This article is made up of questions so I’ll start off with one…is casual sex right for me? I’m very supportive of the concept of casual sex—I just don’t think it’s right for everyone. The last thing I want to do is come off as judgmental or condescending. Casual sex can be fun and fulfilling, full stop.
This article is a way to analyze whether it’s right for you. The concept seems obvious, but it can be hard to step back and actually determine whether you actually enjoy casual sex when the college stereotype says it’s part of the experience.
I’ve come up with these questions and opinions through my own self-reflection and many conversations with friends.
*Side-note: I use the term ‘casual sex’ to cover a wide range of circumstances. It’s up to you to determine what it means. You’re welcome to replace it with ‘one-night stands’, ‘friends with benefits’, or anything else that applies to your self-reflection.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. How do I feel when I’m away from a sexual partner?
A major indication that casual sex is not for you is leaving the encounter and suddenly feeling like shit. Regardless of how casual sex may actually affect you, there’s probably going to be a rush of nerves and adrenaline in the moment that impact your decision. That’s why it’s important to think about it when you’re not right there.
When you remove the excitement of the moment and look back at the sex, the emotions should be positive.
2. Does casual sex satisfy me physically?
If you can have casual sex and get off, than you’re getting a physical need satisfied. But, if you’re having all this sex and it’s really just meh (and your partner’s putting in the right amount of effort) then what’s the point? If we’re being totally honest, purely casual hook-ups probably aren’t fulfilling a lot of emotional needs.
So with that in mind, figure out if it’s fulfilling your physical needs.
3. Who am I doing this for?
I think there’s a popular misconception experiencing college means having a lot of meaningless sex. That’s just not the case. If you’re having a lot of meaningless sex for you, because you enjoy it, than that’s the real college experience. On the other hand, a lot of meaningless sex because you think that’s what you’re supposed to be doing at best a waste of time and at worst hurting you.
Have a lot of meaningless sex because you want to, not because you think you should.
4. Do I care if they’re sleeping with other people?
If yes, is it because it hurts my feelings? Is it a health concern? Is it a personal preference? If it hurts your feelings to imagine your sexual partner hooking up with another person, consider why. It could be because you have deeper feelings and need to explore them – in that case, casual sex isn’t working anymore. I will also point out that being uncomfortable “sharing” partners isn’t a bad thing. Like I said, it could be a realistic health concern or just a preference.
The point is to decide what bothers you and how it relates to your comfort with casual sex.
5. Is this the right time?
Sometimes where you’re at in your life isn’t the right time for casual sex. There’s a variety of reasons that this could be the case, but get in touch with yourself to figure that out. If you’re dealing with a heavy emotional burden that has you seeking comfort, you might not be in the headspace to feel fulfilled by casual sex. If we’re being totally honest here, sex is vulnerable. Sex is an easy thing to use as an emotional crutch if you’re craving intimacy.
Pay attention to what’s going on in your life and your mental health. That could make a difference to whether now is the right time for casual sex.
6. Is casual sex a good time?
If you ignored every other question, the answer to this should be a resounding yes. All around, it should all be a good time. There’s lots that goes into a casual hook-up—the build-up, the actual sex, the morning after, and everything in between. All of that should be fun!
If you’re not having a good time…don’t do it. Simple as that.
Subscribe to the newsletter
Like I said, casual sex is great if it’s something that works for you. Sex is not one-size-fits-all. College is the time to explore your preferences and needs, and that applies regardless of how you answer these questions.
Your exploration could lead you to determine that sex is only enjoyable with a committed monogamous partner. It could also lead you to the conclusion that you don’t give a fuck who you’re sleeping with as long as they get you off. You may even realize you don’t enjoy sex at all! I just hope that these questions get you closer to the answer.