Bunny in bed wondering why she spent 195 minutes and 23 minutes worrying when she only got 5 minutes of sex

If you can’t be casual about casual sex, then for you, it’s not casual sex. This doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you and it’s not something that you need to apologise for, but what it does mean is that you need to start listening to you instead of spending your time prioritising someone else’s sexual and even ego needs while deprioritising you.

It doesn’t matter if the person who wants to sleep with you casually is totally OK with it or has been with people who are totally OK with it (It begs the question of, where are they now?), you’re not, and you don’t need to feel bad about this or feel compelled to follow a trend. Once you start ignoring your own personal values and basically ‘following’, you stop being conscious and you start operating from a place of unhealthy habits of thinking and behaviour, or even compulsion. Just because someone wants to have sex and you haven’t had sex in a while or you happen to feel horny, it doesn’t mean that you have to oblige that person or follow your libido, especially if by doing either of these things, you end up negatively affecting your overall well-being.

Casual means relaxed and unconcerned.

If you can’t be casual about casual sex, it’s very possible that it’s the fact that the other party is so relaxed and unconcerned to the point of you feeling disrespected, that may be creating a great deal of anxiety and stress in the first place. It may also be that you want more than is on offer or that you are pretending to be relaxed and unconcerned now so that you can enjoy instant gratification, while ignoring the fact that based on how you typically respond to these types of situations or your current level of self-esteem, that you are in fact putting you in harms way. For sex.

Now granted, as grownups, it’s important to ensure that we’re being safe in the sense of contraception and ensuring that we’re not putting ourselves in danger, but this is different to having excessive emotional or even relationship concerns, and is certainly very different to experiencing anxiety about whether we’re going to be able to juggle having sex with a person at the same time as coping with what we may recognise as code amber and red issues including disinterest or disrespect.

Stressing out over casual sex not only suggests a great deal of thought, but also that in the quest to try and force you to be relaxed and unconcerned about something that you’re clearly not feeling that way about, you’re actually ignoring and compromising you in the process.

If the emotional and mental consequences of a casual sex encounter are going to linger for considerably longer than the duration of the encounter (from arranging to completion), it’s best to decline. If you tend to struggle with getting to know someone at the same time as also having to juggle potential emotional consequences from being sexually intimate, it’s best not to be sexually intimate until you can. If even in advance of having sex with the person, you’re expending a great deal of mental and emotional energy on whether or not to do it, that’s a sign that you shouldn’t and that you’re not listening to you in some way. Sure, there are times when we can all be guilty of overthinking something that in retrospect we realise wasn’t really that big a deal but more often than not, when it comes to mental and emotional expenditure on sex that hasn’t even happened yet or has and now we’re wondering where we stand, our responses tell us a lot about where we need to take care of ourselves better.

There’s such a thing as delayed gratification – being able to listen to yourself and recognise your own needs, values, expectations, opinions, and feelings, and postponing instant reward for a later one.

It’s the difference between acting as if this is the last chance sex saloon and that your penis/vagina is going to fall off or dry up and get covered in cobwebs if you don’t, and knowing that sure, it’s possible that you might enjoy it but knowing that it’s better to defer having sex until you’re either in a better place emotionally and trust you to handle the consequences irrespective of the outcome of the involvement, or waiting until you’re in a situation where you can experience emotional and sexual intimacy together. It’s about being conscious, present, and aware, ad recognising where you may be engaging in relationship or sexual insanity – carrying the same baggage, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours, engaging with the same or similar people, and then expecting different results and even being surprised when you don’t get it. Particularly if you’re considering sleeping with an ex who has done more than screw you in the sack, it’s time to ask where you’re trying to do a Cher and turn back time? Are you trying to right the wrongs of the past?

Let’s also remember that sexual intimacy is not the same as emotional intimacy and that sex drives have no judgement skills…. This is also a good time to remember not to scratch the loneliness itch (or stress, boredom, or even hunger itch), with the wrong scratcher. I’ve run a bit of an experiment with some BR readers and friends who keep getting hurt on the sexual disappointment cycle and most of them mistook various different types of stress, as well as the knock-on effect of feeling inadequate or bored, for horniness.

If you’re thinking, Will I, won’t I?, Can I keep my feelings in check [this time]?, I’m worried about getting hurt (again), I can handle this… I hope…, The sex is great but the person is awful, I’m worried about being used, guess what? This is not casual sex. For them it is but for you it isn’t and if it’s not mutual casual sex then it’s not casual sex.

Your thoughts?

 

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147 Responses to If you can’t be casual about casual sex, it’s not casual sex

  1. Laura says:

    I feel like you can read my mind. With no prospects on the horizon whatsoever I can relate strongly to the thoughts of exes. But I am trying to get to a place that I’m okay knowing that I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life and be okay with that.

    • CC says:

      Laura,

      I get where you’re at, I’m at the same place and the thought of never being with someone is too drastic and makes the idea of casual sex, necessary sex. Tough road, I’ve been alone for so long, I know I’m ok with it, that doesn;t mean I want it that way…

  2. Claire says:

    So, I hooked up with a guy online purely for a mutual romp/sex (3 yrs ago) n then he radically changed the goalposts, by telling me I was the best thing since sliced bread, n he was in love, blah blah. I wasn’t expecting that, and I’ve been in a commited yet noncommittal text n sometimes hooking up relationship with him ever since. He’s a lot younger than me, and I feel like such an idiot for keeping this up, based on his seemingly false promises for a future together? :(x

  3. Nancy says:

    Right on Natalie!

    “Let’s also remember that sexual intimacy is not the same as emotional intimacy and that sex drives have no judgement skills…. This is also a good time to remember not to scratch the loneliness itch (or stress, boredom, or even hunger itch), with the wrong scratcher. I’ve run a bit of an experiment with some BR readers and friends who keep getting hurt on the sexual disappointment cycle and most of them mistook various different types of stress, as well as the knock-on effect of feeling inadequate or bored, for horniness.”

    This paragraph says it all. I could see me in this. once upon a time.

    Then I did get to a point where casual dating/sex fulfilled my “needs,” But this lasted for a brief time..
    I have come back to taking sex and my life seriously. I have been noticing as I fulfill the needs in my life (and I have a long way to go), I think about sex less. I do look forward to sharing that intimacy within the right relationship.

  4. Maelys says:

    How perfectly timely.
    Today I told my ex of almost 5 years, who I have been missing for 6 months since we broke up and who I’ve been trying to maintain a friendship with, that I would not sleep with him or maintain the sexual flirtation we’ve become so used to. I made the decision very consciously, saying “no” to the casual sex he offered, if he did not have any intention of reconciling.
    Part of me wants to take it back, and have that moment close to him, but I know I’ve saved myself a world of pain.

    • Lynn S. says:

      Good for you. I know that feeling of wanting that moment with my ex too, but after no contact for a long time it’s faded away. I’m just curious why you’re trying to maintain a friendship with your him? Did you have kids? Natalie writes about being friends with your ex and how it’s not a good idea, at least not until you’re over all your old feelings for him. Have you tried no contact?

  5. Vicky says:

    OMG, this: >>Just because someone wants to have sex and you haven’t had sex in a while or you happen to feel horny, it doesn’t mean that you have to oblige that person or follow your libido, especially if by doing either of these things, you end up negatively affecting your overall well-being.<<

    I came to that conclusion just recently–like, very recently. It seems so obvious to me now but I can't believe how obvious this is. It's like I thought it was just "human nature" and "normal" to sleep with someone on the first date because I hadn't had sex in a long while, they were there, and they wanted me. Omg, was I a fool! It didn't help that all of the people I was friends with during those times and the men I dated thought this was all normal behavior. It's like, hey, does a fish know that it's wet?

    The messed up thing is that I felt somewhere inside that this wasn't what I really wanted, but since it seemed so normal that everyone was doing it I thought there was something wrong with me.

    I'll always refer to this post, and probably read it several times a month now. ;)

    • Julie says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth. I just did this the other day for the very first time, and even though I told myself it did not bother me, it did I’ve spent the day feeling down on myself and lost in not knowing what the heck I want. He was there, I had not had sex since last year and when he brought up going to the bedroom I said what the heck. There was no emotional connection and not having that makes the whole experience of sex vacuous.

      I want to stop this approach to sex before I do it again.

    • NoMo Drama says:

      I’ve noticed over time how casual sex has become increasingly normalized in popular culture through movies, TV shows, magazine articles and other media.

      One blog I follow often has people writing in seeking advice from the comments sections because they’ve “hooked up” with a lot of people but have never had a real relationship, and don’t even know where to start if they want more.

      This is nothing so new. The Communist “free love” people aspired to an ideal where one’s desire for sex could be satisfied as freely and easily as “drinking a glass of water” as they often put it. You don’t have to consider how the glass feels about you drinking from it and then putting it down without washing it, however.

  6. Caitlan says:

    I’m so happy I read this. This has been such a hard lesson for me to learn. Thank you so much!

