What is casual sex?
“A sexual activity where those involved do not define it as romantic or their partner as boyfriend or girlfriend.”
This could be a definition of casual sex but many people have many different definitions of what casual sex might be. Here are some terms for casual sex that you might come across:
|No strings attached||F*ck buddy||One night stands||Chance encounters|
|Hook-ups||Anonymous sex||Sociosexuality||Friends with benefits||Booty call|
It’s easy to give casual sex lots of different names, but at the end of the day it’s all about doing the same thing. It is about one off sexual encounters with strangers or agreements that can stretch over a longer period of time between two people who have sex together.
What links them all is that the sex is normally conducted by people who tend to focus more specifically on the physical satisfaction rather than the emotional. Casual sex also doesn’t necessarily mean heterosexual intercourse; it can involve any sexual act with anyone. The point is that it is done in the context of an agreement where the sex is an activity that mainly satisfies a sexual desire or physical attraction.
Casual sex lacks the emotional ties that come with relationships, and sex without any commitment or ties may sound very appealing, and it can be for any number of reasons.
The reason for a lot of people though is more often than not simply because it can seem attractive.
What’s attractive about casual sex then?
“It was like heaven. When he was done, he simply rolled over next to me and hugged me.” – Grace
Firstly it’s important to make the point that casual sex is not for everyone and there are many who would say it is wrong or simply don’t want to do it. Agree with it or not, this is not the point.
“I didn’t really know who I was and found myself craving the company of men and having sex with them without knowing their name or who they were. Sex with them gave me a momentary fill.” – Chris
Whatever you think, it is a fact that casual sex is very popular and for a lot of people it’s something that either satisfies a desire or serves a purpose. It is therefore an issue that affects many young people today.
It could be said that because we are often brought up to see sex outside of a long term, serious relationship as wrong, we develop a sense of casual sex being more exciting, a feeling that it is naughty or an act of rebellion that can be very appealing.
The excitement of mystery and unfamiliarity can add to the appeal of casual sex and, as often there is a low chance of meeting again, inhibitions can be cast aside. It is also made easier by the fact that the majority of the time both parties are aware that the sex is not going to lead to a relationship and are therefore more likely to be able to relax and just have sex for the pure pleasure of the actual act.
No matter how much we analyse the reasons why though, if you were to ask most people they would simply say that casual sex is attractive simply because it can be a bit of enjoyment.
So, what’s the worry?
There is nothing wrong with thinking that sex should be fun. Due to the nature of casual sex though it’s quite likely that you won’t know the sexual history of your partner and what Sexually Transmitted Diseases they could potentially have. It could also be the case that they are unaware themselves of any infection they might have or, possibly, are just not going to tell you.
“I thought I was invincible and that nothing could ever go wrong. I was aware of the risks, but sometimes during the act I didn’t care enough to stop.” – Sincerely, Resilient
Sex should be enjoyable for all concerned, whether it be in a long and loving relationship or in a one off drunken mistake with some vague face from your college. What’s important is to remember that just because you may approach the situation as ‘just a bit of fun’ it doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about what you are doing.
You have to be realistic and unfortunately there are these diseases and infections around and if you are going to have casual sex then you are as likely to get them as anyone else.
But everyone’s doing it
“Before i knew it i was on top of her with a condom on. I asked her if she was sure that she wanted this. She said yes. I knew that i wasnt ready, but i didnt want to look like a pussy to all my friends, so i did it.” – Jeremy
There is probably a very strong chance that either directly or indirectly there has been pressure to have sex from those around you.
When there is a lot of pressure around you to have sex it’s very easy to just do it because you think everyone else is and it’s the normal thing to do. It can take a lot of will power and a strong sense of self-respect to not give in to peer pressure and there is strong evidence around to support the view that it is often better to wait.
It’s also quite often not true that ‘everyone is doing it’ and even if everyone is ‘doing it’ it doesn’t mean you have to. A lot of people don’t want casual sex and will make a point of abstaining from it.
This can be for moral or religious reasons, or for the fact they simply prefer sex in a loving relationship and want to wait for that.
So what if you are someone who has casual sex?
Love it or loath it, either way what’s important is that if you are going to go and have casual sex you approach it in the right way.
As a young person exploration and experimentation can be very appealing and you have a right to have fun when you’re young and to experience things that are unfamiliar and different. The key to doing this though is to go into these situations prepared. Being prepared will also allow you to carry on enjoying yourself and not have to stop due to some horrible STD, or becoming infected with HIV. Quite often casual sex is a result of being drunk or doing drugs, or it could just be that you are on holiday, at a party or at university and just generally feel uninhibited and care free. Whatever the reason for having casual sex, just make sure you protect yourself.
Being responsible doesn’t mean being boring!
But if we use a condom, there’s no problem right?
It’s very easy to go on about the very real physical consequences of casual sex such as pregnancy, STDs and HIV but casual sex can also have emotional repercussions. People often think that as casual sex doesn’t have the emotional ties that a long-term relationship does, there is less chance of getting hurt emotionally.
With casual sex you need to think not just about physical harm but emotional harm also.
Casual sex offers only a moment of emotional intimacy. It does not provide the trusting and meaningful ties that you get with someone from being in a serious relationship.
It has been seen in various studies that not having these close emotional bonds and only pursuing casual encounters with various partners can lead to signs of depression and low self-esteem, especially amongst young women.1
Important skills are not developed, like trust and communication. There is security and less anxiety in long term relationships, where each partner makes the other feel more valued.
If you wait until you are in love, it will be a much better experience.” – Dawn
After a while people who have been in casual sex relationships may not feel worthy of being loved in long term relationsh
ips, they are used to being abandoned or moving on after a short period of time and therefore can lack the skills and faith in themselves that are needed to have a long term relationship.2
Take this into consideration – in a recent study by the condom makers Durex, they found that while Norway was the country that had the most casual sex in the world, they were also the nation least satisfied with their sex lives. This could be a coincidence but there is a lot of evidence to suggest it’s not.
“It was the worst experience of my life. I felt like I was missing a part of me. I didn’t love her. Not at all. It was horrible.” – Jeremy
A look at our ‘first time’ stories will give you an idea of what some of the emotional consequences can be when you’re just having sex for the sake of it. A lot seem to echo a general feeling of emptiness and regret, something that applies to not only first time experiences but also casual sex in general.
Have Confidence. Have Respect.
These are some useful things that would be worth thinking about if you want to remain active, healthy and having sex!
Respect yourself and respect your body
- Only you can do this.
- Unprotected sex will put your body at risk.
- The risks involved can have very serious consequences.
Respect others you meet
- Make sure you are in it for the same reasons as each other.
- Make sure all involved are happy with the situation.
- Think not just about your emotions but the other person’s also.
Have the confidence to make the right choices
- Don’t do anything that you don’t want to do.
- If you’re not comfortable with something don’t do it.
- Protect yourself; be confident enough to suggest using a condom.
If you follow these simple suggestions you are more likely to be able to continue having fun and enjoyment.
You make the choice
This page is not here to dictate to people how to live their lives, but is here to provide information.
Casual sex can be risky, to not only a persons physical health but to their mental health also. People who have casual sex need to take these things into account when making decisions regarding their sex lives and personal health.