If you’re seriously into casual sex, then you probably don’t need to be told how much there is to love about it. Casual sex is a great way for busy people to enjoy the connection and pleasure they need without committing to a situation they might not truly want or be ready for. But casual sex is not without its challenges and pitfalls.
Getting the most out of modern hookup culture and casual sex relationships also means being prepared for all the possible pitfalls. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common, as well as a few tips on how to sidestep them yourself.
1. Keeping track of multiple partners is a challenge
Although some people who prefer to take the casual approach to their sex life opt strictly for one-night stands, that’s not necessarily the norm for most. Sure, the occasional sex party or one-night encounter is pretty much always on the menu. But many casual sex lovers do eventually build a roster of casual partners they get together with regularly.
Naturally, the more different partners you’re hooking up with, the harder it can be to keep everybody straight. But hookup etiquette absolutely demands that you find a way. Just FYI, there’s no shame in keeping a running note file on your phone to help you remember critical details.
2. Other people can be judgmental
Granted, your sex life is nobody’s business but yours and anyone who’s currently taking up space in your bed. But that’s probably not going to stop certain people from trying to make it their business anyway. (Think parents, very traditional friends, and nosy housemates.)
Judging and shaming someone because they have casual sex can take many forms. Some people may try to tell you that you have too much sex, while others will take issue with the fact that there’s no commitment involved. Just gently remind them that your sex life is your own, and – if they’re genuinely concerned for your health – further assure them that you’re doing things safely.
3. Catching feelings will always be a possibility
Yes, this casual sex pitfall is always a possibility. Even if it’s not really something you’re prone to yourself, there will always be the possibility that the other person will start feeling something they aren’t meant to. And once feelings are involved on either side, things officially start getting dicey. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan for handling things, just in case.
If a regular sex buddy says they have feelings for you (or you strongly suspect they might), it’s time to talk about some things. Do you feel the same way on any level? If not, be straight with them. And consider ending the connection. Those feelings aren’t likely to go away, and it’s not fair to either of you to go on as if nothing has happened.
4. Sexual health is a constant concern
Or it should be, to say the least. It simply comes with the territory when you’re intimate with many different people, especially if they’re also intimate with many people. Even if you’re stainlessly responsible about your sexual health and having safe sex, there’s no guarantee that everyone you’ll be intimate will have your standards.
Definitely insist on having safe sex every time, even if your partner assures you that it’s okay to step out of line “just that once.” Always bring your own protection. Never assume the other person will take care of things, even if they assure you, they will and have. And keep up with your regularly scheduled STI screenings, as well.
5. Setting rules never gets any easier
Contrary to what many believe, deciding to take a casual approach to your sex life isn’t about turning things into a free-for-all devoid of any rules or restrictions. It’s not about doing whatever you please without regard for anyone else’s feelings or well-being, either. It’s more about setting rules, limits, and boundaries that work for you instead of blindly following the ones the rest of society might think are best.
The thing is, boundaries are harder to set with other people than you might think, especially if the other person in question does think of a casual sex arrangement as a free-for-all. Always be straight with the people you take to bed beyond the shadow of a doubt. If it’s strictly a one-night thing, say so before you go to bed together.
Do the same with every other detail surrounding the encounter – like birth control, need-to-know information about STIs, whether or not you’re open to seeing each other again if things go well, and so forth. Ultimately, casual sex can and should be about having fun and feeling sexually free. But it’s crucial to remember that preparedness is a vital part of that.