  7. Lacy says:

    Just read this briefly and I know this pertains to me.I thought a casual relationship would turn differently for almost a decade I endure much hurt and pain, miserable off and on still even now.I’ve had false promises, rings, then pushed off, then stalked for 2 mths, begged to be back in the situation then pushed off again to then be pushed off more in indirect ways.

    • CC says:

      Lacy,

      Time to let that one go! Wow, or ask him to marry you, but looks like you already did that. Good luck!

  8. Purple says:

    Hi Laura.

    You have to find other hobbies and interests. I know its hard, but everything will be okay. You will look back, in a year or two and realize this person who treated you like crap, disrespected you, blew hot and cold, future faked and disappeared and only reached out when he wanted to get some.

    You will see that’s he’s not that important and not worth the time. Trust me. Our time is too precious to waste our pretty on someone who doesn’t give a f**k about us. He’s that not special. Remember karma has no deadline.

    Find some hobbies like kick boxing, trying out some new recipes from a cookbook. I do a lot of stuff own my own. I go to movies, concerts, eat dinner alone. I’m fine with it. Because at the end of the day, we choose what makes us happy and feel good. You do not need anyone else’s approval. You write your own story, and if someone has a problem with it, they can f**k off.

  9. Ljsrmissy says:

    I do think in 2014, it is past due time for us as grown women to start being honest with ourselves! Its our time, energy, and bodies for goodness sakes. Throwing pearls to pigs and snakes in the hopes that they will not behave like pigs and snakes. And we will have been bitten, poisoned, and trampled over by the SAME snake/pig and we will hang around like ‘promise me you wont do it again’. See ladies we think we are showing how loyal we are or how good of a woman/catch we are when we stick around after deal breaking things are said/done COUNTLESS times. We are thinking ‘see how good I am, pick meeeeeee!’ He is thinking ‘stupid b….’ I don’t think we truly accept how different men and women are when it comes to sex. I think women are still under the impression that men need to like/love/fine attractive/want/see a future with a certain women in order to sleep with women or even date a particular woman. A man has NO qualms with sleeping with or ‘going with’ women, that in the back of his mind he finds overweight, not that attractive, or not that smart. I don’t think we women get it that guys will date a woman knowing at the start he would NEVER commit to/marry a woman of that particular race, religion, culture, height, weight, side of the tracks, and on and on and on. Women are in way too much denial. A man will get with a woman for her ‘services’ and not care much for her as a person. Many of us on BR wonder how he could leave so quickly and casually, well my dear, that’s because he was never really there. And many guys see women as at their disposal and as video games that they haven’t got a chance to play/beat….YET. Don’t believe me, ask an honest male friend what guys talk about amongst each other at the barber shop. Better yet, let me share a little with BR. Guys will show each other texts that women have sent them professing her love for him… they read the text and erupt in laughter. Certain barbers will have one women bring him breakfast, while another one brings him lunch. These barbers and the patrons laugh at these women as soon as they leave. Usually the woman is turning acrobat to figure out how to ‘make it work’ while he decided when he met her that ‘she will do for now’. He has no intentions on ‘making it work’, He don’t want it to ‘work’. He wants to keep receiving her services. That’s it. Like when someone is hosting and event with free admission and free pizza and soda pop, you will get people who simply show up for the free pizza and pop and could care less about the event itself. Too many of us ladies are dealing with guys who are around for our ‘services’ and the free pizza and pop lol. It is natural to have ‘needs’ but we women keep screwing ourselves over when we know we want commitment as well. Once we sleep with a guy, we have essentially told him whatever he said or did before hand was good enough! Stop breaking your own hearts ladies…

    • Pauline says:

      Ljsrmissy

      I agree with your comments 100%.

      Men and women are made differently when it comes to sex, what we do as women is take it emotionally and personally and men don’t.
      They don’t have to want a relationship or any kind of intimacy to have sex and if you say no they go, Okay, and move to the next woman, they don’t take it personally and they don’t get all bent out of shape over a no.
      Let’s face it, these days there are an awful lot of women who will say yes to sex even when they don’t really want to and end up doing that walk of shame the next morning, feeling like crap and wondering why the hell they said yes.

      Many years ago in my much younger days, I had a girlfriend who had a ONS with a guy only to find he told all his mates and the next thing she knew he had passed her phone number and home address (where the deed took place) around and she started getting phone calls and door knocks from guys she didn’t know who turned out to be friends of her ONS. She was furious, told them all to eff off, tracked down the guy and tore strips off him. He just thought it was funny.
      And that’s what these types of men think. It’s just a game to them.

      I forgot this after coming out of a 20 year marriage and getting involved with the AC. The dating world had changed and I didn’t have a clue. I hadn’t had sex for so long and I was hot to go, blinded by passion and jumped in without even wondering who this guy really was. I was the engineer of my own downfall.

      And this ladies is what we do to ourselves.
      We get involved way to soon before we know who we are dealing with – A, whether they really like us or B, are just hanging around for sex. If we can answer those two questions without falling in love/lust before we know the answer, we are going to save ourselves worlds of heartbreak with a string of men. I’ve dated a few guys since the AC, held off having sex, waited until I sussed out the A and the B and then said goodbye when the B answer was clear.
      It may mean I’m going a long time without sex but my self respect and the value I place on myself means more to me than being a plaything for a guy who doesn’t really care. I’ve been there and done that with the AC and have no wish to ever go there again.

      Man up ladies, change will only come when you change.

      • ljsrmissy says:

        “Man up ladies”………..Epic! Love it! Pauline you told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth lol. We women are very intuitive, but we set ourselves up like you said when we choose to delude ourselves… over and over and over and over. It is up to US and US alone to decide we are worth it and worthy. God created a WONDERFUL thing when we created women! In all of our kinks and quirks, what women and general, and each of us in particular, bring to this world can NEVER be quantified and qualified! We are invaluable and worthy of love, care, trust, and respect (thanks Nat!) Women are made for love. Its fuel for us. I look at it like this, either the people, places, and things, I engage and encounter either add or detracts from my life force energy. My feminine energy that I need to everyday life. When we choose and continue to choose guys who want our ‘services’ but not (and lets not kid ourselves, we know when a guy is just hanging around for the free pizza and soda pop lol) us we are literally signing off on the ransacking and pillaging of our homes, our mental, financial, physical, emotional, and energetic selves.

    • Lorraine says:

      Ljsrmissy,
      You are incredible for writing that. Spot on 100%. These ACs and EUMs could care less when it comes to sex. It’s a bodily function to them and pretty much anyone will do when they need to scratch an itch.

      I love what you said about the “barber shop” scenario. I could just picture it happening exactly like that. I’m beginning to realize more and more that if a man is really into you, there are no questions in your head, no reason to cry and wonder… No pain. You just know.

      I’ve never realized it before but I’ve been breaking my own heart with this AC. Thanks for opening my eyes.

      • Pauline says:

        Lorraine

        I have been seeing my own part in everything that happened with the AC for the past 4 months or so.
        I realised that when I met the man who hurt me very badly, I was in a very bad place after my marriage fell apart and I didn’t take the time to process the breakup and work through how I was really feeling.
        I was desperately unhappy and latched onto the first guy that showed me that I was still a smart sexy lady. He was my rebound guy and I couldn’t see it.

        One of the great things I like about BR is that it makes me look at myself, my beliefs and all the baggage that I have been carrying around for years. I recognise that I was EU at the time I met him with touches of my own assclownery thrown in. Reading through many of Nat’s posts, I was thinking, oh yeah, I do that and that and that too. Sobering stuff. I’m not excusing anything he did but I’ve recognised my part in everything that happened between us and how much I was the driver of my own pain and suffering.

        I’ve learnt so much from BR and all the people who post on here. I’m finally putting on my big girl pants and I’m feeling happy for the first time in years.

        I received a text from the AC a couple of days ago telling me he is going to live in the UK permanently (he has a lot of family there) and is leaving in about 2 weeks. I have agreed to meet him in town for lunch later this week (public place, plenty of people around or I wouldn’t go) and hopefully we can have an honest conversation and put this whole sorry experience behind us. No blame, no shame! We will never be friends but at least we don’t have to be enemies either.

      • ljsrmissy says:

        You are correct Lorraine. I had to learn, while I know that I am ‘special’, I also know for a fact that ‘the game’ is not a respector of persons! We women delude ourselves when we thing this our guy and our ‘situation’ is ‘different’. Men are just built different and a lot of times they just want somewhere warm and wet to put it at (and a live woman beats his hand) and everything he told a woman leading to that was just pretense. Trust me, if the average guy thought he could just be honest, walk up to a woman and say ‘can I use your cooter for 10 to 15 minutes’, he would.

