Between relationships – and don’t want a new relationship yet – but not ready to give up your sex life? Well, thanks be to condoms, you might find the casual sex option the solution for you. These are the rules.
Sex and love
Casual sex is certainly not for those for whom sex equals romantic commitment and is always a sign of love. Sex and love are different. They overlap, sure – and for good, evolutionary reasons – but just as you can love without having sex, so it’s possible for sex to be a raw, wild, sensual, orgasmically mind-blowing experience… without the love.
If you can’t or don’t wish to keep love and sex separate, you’re going to get hurt by casual sex. Be mindful of your feelings, never treat sex as a substitute for the love you really want, be honest – and you should be fine.
Similarly, and relatedly, you’ll need an absolutely hang-up free, zero guilt attitude to sex. No trace of a thought that it’s wrong. No ‘good girls don’t’. And there are many men who have guilty hang-ups, too, about casual sex. Quite how such attitudes arise – usually through childhood social, moral and religious training – isn’t greatly relevant here, save insofar as you might want to work through the guilt. More to the point, if you do feel guilty about sex, about casual sex, and force yourself to go through with it anyway, you can prepare to feel cheapened and soiled in your own eyes. This isn’t a good thing.
Know the score
Now, for your personal psychological well-being, you might not view this as essential. However, some of that childhood social, moral and religious training has a lot going for it. In this case: ‘Do unto thy neighbour…’ There might be practical consequences – witness Fatal Attraction – but it’s generally a good thing to make sure he or she, your casual sex partner, isn’t hoping for more than a brief fling.
Say: ‘This is just for fun, right?’ No strings? No commitments? We’re just going to feast like there’s no tomorrow, right?
As you might imagine, being bold with regard to your intentions can lend a certain oomph to the evening’s proceedings.
Make this an occasion
Of course, it might be that you’re just with a friend and you tumble into bed with each other at the evening’s end – and decide that you might just as well have sex.
Alternatively, it might be you’ve pulled and decide then and there that sex is where you’re going.
In which case, make the experience lavish. Treat yourself if you’re out on the tiles. Have a film star evening. Try champagne and/or cocktails if your usual thing’s a few beers. Take a ride in a rickshaw, or a Central Park-esque horse drawn carriage if there is one available. Do things that make you both giggle. Buy a single, throwaway rose – but nothing commitment-expensive. You might even transform into Mr and Mrs Smith for a night at a good hotel.
In terms of heading back to your or his place – yes, it should be an attractive and welcoming environment, but don’t worry if you haven’t planned on having intimate visitors. A snog the moment you get through the door should set the tone.
Instinct and feeling
Casual sex can be a lot more ‘raw’ that sex might be with someone we think of as a possible long-term partner. After all, why worry? We’ve nothing to lose. If, when tomorrow comes, we both want to do it again, great. If not, out the door we go.
This can be a real release in terms of our sexual instincts – meaning maximum raunch factor. The rule: let yourself go.
It can also be easier to fantasise when having casual sex – since the sex might seem already a kind of fantasy. You can imagine that film star you’ve longed to make love to. You can imagine yourself as – and be – the lover you want to be. There’s plenty of scope for self-reinvention and release.
That said, do go light on the kink, if that’s your thing. Bring your more exotic toys out straight away and sex might suddenly seem a really bad idea to your not-yet casual sex partner. And it’s a really, really bad idea to say yes if they offer the handcuffs, no matter how pink and no matter how fluffy. Go figure.
It’s often said that the first time isn’t the greatest. One way of obviating this maxim is to talk – a lot – about what you both want. Say what you want them to do. Again: be bold. You should each appreciate the other’s direction – and with a little give and take have the sex that you both want.
Yes, it is do-able to have sex with friends and to remain friends, indeed, to enhance that friendship. This is with one proviso: neither of you must secretly want to be more than friends; to become long-term partners, long-term lovers. Check and make sure that’s not what you’re after. With your friend, about the most you can do is ask. So ask.
If it’s been great sex, you might want each other to stick around and do it again – perhaps for much of the following day. Or you might just want to spend the night together, do breakfast, chat, then leave.
Alternatively, you might not want to face the post-sleep morning, in which case a nighttime exit is probably best.
If you want the other person to leave, offer to call them a cab and, if they don’t take the hint, explain you have a busy day tomorrow and an early start. If you know beforehand that you’ll want them to leave, explain in advance that it won’t be an overnight stay – or choose their place.
Generally, be nice, assert what you want, as tactfully as possible, and respect their wishes if and when they want to go.
Then, for yourself, feel good, admit no disappointment or bad feeling – and don’t brag!
Condoms are, of course, essential. The issue of safety does, however, go considerably further than that.
You should be asking: Is this person safe for you to be with? Is he or she creepy? Is there a risk of rape or other violence? Are you going to be dosed with GHB?
There is no 100% sure way of telling and the risk of rape must not be ignored. It makes sense, particularly if you’re a girl, to let a trusted friend know where you are. Your best bet is to go with your feelings, make sure your head is sufficiently clear for those feelings to have their say, and call everything off if you have the slightest doubt. Those funny feelings that something isn’t right are, like love, granted us for a reason.