At some point in life, most of us can admit that we have been in purely-sexual relationships. Whether it be a few exciting, spontaneous nights with someone, a friends with benefits situation, or sleeping with your ex, there are many ways how humans can exercise their need for sexual intimacy. But even though you intend to keep it strictly sexual, how often can people say they actually succeeded in keeping emotional connections and feelings out of it?
From the outset, casual sex seems like a win-win. You receive regular sex with the same person, you feel comfortable with them, and know how to pleasure eachother, without having to deal with relationship conflict, couples commitments, and being one another’s sounding board which can be a tough burden to bear. While there are of course many benefits, a casual sex situation also comes with many complexities that you may not have considered in the first place. If you’re thinking about having casual sex with someone, here’s a few things to consider...
Types of casual sex
There are a number of different types of casual sex that people can engage in. Friends with benefits is probably one of the most common situations that two sexual beings can find themselves in. Whether you are very close with the other person, or just acquaintances, it can be comfortable, fun, and thrilling to have sex with someone that you know, but you wouldn’t necessarily consider starting an emotional relationship with. On the other hand, a no strings attached situation can be between total strangers who want to fulfill their sexual fantasies without any commitment. Rather than starting the connection with a friendship, it is mostly based on attraction and mutual desires. And then there is sex with your ex. Perhaps the sex was the best thing about your relationship and you decided that being life partners hasn’t worked out for you, you still enjoy intercourse with this person.
No matter which type of casual sex you choose, there is the risk of catching feelings and heartbreak. For some people, they are able to avoid this completely and keep emotions out of it, while for others, engaging in intimate acts for a long or short period of time can heighten their feelings and connect with this person on a different level. Part of the reason for this is because when woman have sex and orgasm, they release oxytocin, a bonding hormone, so in many cases it is increasingly hard not to feel any attachment.
It’s also inevitable that you will feel some type of attachment to someone the more time you spend with them. Sexual or platonic, the deeper you get to know a person and their soul, the more empathy and care you will feel towards them. This is when casual sex can get complicated and feelings may start to grow and develop. Similarly, if you’re prone to jealousy, casual sex may be too much for your heart to bear. You would be constantly worried about other partners, dates, and with so much temptation on social media and dating apps, you would find yourself constantly paranoid about other people.
But above all of these issues, casual sex with your ex partner can arguably be the most problematic. No matter the reason for your breakup, you will always remember the hurt or sadness you felt at the end, despite having moved on. You may eventually agree that your sex life was the best part of the relationship and perhaps what kept it going, and now that enough time has passed, you’re ready to start having casual sex. While it may feel great and familiar to begin with, it may set you back. Having said that, if you can communicate, be transparent about your feelings and intentions, and even set a clear timeline for how long you will engage in this, you may be able to create a mutual respect and healthy sex life without any lingering emotions.
When casual sex becomes emotional sex
In many cases, a casual sex situation can result in either partner developing feelings or toying with the idea of commitment. The more time you spend with someone, the closer you become, and your casual arrangement might not feel so surface level anymore. There are a few ways you can go about dealing with it, but more than anything, you must communicate and be honest with your sexual partner.
Hiding your true feelings may work for a short period of time, but the more you are intimate with this person, your feelings will get to a point where they are all consuming and other negative components start to creep in. At this time, the boundaries on your side have already been crossed, so the original agreement of your casual relationship is essentially null and void. You may start to get into the mindset that you two are more than a casual hook up and you may start feeling possessive, jealous about other people they are dating, and you may even start publicizing what you have been getting up to behind closed doors.
Honesty is key and the best way to approach your sexual partner is to explain to them that your situation has changed and you have grown feelings for them. Instead of expressing your desire to embark on a committed relationship, explain to them that you have developed romantic feelings and need to take a step back. This approach lets them know how you feel without putting any pressure on them to reciprocate. These conversations can help you understand how they feel about the situation and if a romance is on the cards, or they feel it’s best to press pause given the emotional attachment.
With casual sex, there are usually two outcomes. Firstly, the arrangement was a success and both partners gained satisfaction and enjoyment without any complications, and secondly, the situation became complicated because feelings, jealousy or other emotions were brought into the situation. If your casual sex did not go as planned, fear not. Take it as a learning curve and understand that this was the universe’s way of showing you that you are seeking a meaningful relationship and are learning how to build emotional intimacy. There is no need to reprimand yourself for catching feelings, it is a natural part of life and a sign of your personal growth. Finally, if you are considering casual sex with someone, take time to consider what you actually want to achieve from it and whether this is the best scenario for you to be in, and most importantly, always practice safe sex no matter what decision you make.