  10. Meerkat says:

    This is so true. I was guilty of hooking up with the ex (who dumped me for someone else) who in the end just wanted sex. He was pushing to try again, future faking and I was non committal. Just said let’s see how we go. He flew to meet me in neutral places and actually woke me up on the first night for sex. At the airport he started back pedalling and that should have been it but I met him again. This time I was having second thoughts and told him this saying I need to look after myself etc and he said it was up to me….but off I went. I said I did not want to be seen as a good time girl etc and he said if he thought that he would not be seeing me. Anyway it was a week of basically putting my needs aside and when I did assert myself he did not like it. Also was not overly concerned I had an urinary tract infection and still wanted sex. There were also other things that he said that unsettled me. He played the game of being together until the airport when I asked when I would see him again – he then threw me under the bus big time, walked off to catch his plane and then cut me off completely. Yes, it opened up an incredible world of pain and I fell to bits again. I essentially lost my job because I had difficulty functioning and coping with the stress that this brought. He knew the difficulties I was having and how lonely and vulnerable I was and still am. I made some bad decisions for someone who I now feel wanted revenge on me (he blamed me for his relationship breaking up and a number of other things). Never again.

  11. Brandy says:

    Well basically my ex while we were together complained we didn’t have enough sex- he needed it everyday- can you say ‘that’s not love or intimacy’? That’s just sex- pure & simple. He didn’t love me he just used me. Anyway, when he started emotional abuse our sex life went out the window – and he wonders why- LOL I laugh now even though at the time it was the worst time in my life. With all this as background, he picked at me for a bit after we broke up- checking in here and there but he didn’t even try for sex but started with the ‘let’s be friends’- I think I dodged a bullet when I declined friendship because I’m sure he would have tried busting my boundaries some more looking for casual sex- I’ve seen this move before. It’s a slippery slope and all for their ego stroke while you may end up EVEN worse off.
    In my youth, I engaged in casual sex without being able to handle it but now I know better and stay far away. Because I know what I want & I’m not settling for less and anyone that tries better get out of the way!

  12. LostInNYC says:

    Again, Natalie read my mind!

    I keep having sex with this guy in the hopes that he will change and treat me better and give me the relationship that I want. I’m just coming to terms that I am a booty call and he will NEVER give me what I want regardless of how sweet, caring, giving, sexy, etc… I am.

    I’ve been trying to quit him every day since August 2013. I guess it’s better late than never. Right? My downfall is when he wants to hook up and starts blowing hot and then I think “Oh goody! He still likes/wants me”. It’s a viscous cycle that is causing havoc in my brain. I have to be stronger and stop giving into him even though I’m thinking “I’d rather he be having sex with me than anyone else”…I know…I don’t know if he is or isn’t.

    Thanks for giving me a place to express myself and to see that this too will pass and I will be ok.

    • Allison says:

      Lost,

      It’s time to block! If you do not feel you are strong enough to resist, at least he will not be able to get through.

      I have to ask what you get from all of this, as it sounds quite demeaning and painful. Girl, your putting yourself through unnecessary agony. Why??? You know what’s going on, and that he will not change, if anything, he respects you less and less the longer you stick around.

    • PhoenixRises says:

      Hi Lost,

      I can really relate to your situation–I finally broke up with my guy last week and it’s been tough. We have the same friends and there are several events coming up where I am worried about falling back into it, or being tempted.

      There is a part of me really struggling with the breakup because we never really defined the situation and I kept telling him I could not handle the stress of something casual. Now that he’s finally agreed to respect my wishes, my insecurities and desire for validation are bubbling up and I find myself thinking about him and wanting to pursue him again.

      I’m afraid of losing him, of him not wanting me anymore, or seeing him move on without me. The fact that I feel this way, however, reminds me how unhealthy the situation was in the first place, and how I don’t like what he (or the relationship) brought out in me.

      Anytime you feel tempted, think of this and it will help!

    • Einstien says:

      “I’d rather he be having sex with me than anyone else”…I know…I don’t know if he is or isn’t.

      He is.

  13. Sanntay says:

    I know this all too well. Thought I could handle it, was listening to my vagina and not my brain. Got caught up. The physical part was amazing, but after each encounter, my emotions run amok. I felt empty, used, duped, disrespected, discarded. Was callously dumped after several months, at least 90% over it now, a year later, yet whenever I hear or see the word ‘casual’ I still cringe.

  14. […] a level of predictability and consistency over short-term, casual affairs. In my experience anyway, there is nothing casual about casual sex. For me, it’s a rather fraught affair, pardon the […]

  15. Mike from Oztdslia says:

    Some wonderful points Natalie.

    So, from my “guy” my perspective? I cast no judgements on people who elect to have casual affairs. If your an adult you take responsibility for your life and actions. Be safe of course.

    Personally I’ve never been indiscriminate with my self or my heart. I’m not religious or hold old fashioned views on sex, gender roles or relationships. My own values about how I want to be treated and how I think we should move through the world – respectful of other human beings – influences my approach to dating and relationships.

    Following my recent split with a woman I cared for deeply several people, both male and female, said I should go out and run amok. I’m happy to abstain until properly healed and im in a better space. I’m not holding out for her, nor is it so much about a lingering sense of finality.

    I learnt many years ago after I had jumped from one relationship into another time is needed. When a break up is still raw you can make some very silly decisions. It’s about self protection – both of the body and heart.

    Of course we are free to do as we please as singles, but I don’t think that includes freedom to hurt ourselves or others. Without doubt if you rapidly cycle through sexual partners you are bound to hurt some one or hurt your self.

    I reckon at age 44 I’ve decided best to wait for the situation or person worthy of such intimacy.

    • Allison says:

      Mike,

      Thank you for your input. I wish everyone (men and women) had your perspective.

    • MaryW says:

      “We are free to do as we please as singles, but I don’t think that includes freedom to hurt ourselves or others” – spot on, Mike.

      • Mike from Oztralia says:

        Thanks for your comments, appreciated. I will say this “wisdom” has been acquired after quite a few mistakes and selecting the wrong relationships. This is why I’m a fan of the blog and Natalie’s writings – if you pay attention to life’s lessons you start to make better, more informed choices.

        That’s were I’m at the moment.

        • LovefromNel says:

          I absolutely agree too, Mike (from Oz – me too!). Your most recent comment is along the same lines of my favourite saying: ‘it’s only a mistake if you make it twice.’ The wisdom that has come from Nat and this blog (and our mistakes) has been priceless.

        • MaryW says:

          Another thing, Mike, I wish more people would choose not to “run amok” after a break up. It can be very damaging to other parties (and to oneself I imagine, though I’ve never been a rebounder).

  16. Peanut says:

    I’m twenty-nine. I haven’t had sex since I was twenty-two. Yup. Seven years. I don’t want sex with anybody who doesn’t love me.

    I’d love to have a healthy sex life in a loving relationship. I’m not even sure what that looks like.

    I am miserable, alone, and hurting. I’m trying to deal with difficult external circumstances and I just want peace.

    I want a safe, relaxing home–a sanctuary of sorts, to finish school (and not drop out due to stress), and have happy, productive work where I am around peers and am able to make enough money to support my basic needs adequately and comfortably.

    Is this possible? Are my expectations too high?

    I would rather have these things in order than a man or sex, though, yes, I desire a loving, caring relationship filled with sex.

    • Nigella says:

      Peanut,

      I will repeat the advice that was given to me last year by some BR posters that helped me push through the darkest days: please be patient. Having made a big change in your living arrangements, you are learning to adapt to new circumstances on your own. Instead of denying your painful emotions or using others to avoid dealing with your emotions, you are speaking the truth to yourself and us. I salute your honesty and respect you for making an effort to find remedies for your depression and loneliness. In this vein, you asked earlier what strategies some of us use to overcome bouts of loneliness and grief.

      (1) It helps to identify things that trigger such bouts. Do you feel lonely after you see a happy couple, a romantic movie? Or, when you want someone to console you about difficulties with your family? Or, when you cannot stop living in the past by thinking about your ex? Or, when you feel scared, frustrated, confused, and trapped due to your financial limitations? Or, do you feel lonely when you are unable to feel inspired and focused enough to produce more work? Do you feel lonely when you cannot share your interests, dreams, fears with another person? Is the loneliness more intense after you have not physically nurtured yourself with good food, sleep, exercise? Does the loneliness stem from comparing yourself to others who might appear to you to be better off than you? Is the loneliness a cover-up for procrastination of some sort? In other words, do you start feeling lonely especially when you are unwittingly or habitually trying to postpone or avoid doing something?

      Identifying the triggers is going to help you make small changes. Unless one learns to manage such triggers I doubt it is possible to combat loneliness. Slowly but surely, small changes will add up and lessen your sense of loneliness. For example, if thinking about the ex sucks away your time and leaves you feeling depressed, then you just have to tame that mind of yours. How to tame that mind? How to stop images of him from crowding your headspace? How to flush the fool?

