teach someone to feel once they have lost their ability to do it. And while jump offs may not really exist like you thought they did, what does exist is a world full of people looking for shelter from the unforgiving harsh world…people who want to care who have lost their way…people who carry heavy loads, manage deep searing pain and hide ugly scars the best way they know how. Sometime they may seek temporary shelter from their most personal storms in your most personal space if you allow it. They may decide to stay. They may not. But no matter what the case, don’t lose sight of who you are in the midst of it all. Because at the end of the day, you are the only you you’ve got.

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