5 Things I Learned From A Year Of Casual Sex
We're at a point where dating has become a very loose term. If it can truly mean anything at this point.
It could mean you're going out for meals in public, or you could just be two Millennials, f*cking and texting.
If I've learned anything about casual sex, it's that no one really knows what it means.
Sex, by definition, is the opposite of casual. It is the most intimate thing two humans can do.
So, what do you do when you want sex, but you don't want feelings?
My conflict throughout the past few years has been trying to figure out how to find the balance of being single and independent (basically just living my life, according to Queen Bey), while not reducing myself to just a "booty call."
While I know many women who are the ones who do the booty calling, it was not for me.
If I have sex with someone to whom I have absolutely no emotional connection, I'm kind of just phoning it in.
It doesn't do anything for me.
I'd honestly just rather watch Netflix by myself than fake an orgasm with some random guy from Tinder.
It's not a coincidence that the guys with whom I've had the best sex are the ones I also like as people.
We get along, we make each other laugh, we are interested in each other's lives, we can go out for meals in public and have things to say and wait… this is still "casual" right? Wrong.
When casual sex starts to turn into "friends with benefits," or anything in that category, it's great for a short period of time, but it has an expiration date. And, at some point, it either needs to progress or stop.
If the two of you are truly enjoying each other's company in and outside of the bedroom, I hate to tell you, but you both have the case of the feels.
But, this doesn't mean you have to stop living your lives and enter a serious, long-term, monogamous relationship.
Why do we think these are our only options? Before you can figure out what you want, stop calling it what it isn't.
We are a generation that simply refuses to admit when we have feelings for someone.
We think it makes us weak or that feelings lead to a loss of our freedom or independence.
Casual sex can be respectful, but it requires honesty, communication and the strength to walk away when you realize someone is unwilling to give you what you want.
Here are five things I've learned about casual sex:
1. We often choose people who have commitment issues because we have commitment issues.
After a series of disappointments, I had no choice but to examine the role I was playing in all of this. I started to notice a pattern.
I'd meet a guy, we'd hit it off and just when I started to feel like I could trust him, he'd turn into a giant flake.
I would then blame myself for being stupid enough to experience human emotions. For real, what was I thinking?!
Once I figured out why I was choosing them, my entire perspective changed.
I realized the only time I wanted more of a commitment from a guy was when he showed signs of flakiness or emotional unavailability.
In other words, I only wanted more when I knew deep down I couldn't get it. I used to dismiss this as “pesky human nature,” until I realized it was because I am also the one who is emotionally unavailable.
Any time someone wanted more of a commitment from me, I freaked out.
For the last few years, every guy I dated gave some sort of disclaimer up top about, “Just getting out of a relationship,” or, “Not looking for anything serious,” or “really just focusing on his career.”
I would ignore this giant red flag and then berate myself for doing something to drive him away when subconsciously, I chose him because I knew he would eventually do that.
It turns into a cycle as well as a self-fulfilling prophecy. When I go for guys who can't commit, they leave, therefore validating my misguided assumption that if I let someone in, I will inevitably get hurt.
This is called counter dependency, which I have written about before. It's a defense mechanism.
If we go for people with whom we know it won't work out, it hurts less than putting ourselves out there with someone it actually might work out with.
2. Stop trying to figure out inconsistent behaviors.
There was a time when I actually used to spend hours trying to figure out what a guy's flaky behaviors meant.
Why does he say he wants to hang out, but instead of making plans, just likes my Facebook statuses?
Why does he talk to me every day for a week and then go MIA? Because he has no intention of this developing into anything more than sex.
We'd have sex, we'd get closer, he'd disappear, I'd get confused, he'd come back, I'd let it go and repeat.
This persisted until I realized the only thing consistent about these guys was their inconsistency.
Now, the only flakes I want inside of me are in the form of cereal. Sorry, bro.
When someone is being hot and cold with you, it is a sign to either call him or her out on the bullsh*t, walk away or realize it is a pattern that will not change, so you should lower your expectations.
It doesn't matter why someone is going MIA. What matters is you are wasting your time by trying to figure it out.
When someone is inconsistent, it means he or she either doesn't know what he or she wants, or he or she does know what he or she wants and doesn't know how to communicate that to you.