      Last year, whatever spare time I got, I thought obsessively about the Liar – mostly I thought of the sublimely satisfying sex I had with him. Eventually, I just had to learn to replace memories of him with dreams of *my* future. To turn dreams into realities, I need to make clear plans in the present. So although I still wake up each morning with thoughts of his then-irresistible body, I have trained my mind to switch-off such thoughts and turn-on thoughts about what I have to *do* in the short and long terms. My eye is on the prize – the goals I have set for myself. I am aware of my emotions but I try not cling to them. Instead, I focus on my actions – the things I have to do to attain success in the goals I have set for myself.

      (2) It helps to remember the negative things you felt in company of the ex and others that have hurt you. Doing so has definitely helped me not to idealize the relationship I shared with the ex – 2.5 years as his friend, and 2.5 months as his girlfriend. If I catch myself replaying over & over again a good moment I shared with him, I consciously remind myself of the confusion and humiliation I felt due to his insensitive and immature behavior. I remember the loneliness I felt in his company – that loneliness affected me much more than the loneliness I now sometimes feel. If I am not with friends, colleagues, family members, it is so much better to be on my own than to be with a flip-flapper capable of ditching me for his friends and disappearing on me after receiving royal treatment from my parents at their place. I cannot believe I welcomed that snake into our nest. Simply put, I would rather be on my own than be with a snake.

      (3) Not everyone is a snake. So invest in people who actually bring out the best in you. Such people do not poison your life with their poor treatment of you. Of course, it is not easy finding such connections – but they are possible to find. Having taught myself to *be present in the moment*, I have learned to enjoy the company of several people I know but I still turn to stories about people – dead or alive – that have made positive contributions in our world. So I read autobiographies and see documentaries on people I find inspiring. In comparison to such inspirational people, the temporarily hypnotic effect the Liar had on me seems risible. Compared to them, he is just a run-of-the-mill lawyer dependent on his friends and parents for their approval. Yes, I no longer put him on a pedestal. This is so liberating.

      (4) In addition to controlling our minds, I think it is vitally important to take care of our bodies. However motherly or big-sisterly this might sound, I urge you to take good care of your physical health and appearance. Ultimately, the effort you put into this department has to make you feel and look great. Just try your best to be consistent and patient to see the results.

      Three weeks after I was e-dumped, I slowly got back into my routine of waking up early to workout, eating plant-based whole-foods, and playing squash or tennis on the weekends with people I like. Instead of sinking into that abyss of loneliness, I forced myself to get up and go. Reflection is important. But at the end of the day there is no substitute for action. So sometimes I played squash on my own and thrashed the hell out of the ball. This activity helped me lessen my anger at the coward aside from feeling less alone. There are many other things I had to do in order to *stop* dwelling on how hurt and hopeless I felt. For your sake, I hope you can find more things to do – some with others and some on your own – that can help take your mind off your depression and loneliness.

      (5) Desire more and doubt less – doubt yourself less. Yes, it is possible to achieve what all you want and more. Do not underestimate what you are capable of achieving in this lifetime. It is easier said than done but you do have the power within you to change yourself for the better. I feel a lot of respect for you for choosing not to indulge in sex for the past several years. Unlike you, I regret that I cannot say the same for myself since I have slept with more than enough people in the past decade. Getting a grip on my desire for sex has been a big challenge for me. Exactly what is it that drives people like me to have sex with strangers? Is it hunger for affection? Or is sex just a distraction from the tough calls I have to make at work each day? Did I miss out on love because I – unintentionally – chased after sex?

      I am not sure how to answer all of the above. For now, I send you my best wishes and hope that you never sell yourself short or settle for casual sex because of the loneliness you seem to be feeling right now.

      • LovefromNel says:

        Nigella, I know your response was for Peanut, but again I want to thank you for your clear methodical thinking and writing. I have taken much away from this, as usual. Thank you xo

        • Nigella says:

          Nel,

          Sadly, I have not had the time to keep up with my BR reading. I hope you are keeping well. Your warm & wise words are with me. I am glad my words can offer some insight to you.

          Sofia,

          I am sorry to hear of your pain. Do not give up on yourself. The optimist in me thinks that all of us can transform our pain into our power. How? By learning a few life-changing lessons and applying them to our relationships, all of us can make better decisions to determine to be or not to be with someone.

          Remembering the ex, I did shed tears a few evenings in the first few months of the break-up. But I did not think it was worth crying a river for him – so I somehow managed not to do so. I am sorry to hear that you spent a weekend sobbing because of your recent break-up. Here is a quote that helped me stay afloat. Perhaps it might be helpful to you too: “Do not just wipe away your tears. Wipe away the people who made you cry”. Erase him from your mind. Take your time to write a new script for your mind.

          Sofia, people who care for you do not do or say things that cause you to cry. If they do – unintentionally – make you cry, they stay with you to wipe away your tears and make you smile. This is what you deserve.

      • Sofia says:

        Nigella, I will be rereading your post, especially about controlling your thoughts and when you are still emotional and thinking of your ex. Last weekend (6 weeks postbreakup) I couldn’t help it. I just sobbed and was depressed. Couldn’t force myself to do anything. The weekend before was better. It seems that the healing and recovering go in a zigzag line. I read somewhere that grieving process is not linear. It goes up and down, up and down, until eventually the line up remains consistent and steady.

        Yet, as you said, although it’s good to be reflective and process your feelings and pain instead of burying them, it’s also important to get up and get in action. I work out, signed up for swimming classes, and am learning French again. And my daughter keeps me busy. Yet, last weekend it was my weekend without her (she was with her dad) and I barely got out of my apartment. I will try to make plans. Short-term, long-term. Goals to achieve. Actual plans that will MAKE you get out and do things. Force yourself to. You will still have time to reflect and cry, but you will need to get out and do action. Great post!

  17. Peanut says:

    Amen Mike.

    You are really very wise. I have a friend who engages in casual sex and though I envy her at times, I see she and I are very different.

    It just doesn’t have the same effect on her. And that’s okay. I don’t judge her or think she’s wrong (though I have told her she’s not going to get a serious relationship off the back of casual sex–So far I’ve been right), but I know I am different and have to adhere to that.

  18. Princess says:

    Hi Natalie.
    This is God sent. I’ve never been able to have casual sex. I’m 41. I recently broke up with my ex and have no urge what so ever to have sex with him. However my issue is all the men I’ve met so far are wanting sex within a date or two of meeting me. I used to get really upset until my relationship coach asked me not to take it personally. She said its because a lot of women will agree to that so these men will try. Then I started asking if that is the norm out there then why I’m i “different”? why can’t I just have casual sex? It made me cry myself to sleep last night. Then I read your article this morning. I feel better. It’s ok to be me and not try to “change” because it’s what everyone is doing. God bless you.

    • Allison says:

      Princess,

      Not everyone does this, and even if they did, it doesn’t matter. Ideally, I would wait three months – if I could hold out – before having sex. If the man could not wait, then he’s not right for me. If a man really cares for a woman, he will wait until she is comfortable.

    • Pauline says:

      Princess

      Most decent men who are actually interested in you won’t put the hard word on you for sex after only a few dates and then there are some guys will chance their arm and all you have to do is smile and say no.
      You don’t have to give a reason or excuse for saying no either.
      Your relationship coach is right telling you not to take it personally. It has nothing to do with your worth as a person, you have your own standards and they have theirs. Let them get on with their business and you get on with yours.

      You are not different for not wanting casual sex and who knows what the “norm” really is. I know a lot of ladies who won’t have casual sex with someone they don’t really know or like. That’s who they are and that’s who they are going to stay.
      Don’t believe men or women who tell you that casual sex is normal, for the majority of decent people with integrity it isn’t.

  19. Eliza Beth says:

    I’ve never been able to have casual sex. i always wanted it to end up being more.

    i slept with more men than i should have but only because i didn’t end up in a relationship, and so I was constantly lonely and looking!

    Had I abstained until I was with someone who really cared about me, I would have spent decades of my life celibate.

    Would that have been smarter? Yes.

    The whole thing just makes me sad.

    I never had any self-esteem to start with, although I didn’t know that. I was so damaged from my childhood that I picked unavailable men.

    And then as i got older, I still didn’t learn.

    Only after i found your website years ago did the light bulb start to go on about what a healthy relationship should and could look like, but even then I made a bad mistake with someone.

    Now i have a better relationship with myself, and much better boundaries, but I avoid men like the plague.
    I prefer safe rather than sorry and find my fulfillment in different things to be interested in.

    So no casual sex or sex at all for that matter.

    Looking back at one’s life you can see so clearly how your beliefs and choices shape what has happened.

    Best to you, dear Nat. You are an angel.

  20. MaryW says:

    Natalie, thanks for this post. I will read it a few more times and really digest your messages and thoughts. Very many thanks.

  21. LCB says:

    I was in a FWB situation with a coworker that ended about 7 months ago. Sad thing is, I didn’t fully recognize what I was really in until it was over.

    We were friends 2 years prior. I felt an immediate connection on day 1 of meeting him. I was 43 when the “relationship” started. He pursued me.

