As a self-proclaimed “relationship girl” I used to say that I didn’t understand casual sex. My argument was that sex is supposed to be something between two people in love, something almost sacred that shouldn’t be treated flippantly. We learn in intro to psychology that women’s brains secrete oxytocin after sex, a chemical that makes us feel emotionally attached to our sexual partner. Why would I risk that natural, biological feeling of attachment if there were nothing to be attached to? I thought that if I liked a guy enough to have sex with him, then we should also like each other enough to be in a monogamous relationship. Then I broke up with my boyfriend. I realized I wasn’t even sure if I knew what love was, but I knew that I felt happier, more energetic, and more confident when I was having regular sex.
Several weeks and several beers post-breakup, a guy friend and I realized we’d both had crushes on each other for almost two years. One or both of us had always been in a relationship during the time we’d known each other, though, so nothing ever came of it. This was a guy I trusted, cared for, and respected; and I knew he held me in the same regard. Knowing full well that we were graduating in five weeks, that we were moving to different states, and that there was absolutely no chance of romance, I entered into my first “casual” sexual relationship.
I didn’t wake up that first morning to any feelings of shame or regret. I woke up to the feeling of satisfaction and to the face of someone I knew. He made me laugh. I could be myself around him. And frankly, he really knows his way around a vagina. There was nothing casual about it. We were, and still are, two people who enjoy each other’s company immensely, find each other physically attractive, and are comfortable enough to strip down and ask for exactly what we want. “Casual” sex is just as fulfilling as relationship sex if you keep the following guidelines in mind.
1. Own your sexuality.
I despise when people refer to a woman choosing to have sex as “giving it up.” Sex is just as much about getting as it is giving; a true balance is what makes for a truly great sexual experience. You have to be confident in your own sexuality in order to be confident about any sexual encounter. Figure out what you like, then ask for it.
2. Don’t be needy.
He’s not your boyfriend. If the texts are few or far between, there isn’t dinner first, or he’s already asked someone else to an upcoming date party, don’t get your panties in a wad. First of all, why are you even wearing panties? Take them off and get back to business. If you don’t feel respected, that’s another issue. If he makes you feel bad, walk away. But don’t whine just because he isn’t acting like a boyfriend, because, well, he’s not your boyfriend.
3. Be open and honest about exactly what you want from him (or her, that’s cool too).
Communication is one of the most important parts of any relationship, but in the casual sex relationship it’s pretty much THE important part. If you two aren’t on the same page, someone will get hurt, embarrassed, or both. Being totally honest about what you want and expect is crucial to figuring out how to make sure you both feel satisfied and respected. If your feelings change, he should be the first to know — or maybe the second or third to know, after your best friend/roommie/little — but the point is, he needs to know.
4. Have other things in common.
If there’s nothing to share, talk, and laugh about, then it truly becomes “just sex.” But if you both love a certain author or television show, if you share a hobby, or just really enjoy discussing the same topics then you’ll maintain that intimacy that makes the entire time together pleasurable, not just the climax.
5. Be safe and smart.
If you’re not monogamous, you can’t expect him to be. That being said, he may not tell you if he has sex with someone else. Wrapping it up every time is the only way to prevent all sorts of unpleasantness.
Some women need romance to find sexual enjoyment, and I used to be one of them. But when you’re fulfilled, loved, and confident in other areas of your life, sometimes the only slot to be filled (pun very much intended) requires a little help from a friend..