Or perhaps, he or she just has multiple personalities.
That's the thing about casual sex. You have to be comfortable with knowing that sometimes, you just won't get a direct answer or ever really know why things went wrong.
Don't waste your time ruminating over what you did wrong or what you can do to get a person to act as you want him or her to act. That is out of your control.
All you can control is the amount of bullsh*t you accept in your life and how you react to it.
My faulty thinking in the past was that if someone really liked me, he or she would act differently.
Here's the truth: These people were like this before you, and they will be like this after you.
It is not your failure if you don't change this person. If someone isn't ready to let you in, it's not happening. Trust me, I have been on both ends of this.
I have pushed someone away who I truly had strong feelings for; I have also had the same done to me. It sucks, but timing can be a real bitch.
3. The faster it starts, the sooner it will end.
This is not always the case, but in my experience, when you have sex with someone too quickly, all logic and judgment goes out the window.
You both get caught up in the excitement and the endorphins, and all of a sudden, you think you know someone because you've been "f*cking and texting" for three weeks straight. You don't know this person.
You just think you know the idea you've created of this person.
Don't get me wrong; it can be fun and exciting. And, it may make you think you have “so much in common,” or that you have a good sense of who this person is.
But, just because a guy is sending you kiss face emoji and is telling you how great he thinks you are does not mean he has any intention of pursuing a relationship with you.
Sex creates an illusion of a relationship, but it does not lay the foundation for one.
When things move too quickly, it's like getting into a car and stepping on the accelerator.
All of a sudden, both of you are like, whoa, this is clearly not a sustainable speed.
Rather than pulling over and having an honest discussion, the guy tosses you out of the car and speeds off.
Then, you're left there like “WHAT THE F*CK? YOU DROVE ME HERE, ASSH*LE.”
Then you feel sh*tty about yourself and are confronted with the dilemma of what to do when (not if, but when) he slowly turns around to see if you're still waiting there.
4. What to do when you get ghosted.
Not to be confused with the pull-out, the pull-back can be subtle, which is why I like to call it, “The Assh*le Dial.”
Basically, it's the first time someone does something slightly flaky, like canceling plans last minute or “forgetting” to answer text messages.
This is just turning up the notch ever so slightly on that assh*le dial. It's just enough to throw you off, but not quite enough that you feel justified to be pissed off.
Especially when they come back and act like nothing happened.
Let me be clear, if I'm casually seeing someone, I do not expect us to hang out every night.
But, if I am sleeping with someone, I do expect an answer back within 48 to 72 hours. I expect that from people who I don't allow inside of me.
There are two main reasons for the pull-back. First, it's to indirectly communicate to you that this will not progress into a relationship.
The second is for validation. This is a sign of both immaturity and insecurity. When they pull-back and get a reaction from you, they feel validated.
The messed up part is when they get the reaction they want, they pull back even more.
The second they think you're not thinking about them, they start chasing again. Isn't human nature the best?!
5. You aren't crazy or needy for demanding self-respect.
For some reason, I used to be under the impression that the opposite of chill is crazy. Why can't I just be a normal girl with standards?
My faulty belief in the past was that no matter how a guy treated me, if we weren't in an “official” relationship, my anger was not justified.
"I mean he flaked on me but we're not together so I don't want him to think I'm mad, 'cause I'm CHILL." Well, if someone flakes on you, stand up for yourself.
You don't have to call him 10 times in a row to tell him he's a piece of sh*t. It can be as simple as, "I don't appreciate when people don't respect my time."
If you say nothing and are just available for him when he's in the mood, you're sending the message that he can get away with that.
The main lesson here is to stop caring about what he thinks. If you stick up for yourself and he still tries to twist it around, then he is a douchebag who does not deserve you.
Who cares how he frames it in his mind or to his friends? What matters more is that you know the truth.
A lot of the time, “she got too attached” is just code for “I couldn't get away with whatever I wanted." Well, if that's called “crazy,” I'd rather be crazy than a doormat.
The truth is, he was not acting this way because he is a bad person who was intentionally trying to hurt me.
This was his way of indrectly communicating to me: "Just so you know, I'm still a free man!"
There are, however, more effective forms of communication, like words, for example.