    I hadn’t been with anybody for 6 years and had only been with my ex husband prior to the 6 during our 18 yr abusive marriage. I met my ex husband when I was 13.

    I understood he wasn’t ready for a relationship at that time, but that he was not anti-relationship either. I understood he had other “friends”. He told me we would see were this goes, this gave me hope. I thought that’s the way these things worked. I told him I don’t have sex, I make love. I don’t do frivolous. That I feel things deeply and I don’t like to share. There was nothing casual about the “relationship” to me. I fell for him hard. I mistook my feelings, my love for his. He ended it “for my sake” after a year and a half when I wanted to talk to him for the 3rd time about boundaries and my feelings. I was crushed, my heart was shattered and I’m still picking up the pieces. I feel like I was only recreation to him, a pass time, I was convenient. How can you spend so much time with another and be with them as much as we were and feel nothing. That just doesn’t seem normal to me. I can’t comprehend it. I can’t relate.

    I know my pain is self inflicted. I get angry at myself for doing this to me. I don’t know why I did it…inexperience, denial…maybe both. I get angry at him for not seeing my value… for not loving me too. SMH…I know irrational.

    We see each other every day at work. I try to remain friends, doing lunch, laughing and talking. I still love him as much as I did then. I’m sure he knows I still love him, I have never been good at fake. He walked around from the first day it ended, happy go lucky while I’m in so much pain. I’ve put myself in such a horrible predicament and don’t know what to do and don’t know how to be ok, even though I know I will be. I’m ready to be ok. I don’t want to love him. I don’t want to hurt anymore. I’m not a masochist, even though you may not be able to tell from my actions.

    What’s bad is I know I would be with him again for the sake of feeling the intimacy from him if he would have me. I felt such happiness when I was with him. My rational side knows this is pathetic and it would never work. I know we are in two different places. I know he can’t give me what I want. I know this is for the best.

    I’m trying to learn from this. Who I am and what I want and need. That I cannot handle this type of situation. Look before I leap. I have regrets, yes. I know I had no business ever being with him. Although, I make no apologies for being giving, loving, a romantic, caring and compassionate person.

    I don’t know when and if ever I will be ready to try a hand at love again. I definitely can’t while I still have feelings for him. I would never want to hurt anyone the way I have been hurt. On top of that I don’t trust myself.

    Sigh

    • DunrobINE says:

      LCB,
      Hugs to you. Be compassionate with yourself. You’re living and learning….that’s what we’re all here to do. And there is no perfect. Your last sentence is VERY important. You said, “I don’t trust myself”. I urge you to explore that really deeply. See a counsellor if you’re not already. This is a big insight, and I’ve been there….I had to do quite a bit of work to figure out what that meant and what it looked like in my life…how it played out. I can tell you this, being able to trust yourself is a beautiful thing…worth striving for. Better than sex. “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live”. Good luck on the journey :)

    • Sanntay says:

      I felt your story very deeply. It was like reliving my situation. Admittedly, like you, I didn’t realize what the situation truly was until I was out of it. I hadn’t been with anyone in over a year before him, so when he ”put it on me”, as much as I tried to remain cool, and keep my heart out of it, I fell hard, and lost myself. All rationality (and my self esteem) went out the window.

      You said you two were friends for 2 years before anything happened. This isn’t how friends treat one another. He took advantage of you. It’s not doing you any good trying to remain friends with someone who has shown himself to be so uncaring and selfish. I know you can’t just cut off your feelings for someone, but you have to realize that if he isn’t reciprocating your feelings, and as a result you feel confused and hurt, you’re fighting a losing battle, and need to move on to someone who will value you and treat you with the care and respect that you deserve. No Contact is the best way. Read Nat’s books. Read the posts of others on BR who have been through the same situation. Post here as much as you need to. The advice here is amazing, and certainly helps you along the way.

      I know it’s difficult having to see him at work every day while he acts as though everything is normal. It isn’t, but you have to remain strong. No Contact is especially challenging since some communication is required in order to remain professional and do your job. But you don’t have to engage with him if it’s not work related. Don’t try to show him that he made a mistake, or how cool, worthy, and lovable you are. If he’s too arrogant or stupid to see that, it’s his problem. Besides, he has already shown you who he is, so why would you want to be with him knowing that he won’t change? You have to think more of yourself than you do of him. Ignore him. Kick him out of your life. Don’t give him so much power over your emotions. I know it’s easier said than done, but YOU WILL BE OK, it just takes time. (I’m living proof.) Take care of YOU. Good luck.

    • sue says:

      LCB

      My partner says I am very very special and he will always care and be there for me. But he isn’t always there. He has other girlfriends he sleeps with and I get so hurt by him. I try to understand him, he says we should both enjoy life and its experiences and just because he sees other women does not mean he does not want or care about me. When I am with him he makes me happy, he treats me well, is loving and caring and I would do anything for him. But I get so hurt when I feel he is with someone else. I have no other real friends and get very lonely, he has always made it clear he enjoys his freedom but he tells me I am very important to him which I do believe but don’t think I can carry on being with him. When I make love to him now, I feel so much competition. Our love life has always been great, but now I think if it was that great then why would he be looking for other women. I can’t bear the thought of him lying to me or having secrets, but then he does not deny seeing other women. I would never want to hurt him so why does he not realise how much he is hurting me? I realise he is a player, but can a player still care about someone?

      • Kathy says:

        LCB,
        Why do you care if he is caring, etc. Think about yourself first. You are totally blind with your own emotions. You are already hurting… You are in pain… And you still care, if he is capable of loving…He is not…When someone loves you, they will let you know.. Realize that you are more, greater than this man… Dont put him on a pedestal. Take care.

      • Allison says:

        Sue,

        Oh goodness! Why is this OK for you? This is not a relationship, and he does not care. He is a user! Im sorry to be so tough, but this is an awful situation, and you know how bad it is.

        You have small moments of happiness and then he goes on to other women. If he cared about you, he wouldn’t be with other people and would be having a monogamous relationship, but you know this. You’re making excuses, so that you do not have to make change.

        Does he ever take you out, or are you limited to the home?

        Sue, you need to expand your own life, so that you are not dependent on this man for happiness. Take some classes, volunteer, Meetups etc…. Do anything, to get yourself out and enhance your life. Next, and most importantly, you need to understand why this situation has been acceptable for you. Have you considered counseling?

    • Sophia says:

      LCB… I thought I wrote what you said!! You have a different story but similar feelings/circumstances/result. Exactly: how can one come around one year + and walk away so easily saying, “I can’t give you what you want.” The guy I was seeing said, “you are not the right person for me. and perhaps I am not committed either.” he said it himself and he did say it in the beginning (about being hesitant to commit. I should have listened!!!!!! He was honest!) I see you are 43. i am 36 and am ashamed to lose my reasoning. To fall in love like a teenager. So ashamed and crying over him after 2 months of breakup. You have to see him at work. This is terrible. you can’t maintain no contact then. This is really hard.. My heart goes out to you. I see I am not alone. I am feeling terrible all day today. Weekend is tough. You think about the fun times you had. The truth though is the fun part was bars, movies, eating out, sex. There was no real relationship and intimacy. There was none. I knew I was unhappy. I recognize it only now. What amazes me that someone can keep stringing someone along for a year because to him, I was nice, sexy , hot , convenient, not much fuss. Very convenient. Once I put an ultimatum, he bailed out. Fast. The only mistake I made is not recognizing all the trouble early one. My mistake was not loving and respecting myself, my needs, and wishes. That’s all. Besides that – nothing wrong that I did. I came to this conclusion 2 months after breakup. Nothing wrong I did to cause this. Nothing.

    • LostInNYC says:

      LCB,

      Your story is so similar to mine! This guy I am/was involved with…WAS! (I have to decide…WAS!)…is a coworker and I’ve been a booty call for eight months. It wasn’t until recently that I even admitted that I was a booty call.

      He pursued me (95% during work hours) and I felt a sizzling connection right away. He told me that he isn’t ready for a relationship because of his children but he “wants to see where this goes” and it also gave me home. I stuck around for nine months thinking “he’ll come around. He just needs time,” but he never will.

      Today is my second day of not texting him. I feel guilty because I feel like I need to explain to him why. I doubt he’s wondering why I’m m.i.a. and I doubt he cares for my reasons. Just typing those words made me teary and my heart hurt.

      I’m really angry with myself for 1) allowing myself to get involved with someone who clearly told me he doesn’t want anything serious; 2) for being so stupid and hanging around for nine months; 3) for not telling him that I’m not in it for fun and yes, I do want a real relationship; and 4) letting him dictate how everything goes and agreeing because “he’ll see how awesome/nice/caring/deserving I am.”

      It got to the point where I would dread having sex with him, not because the sex was bad…it was fabulous, but because I knew that after he left I would feel empty, alone, and sad and he would ignore me until he wanted some again. He’s was always so attentive the few days before sex. So chatty and responsive and I’d think “See? He DOES like me. He DOES want me!”

