Let’s talk about sex — more specifically, casual sex.
I am currently in a long-term, monogamous relationship, but for the six single years I had prior to said relationship, casual sex was pretty much the only kind I knew.
I slept around, hooked up with acquaintances, friends, friends of friends, etc. And, I’m not ashamed.
Sleeping with only the one person whom I love is different, beautiful, amazing and exciting in a whole new way, but it doesn’t mean I look down on my past sex life. I have no regrets.
Sex is f*cking awesome. And, as long as there is consent, some sort of protection and honesty involved, casual sex really isn’t harming anyone.
Of course, there are specifics, like don’t f*ck your best friend’s boyfriend or anyone who is in a committed relationship, but you get the point.
As my mom likes to remind me anytime she gets me in the car alone, the current “hook-up culture” is much more nonchalant than it was back in the day.
There have been many speculations about this hook-up culture, like young women often sleep around due to their lack of self-confidence, as a way to fill a void or to feel wanted.
I reject these theories because they're generalizations that assume women can’t possibly be engaging in sex just because they thoroughly enjoy it. However, like most generalizations, it does hold some truth.
Both young women and men sometimes engage in random hookups for reasons beyond pure pleasure.
Like I said, sex is awesome, but it can also be complicated. Sometimes your feelings can get caught up in the twisting sheets and even you can’t really decipher why you're jumping into bed.
In my experience, the majority of the random, casual hookups I had were exactly that. I slept with someone, we had a good time, it ended pretty quickly and I didn’t think twice about it.
However, every once in a while, I would hook up with someone and it would feel different.
I can’t explain exactly why because feelings are something I still cannot and probably will not ever be able to understand or explain. As previously mentioned, I don’t have any regrets, but I do recognize that I made some mistakes.
Earlier, I mentioned that sex can be harmless, as long as there is consent (this is the most important factor), protection and honesty. I’d like to talk about honesty.
Whenever an inkling of emotion or attachment caught me off guard after sleeping with someone, I would do everything in my power to ignore and deny it.
I would tell myself it wasn’t there, that I wasn’t “that girl” — the stage five clinger who gets attached to everyone she f*cks.
I was not honest with myself, and when this happened, I would get hurt.
The whole unspoken (although it probably should be spoken) agreement between two people casually hooking up is that it is solely physical, and if you’re looking for something more, you should walk away.
I was so determined to always be okay with this in order to define myself as the chill kind of girl who hated and didn’t need commitment. It was part of my identity, and it made me feel strong.
And, most of the time, it was true; I usually was fine with a one-night stand and never hearing from a sexual partner again… but not always.
Sometimes, I felt used, silly or unappreciated.
Every so often, I secretly wished the person with whom I woke up in bed would call me, ask me out or offer more than a grunt goodbye when I left.
And, sometimes, this was complicated by living in a society where women are slut shamed and forced to choose between "slut" and "prude."
But, other times, it came from me being too stubborn to hurt my pride and admit my feelings.
I was afraid to make it seem like I cared, because in my mind, the people I was hooking up with appreciated me for how much I didn’t. I was caught up in the idea of being the cool, relaxed girl who didn’t give a sh*t.
If I ended up liking someone, I was scared to tell him or her, out of fear that he or she would be turned off by my emotions and clinginess.
But, the reality is, the people I hooked up with and resisted to text the next day probably don’t hear my name and say, “Oh yeah, she was so chill. That’s why I liked her.”
If they did happen to hear my name, they’d probably say, “Who?”
Looking back, I’m able to be honest with myself and see this. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the truth.
So, if I could go back in time, would I do it differently?
The whole point is you can’t go back, but the future will present you with similar situations. If you have learned something, you will act differently.
I’m not saying I won’t have any more one-night stands or that I think I shouldn’t.
I still stand by the idea that anyone has the right to sleep with whomever and how every many people he or she pleases (with consent!).
Like I stated before, I'm not ashamed of my "promiscuous" behavior.
I’m in touch with my sexuality, and that's something I'm proud of. My ignorance of my emotions and vulnerability is, at times, what I think I could work on.
It’s okay to feel, to let your vulnerability be seen, to put yourself out there, to tell yourself you like someone and to admit someone hurt you.
Unfortunately, not everyone will be honest with you, but at least you can be honest with yourself.
Sex is fun; just make sure it’s fun you’re chasing when you casually hop into bed. It’s okay if that’s not always what you want or if it usually is. You don’t have to always feel or not feel a certain way.