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Why is the dating/shidduch world so difficult to navigate?

I’m a MO single woman in my early 20s in the tri-state area. I’m a little more open-minded than most, but still love Hashem, learning Torah, Shabbat, Kosher, etc. It really means a lot to me!

I really try to keep halacha to the best of my ability, but we’re all human. It is impossible for someone to keep 100% of halacha every single second. I also strongly believe in understanding your physical compatibility with someone before marriage. I’m also a touchy feely person, enjoy physical connection, and I’ve accepted this flaw in myself. How is it natural to go from 0-100 on the wedding night? I just think you can’t… But at the same time there is so much more to a relationship than that! I want to find my best friend and be compatible emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, etc.

I’m finding that I’m not taken seriously in the more religious circles where most people are virgins and expect you to be a virgin too. Most of the men who enjoy learning Torah are not sex-positive. I can understand that because it’s a contradiction and against halacha (no judgement please, it’s hurtful). They don’t want to date non-virgins. Some BTs understand, but then expect that sex-positive was your past. However, it’s my present and future.

But on the other hand, men who are sex-positive and more open-minded just aren’t as serious religiously. Even if some are SS/SK, many don’t have a love for Torah and enjoy learning it.

I feel so uncomfortable going to a shadchan because the institutions I attended, values important to me and observances I keep, all place me more to the right. But I keep feeling like that’s not me and I feel like I’m being fake. I guess I can say not shomer negiah, but that’s very different than sex-positive.

On the dating apps, if you mention remotely anything about sex-positive it paints you in a certain light. It attracts lots of unsolicited requests unfortunately. Then most men looking for a long term relationship don’t take you seriously either. Also, it’s easy to start a relationship that’s basically only about sex. If you say not shomer, I feel like it has the same problem as above. There’s a wide range of what the can mean from holding hands to doing everything, but actual sex. Saying nothing or open-minded again paints me as very right-wing because of what I stated above.

I have also just told some people early on that I’m sex-positive over the message platform on some apps. But again I was told it makes men see you in a certain way and not take you seriously. So I have stopped doing that for now.

I have gotten advice to just say not shomer negiah, go out with the person, then eventually tell them. Then hopefully they will get to know the whole you and be accepting if it (but it also doesn’t fix the problem of someone sharing these views with you). But this is quite hard because it’s tiring to date someone for 1-2 months, get invested and then find out in a matter of 5 minutes that you aren’t compatible because they want to marry a virgin/are not sex-positive. I wish it was as simple as do you smoke weed or not. I wish you could just list it on a profile (like 420 friendly) without everything that comes along with it and painting yourself in that light.

I tried to post in some dating subreddits, but usually the people aren’t SS/SK and not the kind of people who learn Torah. Another reason why we need a section for Jewish dating on this subreddit or a separate dedicated one!

Also, do attractive enough, passionately Jewish (SS/SK), professionally driven, loving Torah, sex-positive and wanting a long term relationship men actually exist?

I mean I found a few, but most aren’t interested in anything more than the sex usually. I do think it’s possible to have a relationship not focused entirely on sex.

Any words advice, encouragement or empathy are welcome! Please don’t try to convince me to save myself again for marriage or be shomer negiah (that I’m only going to find my match that way) or tell me that this is against the Torah. I’ve heard that, I know that. This is just the way I am. Like many others, I just don’t fit into the prescribed boxes of Jewish orthodox society. Thank you for listening!

TLDR- Being sex-positive while dating in the modern orthodox world is quite difficult and poses many challenges.

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