12 ways to enjoy casual sex without getting hurt
Over the last 10 years I’ve had casual sex with dozens of people, including men, women and couples. At the beginning it wasn’t easy emotionally, but with time I’ve learned to manage it better. Currently I’m in an open relationship which I tweet about here. Occasional sex with no strings attached gives me a lot of pleasure and brightens up my life. I’ve been thinking what exactly lets me enjoy casual sex without getting hurt and here’s what I came up with.
1. Embrace the solitude
If you want to enjoy casual relationships, you need to be comfortable with yourself and by yourself. If you need another person to complete you, casual sex is probably not your piece of cake. It usually implies that being on your own is your default state, you’re happy with it, and sharing some time with another person is pleasant but not essential.
2. Accept the finiteness
Nothing reminds you as sharply that all good things pass as a casual connection, whether it lasts for a year or for a night. You know in advance that the relationship you’re enjoying so much has an expiry date. It might be frightening and painful to admit it. However, committed relationships also end one way or another, it’s just that we usually choose not to face this truth and pretend that we’re going to be together forever and die on the same day.
3. Be ok with unpredictability
In a non-commuted relationship, things can change quickly. Even though today you’re having a great time together, tomorrow one of you might decide that they’re not that interested after all, or that they don’t feel like hanging out for a couple of weeks or months. You never know what tomorrow will bring and you don’t feel entitled to anything. If you can make peace with this lack of predictability and security, then you can really enjoy the ride.
4. Let go of control
To manage my casual sex life well, I keep reminding myself that I don’t have control over the other person and I can’t ever know what’s going on in their head. If you think you would make a perfect couple it doesn’t mean he thinks so too. There’s nothing bad or wrong about it, you just say “Oh, ok” and that’s it. Non-reciprocity is rather a rule than an exception and there’s nothing we can do but accept it with a light heart.
5. Live in the moment
Being with another person without commitment or plans for the future is a great example of the famous psychological concept called the flow. If you’re good at being present in the moment and appreciating it for what it is without clouding it with memories, worries or plans, you’ll probably be quite successful at enjoying non-possessive relationships. And vice versa, engaging in such a relationship might help you to get better at savouring the moments of your life.
6. Be aware of reality
This is probably the most valuable skill for casual relationships. They are in conflict with our animal nature (which is all about possessiveness and procreating), so you need to monitor what’s going on and be grounded in reality. Keep asking yourself “What is happening now?” and then asking again “Is it what’s really happening or am I lying to myself?” There is a constant danger of slipping into a fantasy like “This is turning into something more serious”, while in fact those are just your hormones cheating you. You need to be aware of your own emotions and states to be able to take good care of yourself and address your needs.
7. Be kind to yourself
Treasure yourself, appreciate yourself, place your interests above anyone else’s. Otherwise you’ll turn into a victim and end up drained and miserable. It’s amazing how caring, kind and generous you can be if deep down you are healthily selfish and remember that this relationship is for you and about you. If you want your lover to bring chocolate with him or to go down on you more often, state it clearly!
8. Think outside the box
What has gotten in my way of enjoying life was the stereotypes in my head about “family values”, mostly coming from female relatives. I was constantly worried that I was not building a family, I was not going to have children, such like. The most precious romantic or passionate moments were spoiled by thinking “Where is this going?” “Am I going to end up married to him?” etc. Then I thought – what if I never marry and never have children? Will it be the end of the world? Somehow it wasn’t, and it was an enormous relief to let myself consider that scenario as an alternative that can also make be happy.
9. Don’t break the rules
If you said at the beginning that it’s going to be just sex and going out for an occasional dinner, don’t search for signs of a serious relationship. If the man changes his mind and falls in love with you, he will let you know about it so loud and clear that you will not have to interpret anything. Then you can think if changing the nature of your relationship is something you might consider. Similarly, if it happens so that you fall in love with him, you can talk about it, and if he doesn’t feel the same way you will either have to stop seeing him or think of a way to get over him. My recipe for getting over someone is having sex with several other people, but that’s just me.
10. Remember you have a choice
In casual sex, there are different levels of involvement. Some couples meet exclusively for sex, some go out together, some message every day. What’s comfortable for him might not be enough for you. If this is the case, communicate your needs. For instance: “It doesn’t mean that I’m trying to turn it into something more serious, but I’d like to contact you more frequently” or “I’d like to have some social life with you”. If that’s unacceptable for him, you can either stay in your present arrangement or look for another one which suits you better, but it doesn’t make sense to sit around and wait for him to guess what you want or need.
11. Allow yourself to experience love
Picturing, for instance, marrying and having children with the guy you just had great sex with is a natural reaction of the body. The way our animal nature works is it sometimes causes us to fall in love with our sexual partners. It doesn’t mean you have to act upon it, but suppressing it won’t do you good either. Try to marvel it, admire it, enjoy all the variety of the emotions it gives you – the sadness as well as the euphoria. Feel how this connection fills you to the brim, makes you extremely alive.
12. Broaden your horizons
For me having one casual partner has never really worked. If you prefer exclusivity and don’t mind limiting your options, you’re probably ready for more than a casual connection. I say, if the arrangement is casual, take advantage of it and fuck everyone you want to fuck. It keeps you distracted and prevents you from overfocusing on the person of your primary interest (the danger that’s always there and that you always have to keep in mind).
Please share your own experience or ask questions in the comments and follow me for more tips and stories.