      I am not avoiding him at work and I want nothing more than to go to his office and chat. It will make me feel better for a few hours, but I end up feeling empty again. He will have major surgery in a few months and he will not be at work for about half a year. I want to squeeze all the time I can with him because I know I won’t hear from him when he’s out on medical leave, but I won’t.

      I too want this pain to end. I want to be OK with him when seeing home won’t make me want to cry. I want to be his friend, but I know that’s not good for me.

      We’re both trying to figure out how we got into this mess and who we are after it. I don’t regret what I did with him (because I had a crush on him for four years!), but I wish I placed myself before him. Like you, I don’t apologize for my feelings and what I wanted from him/us.

      I don’t trust myself either, so I know exactly how you feel. Girl, I’m rooting for you!

  22. NoMo Drama says:

    I probably could compartmentalize and detach from my feelings in that way that makes casual sex possible, but I don’t want to.

    • LovefromNel says:

      So well said NoMo! Totally agree. I’d like to add another sentence at the end – And I choose not to. (Choose is italics – not sure if that comes out on my computer!). I’m 28 and it’s taken me a good ten years to get to this sentiment. Better now than never though!

      • DunrobINE says:

        This is making my thinker-upper thunk. Right now, I don’t want to and I choose not to. But there is a big part of me that would like to be able to. I’m reading a lot about sexuality right now, and the conditioning that we are subjected to…part of which is ‘good girls don’t’….and that sex for the sake of pleasure alone is not okay. I’m exploring these beliefs and wondering if it is possible for me to hook up with someone that I feel attracted to and to have consensual sex with no expectation of MORE. It is possible. People do it and it’s been talked about here. Is it possible for me? Is it something that I can risk exploring? What’s the worst that can happen if I do and find out it’s not for me? Or what if I find out that it’s kinda nice, especially if I’m at a point in life when I don’t really want a relationship?

        Life is full of experimentation….finding out what we’re made of, what we believe, what beliefs we hold that we aren’t even aware of that sometimes our painful experiences bring into the light, etc. etc. etc. So many views in the comments….I am grateful for all of the great exploration and sharing :)

        • LovefromNel says:

          Hi DunrobINE! Thanks so much for your comment. I am certainly thinking now too!

          While I agree that women (generally speaking) are more emotionally wired, I also think it’s possible to hook up with someone you’re physically attracted to, and have no expectation of anything more.

          My issue is how I feel afterwards which is usually a bit crappy! So while I can be physically attracted to a guy and sleep with him for the fun of it, I do tend to regret it afterwards – but not because I was expecting anything more. Well perhaps I wasn’t expecting anything more from him, but I expect more of myself? Does that make any sense?

          Anyway, I hope I’ve contributed a little more to the thinker-upper thunking haha! You’ve got me thinking now too! Because I did sleep with someone on NYE and it was purely casual and I certainly didn’t expect him to start ringing me and asking me on a date two days later, but I still felt a little rotten afterwards. Something I need to work on – and perhaps it comes down to what you’re reading at the moment around ‘good girls don’t’.

          Thanks again for your reply.
          Nel
          x

  23. Sanntay says:

    My comment was for LCB. Sorry I didn’t clarify.

  24. Getting Better(I Think) says:

    This topic is dead on. I have been having the same one night stand with the same guy for 5, count them 5 years. Quick background: celibate for nearly a decade hooked up with a male friend with shady relationship past, and 5 years later it’s that same night everytime. I’m the friend between girlfriend. Sometimes it’s once a month, sometimes once a week. Once when I pressed the where-are-we issue, I didnt see him for a year. It wasn’t the sex; it’s just ok. It wasn’t common interest; we have nothing in common. It wasn’t money or education or looks; he’s lacking in all of those. But recently a switch went off in me. My soul teamed up with my heart and told my mind it wasn’t enough. Time to stop driving 60 minutes for 12 minutes of sex. Time to stop ignoring the woman’s wallet left on the couch. Time to stop feeling empty on the drive home, mad at myself for going in the first place, and anxious waiting for the call that won’t come until his girlfriend is busy. Enough. FYI, he called today, wanting me to come by tonight. NO THANK YOU.

    • Einstien says:

      GettingBetter,

      I’ve often wondered if any of his other victims were on here, and it seems like your circumstances fit. So, let me offer some insights from the other (girlfriend) side.

      1) You weren’t the only one, and I don’t think you were the one I caught him in bed with. She was only 30 minutes away.

      2) I wasn’t ‘busy’, when he was looking to shag someone else, he would start ignoring my calls, texts, emails. Barring that, he’d just stand me up.

      3) The ‘where-are-we’ talk? Yeah….I could never get a strait answer out of him either.

      4) I wasn’t his ‘girlfriend’, I was something he could use as an excuse to not be involved with any of the girls he was doing.

      I’m sorry you got hurt and I don’t blame you. Everybody who cares about him was a victim. Hope you rid yourself of him like I did.

  25. Mildred says:

    I appreciate this post so much, Nat. For many years, beginning in my early twenties, I tried to be casual about sex because it seemed that being a “good girl” was a bad thing. It didn’t help that I’d been raped as a teen and again in college, and was a single mother as a result of the rape by a guy on campus. I felt so lonely, so desperate for tenderness and love that I was willing to accept scraps from guys to feel better about myself. It took years for me to figure out that it wasn’t working because no one who was having sex with me “casually” was interested in ME. I had a warm vagina, and that was all they wanted. I slowly woke up in my thirties, and began erecting boundaries. I eventually married a horrid man, and had one final casual encounter with someone from my past when I left the abuser. It was physically pleasurable, but so emotionally empty that I felt sick. I hated that I allowed myself to be used. That was the end.
    I’ve been abstinent for a few years now, and while I occasionally feel sexual desire, I know I am worth the wait for someone who will love and respect my mind, heart and body. It took me until almost my forties to figure out that loving me is worthwhile. I don’t have to look for love outside myself. It’s very freeing. No more trying to figure out why “he” doesn’t think I’m good enough for more than a bounce on the mattress.
    Reading this post just puts it all into perspective. It was a painful journey, but I am definitely not able to be casual about sex, and that’s not a bad thing.

  26. NBH says:

    A while back, a guy I’d been on a few casual, intermittent dates with – fun, but not going anywhere – moved to a new flat a few doors along and asked me round ‘for a glass of bubbly’. I spent the whole evening with him, it was very nice, and then it got very late and he asked me to stay the night.

    I responded ‘Casual dating – yes. Casual sex – no.’ He babbled a bit (‘Who said it was casual?’) but I went home anyway. He avoided me for a short while after that, but these days it’s back to intermittent, fun dates which aren’t going anywhere. What’s not to like?

    The effect it would have had on my self respect and self esteem had I capitulated would have been far worse than being avoided for a couple of weeks. And who’s to say that wouldn’t have happened anyway?

  27. Sanntay says:

    Getting Better: OMG, I’m happy to hear your soul and heart have synced up with your mind. Please don’t waste another 5 years, hell not even 5 minutes, on this user! He has absolutely nothing to offer you. Hugs to you.

  28. Sophia says:

    I just now got it. At 36. We, women, can’t have casual sex. Sex is bonding. It’s intimacy. It’s communication. It is important. Men can have sex without even liking a woman much as a person. I mean, yes, they need to be attracted physically, but as a person, forget about it. We, women, are wired differently. That’s why we feel terrible after those one night stands either with strangers or ex’s from 1-10-20 years ago. I posted a comment today for the first time on another subject. I was devastated by the breakup. I told him (during the breakup conversation), “let’s have casual relationship, sex.” I am so ashamed of myself now that I even said that. My body and mind went into flight/fight , defense, attack mode. I couldn’t let him go that moment. So I said those words. He said – this will be wrong. I do want you but feelings will get hurt even more for both. There is no future for us, and continuing this will hurt us both. It doesn’t make any sense. This is an ok relationship to start out. But not after a year to go to that. He was a reasonable one and I feel ashamed. I said that on the spur of the moment though. After one day, I quickly realized , no way, I can’t do it myself. Hence 6-week NC from me and him. No word. No way I can have sex with him casually. It doesn’t work like this for us, women. It’s self-degrading. I agree with everything, Natalie said. And yes, about dating and sleeping on the 1-3 date – wrong. I had been doing this all the time. I don’t know if I will ever date again, but certainly now I know I want to get to know the person first for couple months at least before getting intimate. Sex is fragile for us women. Our souls are precious. Be careful….

    • LovefromNel says:

      Sophia, you have done really well with your 6-weeks no contact! Don’t worry too much about what you said when you were breaking up; your strong actions have shown otherwise. I really liked your second last sentence: our souls are precious. That is very true. I am sure you will date again; as will I. Sometimes things seem bleak but I think we just need to be grateful we’ve discovered BR at this point and surely things can only get better? Strong boundaries, and the ability to recognise red flags will ensure the next relationship is a good one (I hope!). I remember reading a comment on here by someone along the lines of ‘the next man I meet is one helluva lucky guy’. I’m very slowly getting to that point. But in the meantime focussing on me. Best wishes to you.

