Casual sex often gets a bad reputation in popular culture: it involves someone taking advantage another, it’s an act of frustrated low self-esteem, an act reflecting a fear of commitment. The list goes on. On the flip side, some claim it’s a great act of sexual liberation.
But I find both of these to a bit flat and problematic. Sure, casual sex can involve some insecurities, but so can sex between two committed individuals. Not that two wrongs make a right, but sex is complicated. And it’s complicated because we’re multifaceted individuals with wants and interests that change over time. Feeling secure in sex is about acknowledging your wants, being able to communicate them with your partner, and being able to respond to your partner’s wishes. Sounds liberating, right?
How we experience sex is dependent on our individual comfort. This article isn’t about selling casual sex, but rather drawing attention to some things worth considering if the opportunity does arise. Or if you even want it to arise!
So to start – what exactly is casual sex? Whether you call it “hooking up” or “a booty call,” casual means there isn’t any sort of commitment implied or expected after the agreed upon sexual act. Agreement and consent is still the essential base for casual sex. While casual sex may not guarantee sweet nothings whispered in your ear or a text the next morning, as with all sex we want to make sure our partners feel respected and cared for. Creating the space and dialogue for these things is just limited to a smaller time frame with casual sex.
The idea that casual sex only involves emotionless people is clichéd, and actually impossible. Sex is a physical act, but emotions and thoughts are inherently involved. And it’s important to create and facilitate a situation where both parties feel emotionally secure and supported. Rest assured, this is as easy as checking in with them throughout sex. Verbal consent is particularly important when having casual sex. There isn’t a partnered history built, so it’s hard to read cues and anticipate what your partner may or may not enjoy.
With that, it’s important to acknowledge that there is more of an emotional risk with casual sex. If something isn’t communicated during, or something could be expanded on in the future, that opportunity could be lost. So it’s important to think critically, stay aware of your wants and needs, and be ready to communicate them. State boundaries early and keep communicating throughout.
So does the idea of having sex with another person without any commitment to further romance bode well with you? Honestly, there is no right answer, but it’s an important one to ask before considering casual sex. Saying yes does not make you a heartless person. Saying no doesn’t make you prude. In fact, let’s just say that no sexual decision makes you into a certain type of anything. It’s a completely personal decision, and it can change over time.
This key question is more about gauging your personal comfort. If you feel hesitant, or as if you should say yes, just skip it for now. Keep thinking on it, as you like, but if you aren’t behind the idea 100%, then you really aren’t missing out on anything.
And you don’t have to commit to saying yes for now and eternity either. Do you feel comfortable with having casual sex? Cool. Do you feel comfortable in this situation with this person? Casual sex involves a lot of quick decision-making, and it’s important to stay in tune with your feelings. If you’re feeling hesitant about a person or place, then don’t bother.
In the end, casual sex is complicated. But that’s because sex is complicated! Feeling secure stems from personal reflection, and extensively asking what yourself what you’re into. And then being able to communicate them with your partners.