I woke up this morning and did my usual scan for interesting blog posts and news articles. I spent most of the morning reading. (I was actually up before noon without an alarm!) One of my favorite blogger friends posted an article about casual sex that I found interesting. It is a very good post and definitely worth checking out. The article addresses some of the perils of casual sex. I read it and wanted to respond but knew that it would be a long response. I decided to address the subject in a post of my own.
Casual sex has been an instrumental part of my emotional development when it comes to dating, not because I use sex as a means of manipulation but because the emotional aspects of sex were actually hurting my search for a stable intimate relationship. I, like many women I know, had a difficult time separating emotion from sex. The two were interlinked in my mind. If I had sex with someone, if I shared myself in that intimate way, I was supposed to feel an emotional connection to them and I did. There was no such thing as casual sex for me even when it was clear at the onset that sex was the only thing on the menu. I was what my blogger friend referred to as a “chickastalkarazzi.” I would be desperate to drag out something that never was, only prolonging my misery.
It was instilled in me before I hit puberty that women only had sex with men they loved and that the gift of giving yourself to a man meant a connection that would last a lifetime. It meant forever. In essence I grew up believing sex meant you were automatically in love and that in some way sex meant a relationship. As I became sexually active I learned that this was not the truth yet still I felt that my relationships with men were anomalies. So I tried over and over until I became frustrated with the idea of a lasting relationship and stopped dating until earlier this year when I found myself hurt, yet again, by the myth that was ingrained in me as a youth.
After a considerable amount of heartbreak I decided to address the one thing I felt was truly holding me back from an honest connection that could result in a relationship, my premature emotional attachment. I began to date casually; the sole purpose for those dates was to develop a physical connection with someone I found attractive without becoming irrationally emotionally attached to men who were not emotionally available. I did so for about three or four months and better than doubled my number of sexual partners.
It really wasn’t about the sex for me but about changing a mindset that had crippled me emotionally. (I also abstained from sex for thirteen years so having lots of it was nice as well.) I had rules during this exercise.
- No more dates once we slept together.
- No one spent the night and I never slept at anyone’s house.
- I forced myself to be open with them.
I stuck to the rules and not once did I confuse what I was feeling. I also learned a lot that I have carried with me as resumed my search.
- If you are completely open without fear of judgment the judgment seems less harsh if there is judgment at all.
- You realize far earlier on whether or not there is potential for something more significant than just a few dates.
- If you are honest and unashamed then men will be honest too. You may not like that honesty but then you can make an informed decision about whether or not proceed. You are basing your decision to proceed on things he has admitted to you rather than what you assume.
Never during the course of that period did I just go to a bar and pick up a guy. It always just started as a date. As unorthodox as this approach may seem I can honestly say that if it weren’t for casual sex I may never have understood dating. I would never have found what I was looking for because I had a skewed idea of the role sex played in my interactions with the opposite sex.
I believe that there are certainly perils when it comes to casual sex but sometimes it can be beneficial. Sometimes sex with no pretense can be good. It can be dangerous too but so can a relationship. Like anything it can be as simple or complicated as you make it. Casual sex isn’t for everyone but sometimes, just sometimes, it can be exactly what you need.