      • Sophia says:

        Thank you, LovefromNel. Yes, during the breakup, the moment of it, you are trying to hold on to anything, not even thinking (while he had already thought of everything and was prepared for the conversation). So your emotions blur any reasoning. It’s amazing, but I thought I was getting better. This weekend was and is so hard right now. I hope the next week will be better. Best wishes to you as well. I know months will go by and we will all feel better. I am so grateful for this site.

    • Getting it! says:

      I can have casual sex. And, I am a woman.

      The issue I work to avoid is mixed messages, either originating from me or from the other person. I have a lot of male friends with whom I could have casual sex (because we are friends and I like sex and it would be fun) but I don’t sleep with them because I know they would want more. Now, that’s not to say I am some crazy man magnet, but I am respectful of my friends and if I had a sense that it would create unhappiness for them, then I won’t do it. It’s not worth jeopardizing a great friendship.

      I’ve had men tell me that they love me, just to get me in the sack and I tell them that they cannot possibly be speaking the truth! And, I don’t sleep with them because by telling me a lie, they have disrespected me (as well as made an assumption about my intentions towards them). Seriously, if a guy just wants a shag, then I’d prefer to know up front and then I can make my decision with the full information before me. And, if I shag someone and they think I’m easy or a slut…well, I don’t really care what they think (or even what they say). I’m none of those things and I know it.

      I think, though, the opportunity to have really casual sex (where everyone is honest about intentions) is about as difficult to find as the right relationship! Needle in a haystack…

  29. Peanut says:

    I know this is going to sound controversial but it needs to be said. And if that is by me, so be it.

    Men are not a certain way sexually (or emotionally). The idea that men are mostly sexually driven and non emotional is untrue, unfair, and a bit, if not a lot, insulting.

    Yes there are anatomical differences, but saying men have a higher sex drive because they are men based on the testosterone debate is flawed.

    That’s like saying all men are taller than women. Um, no. Just as people (male or female) vary in hight, people (male and female) have different levels of sex drive.

    But that said, it all comes down to the individual person and values (this is not a gender specific issue).

    I personally know just as many women who value casual sex as men. And trust me, these ladies ain’t holding any secret desires for committment. They have their fun and move on totally unaffected.

    I know males (yes, in their twenties) who would never be down for the casual thing. They are either married, in monogamous long term relationships, or genuinely seeking to be. And these men are quite confident and robust (being clever business owners and managers and pretty darn fabulous husbands from what I can see).

    I have a high sex drive (agonizing at times), yet I have abstained for near a decade. Yes, most of my twenties. It’s a knowing me and values thing.

    My closest friend (in her twenties, as well) does things a bit (okay a lot) differently. She likes sex and has it frequently–with different people. There are no tears on her pillow or sleepless nights wondering why so and so didn’t call. In fact, she sleeps great; I am an insomniac.

    There was an instance when she “kinda” liked a guy she was casually sleeping with. I told her “not gonna happen–ever.” She agreed. And you know what? She’s kinda just forgotten about him in the midst of all the fun she’s been having with other men.

    I know another lady who appears to be very open to sexual exploration (geez, I’m even attracted to her). But she and I are on the opposite end of the values spectrum when it comes to sex. Mine are no better, just different.

    Fun is good, but I’d like a long term momogamous relationship that leads to marriage with a warm, loving man who wants the same. So, I’m holding out.

    Please do not write off men as unaffected sex crazed horn dogs (I’ve known quite a few ladies like that). I know generalizations can make us feel safe, but in this case, they are doing more harm than good.

    Men are not from Mars, and women are not from Venus. Last time I checked, if we are human we are from Planet Earth.

    Stop type-casting people you have never met (men or women).

    • Mymble says:

      Peanut,
      I agree.
      I think that many men are told so often that because they are men they must want to shag around. They do it sometimes because they think it’s expected or manly, but deep down they don’t like it much either and lose respect for themselves. They know they are settling for less. Companionship, warmth and affection are basic human needs and casual sex doesn’t usually get those needs met, for either sex.

    • MaryW says:

      I agree Peanut, but I think it’s fair to say that women bond or attach more than men after getting physically intimate. I suppose some women more than others (like me).

    • DunrobINE says:

      Well said Peanut!

    • Einstien says:

      I’m not advocating generalizations, but the physiological differences between man and woman alone were engineered to ensure survival of the species. Whether men ACT on it or not, they are physically predisposed to sex without emotion. Sex without some kind of emotional involvement is much more difficult for women. Those are biological differences, not judgements.

      I do completely agree that not everybody fits the boy/girl mold. I know plenty of people from both sides that don’t fit it.

    • mat says:

      Well said Peanut. And what you are saying does not sound controversial at all to me. Of course, you’d have to take into account that I am reading this as a man, differently wired and all according to the premise. This may also explain why I cringe every time someone belittles intimate acts with derogatory phrases on this site, while I perceive them as sacred and can barely find the right words to describe them.

    • Furry White Dogs says:

      There is more variation within the sexes than between the sexes. That’s why generalisations about men and women don’t apply to everyone.

      I once read halfway through the Venus Mars book and by their descriptions I was a man and my husband at the time was a woman. The person who loved it and found it useful in their relationship fitted the generalisations better.

      There’s also variation within one person. I was a happy casual shag around girl in my twenties but now in my forties can’t deal with it, (although my loins keep trying to convince me I’m still twenty!)

    • Kathy says:

      I think your friend (girl) has done it so many times that she becomes “numb” of what her inner voice is telling her. Just my opinion. Sex has a way of binding women to their partner. But if you do it more with different partners, you stop listening to your own inner voice. It is so loud and hard to ignore…

    • Pauline says:

      Peanut

      My ex husband and I were faithful to each other for the 20 years we were married. Sex being the cherry on the cake was the glue that bonded us intimately, emotionally and contributed positively to our marriage. It fell apart eventually because of his alcoholism but we had some great years together before that. He’d sown plenty of wild oats before we met and he was more than happy to settle down with one woman for the rest of his life.

      That doesn’t happen in one night stands and casual sex with many partners. I can’t help thinking that people who indulge in casual sex with many partners are emotionally unavailable and always chasing the next high, the next big thrill or conquest. There’s no real intimacy or closeness with a loved partner that brings it’s own quiet happiness.

      Most men and women do want a loving faithful partner for life but there are plenty of people who don’t.
      I’d rather hang out for the real thing than walk down the path of sleeping with every guy I meet, it wouldn’t work for me.

    • Nat Attack says:

      I agree, Peanut. I know all kinds of men and women. One of my closest female friends calls herself a “slut” and is proud of that term. She is 65, promiscuous, and proud of it. She puts a lot of thought into the fun she organizes for herself and her partners–i.e. talking about dynamics beforehand etc. And I have male friends who can only sleep with people they love. I think what matters is knowing what makes you feel deeply happy.

      The best casual sex I ever had was with a close friend. It was wonderful. It felt like a healthy (and temporary) extension of our friendship. But experiences like that are rare. Other than that, my casual encounters have been physically and emotionally disappointing. I don’t regret them. I just feel I’ve moved on.

      Sometimes I wish sex didn’t matter to me so much. But it does, and I just have to accept it. I think sex is amazing. I was always a shy girl in school, self-concious about everything and awkward. I always walked with my shoulders hunched over. How amazing it was to see that I could assert myself very naturally in bed. But right now I am waiting for the right partner…

    • noquay says:

      Peanut
      Yep, men and women often do have different thought processes but not all men are into casual any more than I would be which is not at all. I too have had women friends who seemed to be always hooking up with some random dude and lived that way for years. I do feel that many men will have sex with someone they do not want and fewer women do this without attaching, but I really think we have to take people on a case by case basis, use our BR senses, and if we are seeking a relationship rather than a hookup regardless of sex, keep our skivvies on until we are sure we are on the same page.

  30. Getting Better(I Think) says:

    Sanntay

    Thanks. No doubt he’s sitting somewhere surprised he didn’t get his Saturday Night Special. I stayed inside and read a vintage Jackie Collins(where one night stands belong).

  31. Peanut says:

    Mymble,

    Thank you! I can’t agree more.

    And I know way too many solid, happy and monogamous men to believe the hype that men are a certain way.

    To be honest, I know of more women into casual sex than men at the moment.

  32. Peanut says:

    I also wanted to say that stds can be a high possibility in casual sex (it’s part of the reason I abstain and another why monogamy makes so much sense to me).

    I get that the experience of sexual exploration is worth the risk for some. (I get/respect that). Though as adults, it’s really vital to stay educated and use condoms correctly and always if the journey ventures to casual sex.

    okay my psa moment is done.

