Ask Anna: Redefining the 'player': Classy, honest and empowered dating for women

Anna Pulley, Tribune News Service on

Published in Lifestyles

Dear Anna,

Do female players exist? If so, how do I become one? I want to keep it classy and maintain my integrity while I get out there and experience as much as I can. — Getting Action Makes Excitement Outwardly Novel


Of course female players exist! (As do players of all genders.) The reason you don’t hear about them as much is because, culturally and historically, we’re threatened by female sexuality and we deal with these “outliers” by shaming them or, you know, legislating away their rights to their own bodies. Yay, patriarchy.

Let’s start by defining what a “player” is so that it aligns with your integrity and classiness. Basically, a player is someone who “plays the field,” who dates not to find one particular person to settle down with, but for the sheer pleasure and novelty of the experience itself, to see what’s out there and to navigate sex on their own terms — with honesty, respect and fun at the forefront.

So here are the practical steps to do just that:

Be open and honest: If you're interested in dating multiple people, it's all about communicating that openly from the start, whether that’s putting it in your dating profile or verbalizing it early on in the dating process. Not everyone will be OK with it, and that's fine. You’re looking for the ones who are. Also, there are some people who will say they’re “fine” with it, but whose actions will demonstrate that they are, in fact, not. Respectfully bow out of those situations when/if you encounter them.

Establish boundaries: Make personal rules to guide your actions — a “Player's Code” if you will. Know your emotional and physical limits and respect those of others, too. Emotionally, it's about knowing how much investment you're able or willing to offer in each relationship. Some people can juggle multiple deep, emotional connections, while others prefer to keep things light and casual. There's no "right" approach — only what feels right for your emotional well-being.


Physically speaking, knowing your comfort level with physical intimacy is pivotal. Not only should you be clear with yourself about what kind of physical relationships you want, but also it's critical to establish safe practices for engaging in physical intimacy, like regular testing for sexually transmitted infections and using protection.

Invest in you: You're not just about dating. Invest time in your interests, career and self-growth. This will make you more interesting as a person and keep your life balanced.

Stay safe: Whether you're exploring physically or emotionally, safety is paramount. Emotional safety means regular check-ins with yourself to ensure you’re maintaining your mental health with your dating approach.

Ignore the critics: Navigating the world of dating, especially when you're going against the conventional grain, means you'll likely face criticism or judgment at some point. But it's essential to remember the mantra: This is about your life and your happiness. The priority of your love life should be your own joy and fulfillment. The standards and expectations of others don’t necessarily align with what makes you feel alive, valued and fulfilled. It’s about finding what works for you, even if that looks different from the norm or what others expect.

Being a "player," as we've defined it here, means embracing the freedom and confidence to be yourself, while treating others with respect.

Remember also that nothing is set in stone. As you continue to change and grow as a person, your boundaries and limits may also change, and that's OK! An important part of any evolving life is regularly checking in with yourself and updating your wants, desires and lifestyle as necessary.

©2024 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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