If you’ve been having casual sex for a while but also wishing your average encounter was better, easier, or hotter, you’re hardly alone. Plenty of people decide to go the no-strings-attached route because they love the idea of easy, drama-free sex only to wind up frustrated when things don’t go as expected or desired. If that sounds familiar, then it could be time to redefine how you think of no-strings-attached sex in the first place.
Far too many people assume that casual sex by definition doesn’t require any care, planning, or forethought. In actuality, those things are pretty necessary if you’re serious about making no-strings-attached as awesome and hassle-free as it sounds on paper. The following are just a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Don’t have it if you’re not ready.
Casual sex isn’t necessarily a good fit for everyone, nor is it the right choice under every possible circumstance. For instance, having it when you’re fresh out of a serious relationship and not over your ex yet is a bad idea no matter what your buddy says. The same goes for people with a tendency to develop feelings for their sexual partners “no matter what”.
You’ve really got to be in the right headspace mentally and emotionally. If not, no-strings-attached encounters are only going to complicate your sex life, not liberate it. At the end of the day, you’re the only one that truly knows whether they’re actually a good fit for you, so listen to your gut.
2. Definitely don’t have it with a friend.
Sure, no-strings-attached sexual relationships between good friends may work out in the movies or on television, but it’s something to be avoided in real life if you’re serious about keeping drama at bay. Having sex with a friend only complicates the friendship, if it doesn’t destroy it altogether. Plus, it’s that much easier to wind up developing feelings for the person, since you’re already emotionally connected.
Stick to casual acquaintances, friends of friends, and other prospects that you find attractive, but aren’t emotionally invested in or connected to in any meaningful way. If you don’t have anyone in mind, consider connecting with a promising hottie during your next bar crawl or via a hook-up app instead.
3. Check your expectations at the door.
A no-strings-attached relationship isn’t like a traditional relationship. Don’t go into things expecting the person to text you all day or to make a lot of polite small talk with you outside of the bedroom. No romantic gifts on Valentine’s Day either (although something racy, naughty, or 100% sex-centric might be fine if that’s something your sex life together entails).
Keep your expectations good and low. Your connection to this person is all about sex, so your interactions and communications should be as well. After all, that’s the whole point, right? You’ve had relationships and deep friendships. The great thing about no-strings-attached relationships are that they’re something entirely different.
4. Set clear boundaries right from the get-go.
Giving yourself permission to embrace a no-strings-attached approach to sex is about banishing guilt and complication, not honesty. Casual sex is a lot more socially acceptable today than it was in the past, so wanting it isn’t something you have to lie about. Always be honest and upfront about what you’re looking for and what you’re not.
You’ll also want to make sure there are clear boundaries and ground rules set right from day one if you want an ongoing no-strings-attached relationship. Boundaries are the best, most effective way to make sure no one gets the wrong idea or winds up with their emotions involved. They can be anything you like and cover any aspect of how you interact together including texting, circumstances under which you both agree to end things no questions asked, and so forth.
5. Be safe without exception.
If you’re even thinking about having casual, no-strings-attached sex, it should go without saying that you need to be having safe sex. That means condoms every single time, even if you tend to have casual sex with the same hook-up partners over and over again. Also, condoms don’t protect you from everything that’s out there, so get comfortable asking potential partners when they were last tested, if they always use protection, and so forth.
Paying proper attention to safety doesn’t necessarily start and stop at condom use either. Don’t go home with anyone that gives you a bad vibe or take them home with you. It’s probably best not to let a complete stranger handcuff you to the bed or tie you up either.
6. Don’t resist the urge to reinvent yourself a little.
Yes, you should be honest with the other person about your intentions. However, you don’t have to be 100% yourself unless you really want to be. One of the greatest things about keeping it casual is there’s really no reason why you can’t use it as an outlet to explore an entirely new side of your personality or sexually reinvent yourself altogether.
Have you always wondered what sex would be like if you just pulled out all the stops and were extra dirty and uninhibited? Is there something new you never had the courage to suggest to a partner but really would like to try now? Go for it. No-strings-attached sex comes with lots of promising opportunities to explore and experiment a little. Don’t be afraid to embrace them.
7. Keep your options open.
Even if you hit it off with a casual sex partner enough to enter into a friends-with-benefits type agreement with them, you both still can (and should) sleep with other people. Not only does it reduce your chances of developing any romantic feelings for one person in particular, but it keeps you from falling into the same sexual ruts that so often plague traditional committed relationships.
No-strings-attached relationships are the best of both worlds, really. You can have regular partners that get to know what you really crave and desire in the bedroom, but you can also experience someone new any time you want. That said, you don’t have to give up Tinder or Mixxxer just because you acquire a FWB at some point. In fact, it’s highly recommended that you don’t.
8. Always mind your manners.
One of the most often overlooked secrets to a satisfying casual sex life is politeness. No, you’re not serious about each other. You may not even see each other again after your initial roll in the hay. However, manners are still incredibly important, so always be a gracious host or a polite guest. In other words, treat the person the way you’d want to be treated yourself.
If you’d rather the two of you not spend the entire night together, bring it up before you decide to get down and dirty. Otherwise, don’t be that guy. It’s just plain rude to kick someone out on the streets at 4AM. Let them spend the night if they want to and offer to make them a cup of coffee in the morning if they’re still there. If you’re at their place, it’s fine to excuse yourself or sneak out quietly afterwards, but leave a pleasant note behind. (You don’t need to include your contact information.)
9. Keep things quiet.
If you’re on social media, then you don’t need to be told that people really do have a bad habit of oversharing. Resist the urge to be that way when it comes to your one-night stands or FWB relationships and keep things on the downlow. Definitely don’t make a no-strings-attached relationship “Facebook official”, even under the “it’s complicated” option.
No one needs to know you’re having casual sex on the regular with anyone in particular. For one thing, it’s not going to last forever nor should it be treated like it will. If you really feel the need to share, limit yourself to telling a few close, trusted friends instead.
10. Cut things off if feelings develop.
Sometimes despite your best efforts at keeping a no-strings-attached connection casual, one person winds up developing feelings for the other. Maybe you’ve caught yourself daydreaming about the person when you’re not together. Or maybe you’ve been noticing they’ve been dropping little hints that they’d like to change the rules. Whatever the case may be, it’s time to think about ending things, because it’s not fair to continue once there are feelings involved.
Sit the person down for a serious discussion. Be honest and to-the-point. Explain what’s happening, thank the person for their companionship, and end things. Then take whatever steps are necessary for both of you to move on properly. Remember, casual sex relationships by definition are temporary. Sometimes they fizzle out on their own, but other times one partner or the other needs to end it personally. It helps to have a back-up plan in place for how to handle it when the time does inevitably come.