Understanding Casual Sex (Before You Try It)

Understanding Casual Sex is Vital to Your Happiness and Health

If you’re new to the hook up scene, it might feel like everyone’s out there having casual sex these days, and with good reason. With society adopting a more accepting attitude toward non-monogamy, it makes sense for those who prefer such an approach to sex to feel more comfortable being open about it.

However, non-monogamy and casual sex are still widely misunderstood, especially as permanent lifestyle choices. Here’s a closer look at a few key facts everyone should know before diving into the hookup scene for themselves.

1.      Casual sex isn’t all about one-night stands.

Many people still hear the term “casual sex” and immediately assume it means going out and having a string of one-night stands. However, while one-night stands can undoubtedly be considered a type of casual sex, the larger world of casual sex encompasses so much more than that. What type of casual sex is suitable for a specific person depends entirely on what they’re looking to get from the experience.

For instance, some people find they enjoy having an ongoing connection with one or more sex partners at a time but simply aren’t interested in having a traditional relationship. Those people might decide to find a sex buddy or enter into a friends-with-benefits arrangement with an acquaintance they’re attracted to. Others maintain casual connections with people they know they can invite over for a booty call whenever they’re in the mood.

And yes, some people do prefer hooking up with someone new nearly every time they have sex, which is also a valid choice. They may meet new partners in real life at social events or have a favorite app they use to find willing sex partners on demand.

2.      Casual sex isn’t just for men.

Although the rise of sex positivity has found more women than ever understanding casual sex and being open and unashamed about having it, many people still think of it as something only men want. In actuality, women enjoy sex just as much as men do. They are also just as likely to decide that traditional relationships aren’t for them and opt for casual sex instead.

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However, women may choose their hookup partners based on different criteria than a man would, meaning they’re more likely to want more in even a one-time lover than good looks. For instance, many non-monogamous women worry about winding up in bed with a partner who doesn’t care about pleasing her sexually. So they want to make sure they’ll actually have a good time before agreeing to an encounter.

3.      Casual sex can be great for your mental health.

Do you have someone in your life who constantly warns others against the inevitable emotional dangers of having casual sex? If so, you’ve probably also heard it all by now – that you’ll regret it, and it will leave you feeling terrible about yourself. And to be fair, this is true of some people, but only if they’re not cut out for a casual sex lifestyle in the first place.

For people who are wired for non-monogamy and no-strings-attached connections, understanding casual sex actually has the opposite effect. Such people report feeling much more confident and optimistic about life overall after having casual sex. They report more satisfying, enjoyable sexual encounters, as well. So if you have a feeling casual sex is the best fit for you, it could well turn out to be a game-changer.

4.      Casual sex doesn’t always ruin friendships.

Another cautionary tale people constantly hear about casual sex is that it inevitably spells the end of a friendship if the two people involved ever decide to sleep together. But again, that depends on the friendship and the attitudes of the people. Naturally, if one person randomly hooks up with a friend or agrees to an FWB situation while secretly hoping for more, that’s a recipe for disaster.

However, when two friends approach the situation honestly and without any unspoken expectations, there’s no reason consensual sex would ruin what they have. Some people actually say becoming friends-with-benefits, either temporarily or indefinitely, brought them closer as friends and made the friendship better. And plenty of others report being able to go back to just being friends without any issues.

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5.      Casual sex requires excellent communication skills.

Although nearly everyone has sex at least occasionally, many people simply aren’t comfortable talking frankly about it with even a long-term partner, let alone a stranger. But if you’re interested in having casual sex, great communication skills are non-negotiable for several reasons. For instance, you don’t want to play games with your sexual health, so you need to be able to discuss protection and birth control without embarrassment.

You also need to be comfortable setting boundaries and reinforcing them if someone tries to challenge them. And, of course, casual sex is at its best when you’re 100 percent comfortable telling your partner what you like in bed and how you’d like things to play out. So get comfortable talking freely about sex. Your sex life will be better for it.

6.      Casual sex doesn’t have to be a permanent choice.

Although you’ll certainly hear about people who felt trapped in their formerly traditional lifestyles trying casual sex and never going back, your decision doesn’t have to play out that way unless you want it to. Casual sex can be a great permanent lifestyle choice for people who are too busy for traditional relationships or simply don’t want them. But lots of people just like knowing it’s an option.

When approached responsibly, casual sex can be a great way to take care of your sexual needs when you’re in between relationships. It can also be a terrific option to enjoy on the side if you’re one of the many people who are in open relationships or open marriages these days. In other words, understanding casual sex can play as large or small a role in your sex life as you want it to. As long as you manage your sex life ethically, responsibly, and wisely, anything goes!

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