  33. […] Check out Natalie’s take on hooking up. […]

    • DunrobINE says:

      Yeah….it’s hard to be casual about risks..std’s…who is this person?…am I safe to go to his place or have him in mine?….do I really want to pleasure someone I don’t love? and the list goes on. I pretty much know I’m in the “I can’t handle casual sex” camp. And I’m okay with that, except when I get really horny and wish that I could be in the other camp. But horniness passes…just like everything else. Staying true to me. I like the exploration more in the thought, discussion and reading way of exploring actually.

      • DunrobINE says:

        ….and sometimes, I think that some of my horniness is simply just loneliness in disguise.

        • Peanut says:

          DunrobINE,

          You bring up some very interesting points; I find myself being like yourself and finding too many unpleasant realities involved in the casual sex department. It’s frustrating sometimes saying no to what could no doubt be a pleasurable experience, but I just can’t deal with the backlash.

          And my rant about stds was off the back of coming across an article on antibiotic resistant gonorrhea. mmmm. Nothing makes abstaining until I’m ready for a man who shares the same monogamy value as I quite like a read on that.

        • Peanut says:

          DunrobINE,

          And you are right. I think my horny meter and my not wanting to be such a solitary human being meter get confused sometimes. A lot of the time.

  34. Noquay says:

    LCB
    As someone who was in a similar situation, albeit one where the AC hid his other, primary relationship with a woman who lived elsewhere, I really feel for you. It sucks having to deal with such people at work. Now for some tough love: one, you cannot ever be friends again, he has betrayed friendship and does not deserve yours. You need to be blunt, tell him straight out, then right into strict NC or as strict as possible under the circumstances. Two: his pursuing you means nothing. We assume that someone does something for the same reasons we do; nope, many folks pursue simply because they can. Three; I don’t know anything about your job or situation, but is there a way you can leave. I understand that high end jobs are hard to come by, as I am in that situation and older, if your job is one where you can find another at the same level, start quietly looking now. I say this because when you exert boundaries, confront him, things may get ugly or at least be very hurtful. He may demean you, make accusations, publicly humiliate you. This is what the AC did/does, hope you need never experience this, but it’s good to be prepared for this kind of fallout. We BR folk care about you, this dude really does not.

    • Cyrano says:

      Sorry Ladies, but I think it’s time for a little tough love. It seems like you all read Natalie’s posts,but almost none of you get it. I read though these responses and it sounds like the same complaints over and over. You might as well take one reader response and cut and paste it in for everyone else.
      First off, go back to Natalie’s comments about relationship insanity. If you reread your own posts and it says something like, “I keep meeting all these guys and I keep getting used… They are all the same losers, blah, blah, blah.” It isn’t because they are all the same, it’s because you keep getting caught by the same 10-20% of the male pool.
      I would suggest taking some time to read up on personality disorders, such as narcissists and sociopaths because these are the guts you are attracted to. That is why they can have years of sex with you and never feel anything… Because they NEVER feel anything! Why are you so attracted to them? Because they have all the character traits you’ve been programmed to find attractive. They are physically attractive, witty, dominate social settings, and know exactly how to string you along. And all of you are after this same 10-20% because they are THE GREAT CATCH, the challenge you’re going to win. And they know this. They’ve known it since the reached puberty and started getting laid the following weekend. Just because these are the only men you consider going after doesn’t mean there isn’t another 80% of the male dating pool out there, but why bother with them when you know your girlfriends will just make fun of you for settling… meanwhile your friends are doing no better, ha, ha, the irony. Of course, I’ve heard it said that a woman can tell in the first five minutes if she is going to sleep withe a guy -based on what, I have no idea- but that seems to be working out great for you, keep it up.
      A little tip, a real man isn’t going to pester you for sex, and he isn’t going to refer to it as casual. If you get either of these things, you should assume the next words out of his mouth are going to be: “and I have a cute puppy in my creepy van parked down this dark alleyway…”
      A gentleman, is either going to actually ask you out and try to get to know you, or back off if you say no. (There may be a second attempted if you try to be nice and come off as if it might be ok some other time.)
      Of course, that ‘gentleman’ may not fit your image of a real man. He may be to short, balding, pudgy, not in the height of fashion, etc.
      I find it interesting to see how long it takes for a group of women to huddle up and laugh behind some average guy’s back for having the audacity to approach them, never mind the amount of courage it takes to do just that. But maybe the next time someone comes up and actually tries to start a conversation without the flattery and BS wit, it might be worth it to see if he actually wants to get to know you, or just wants to get with you.
      So what do the other 80% do while your out being used? They get together, stream movies, eat pizza or Chinese food, play video games, drink beer and talk work or sports with their friends, and all those other uncool things…

      • Lilia says:

        Cyrano
        I don´t know what age you are but in my age-group (40s) the gentlemen out there are either married or gay or EU after a bad marriage – and not even for very long, as they will happily start dating casually as soon as possible. We here at BR tend to get involved with players or ACs because they are the ones who are available to get “involved” with.

        I have probably been attracted to the wrong types in the past – now I don´t because I´ve learned to see the red flags early on. In the past couple of years since I found BR I´ve been attracted to very different men, the ones I believed would spend their free time doing uncool things but they are all in a relationship.

        Hence our frustration. I honestly think I´ll stay alone for a long, long time, if not for the rest of my life.

        • Cyrano says:

          Lilia, I’m also in my 40′s and am out of a bad marriage close to 2 years and a very painful follow-on relationship that brought me to BR 7 months ago.
          I’ve learned tons of things here about my self and others from Natalie. She is very wise.
          As for my comments, I was speaking from personal experience as I have hung out with both Top Notch Players and really decent average guys.
          The fact that you think players and AC’s are the only ones to get involved with helps make my point. Divorce is above 50%. There are a lot more people available then before. But people relegate themselves to certain lifestyles. The guys that make themselves available at clubs and online are the ones that intend to prey on your vulnerabilities. The guys that have given up find there own lives without women, just like the women here talk about finding there own lives without men… with the expectation that they will be alone for a long time if not the rest of their lives… same coin, different face.
          However, if you come off as approachable (not vulnerable) I would bet you would be approached. Nobody starts the saying, “boy, I just love being lonely…”
          Oh, and casual dating doesn’t mean casual sex. It means taking the chance with a coffee or a dinner to see if the other person has a personality and can actually carry on a conversation, It should be to see if there is an emotional connection, not to see how quickly they can talk you out of your pants.

          • Allison says:

            Cyrano,

            Spot on!

            Lilia, I hope you don’t believe that all men are married, gay, EU or ACs. There are many good guys out there, but if you carry such a negative attitude, you will remain alone, or end up with another douche. Please change your thought process!

            • Lilia says:

              Cyrano & Allison

              I find both your comments to me quite condescending.

              I imagine Cyrano has some personal issue he is trying to turn into a generalization, some bad experience with someone who felt she was physically more attractive than him.

              As for me, I don´t have a “negative attitude” nor am I being like the Donkey in Winnie the Pooh, I just made a simple observation.

              • Allison says:

                Lilia,

                I wasn’t intending to come off condescending, I was simple making an observation to your post.

                “We here at BR tend to get involved with players or ACs because they are the ones who are available to get “involved” with.”
                “Hence our frustration. I honestly think I´ll stay alone for a long, long time, if not for the rest of my life.”

                From an outside perspective, this sounds quite negative. Personally,I have found that when I project a negative view, I attract undesirable people. I’m a strong believer in positive thought, people can sense that vibe.

      • Pauline says:

        A lot of us do get it Cyrano and are all the better for reading Nat’s posts.
        I don’t know how long you have been reading BR but a lot off the women who sound off on here are really getting their act together, in the meantime it’s just venting, getting rid of the dirty water on the chest and listening to other women who have a lot to contribute.
        While a lot of it is about men, there are also posters on here who have had a really horrific time with their families and have a lot of trouble picking up the pieces – so don’t be to quick to judge.

        • LovefromNel says:

          Hi Cyrano

          Your comment seems to be directed at many of us who’ve commented in this post, so I do feel the need to respectfully respond to balance out some of the generalisations and assumptions.

          I did not find the comments in Nat’s post to be ‘one and the same’ (you refer to them being ‘copy and paste’ in similarity) – in fact there seems to be, in my opinion, a wide variety of opinions on the matter and that’s the wonderful thing about this site. You can usually say something without being judged. We are all here living and learning and posting. Nat’s wisdom, along with the comments, is a treasure-trove for which I am eternally grateful. If it means that I sometimes appear as a broken record on the EUM, so be it. I could never imagine how far I have come, and I really have all the women (and men) on here to thank for that.

          So I do take a little bit of issue with your assumption that we are all superficial nasty women who are complaining about our history with men because we aren’t willing to acknowledge the gentlemen who “don’t fit our image of a real man [because] he may be too short, balding, pudgy, not in the height of fashion etc.” And while he’s busy asking us out, we’re sniggering behind our hands at his audacity? This is both insulting and unfair. Many of us would love to find this gentlemen you speak of – whatever his looks – but haven’t yet.

          And I am sure there are many women (and men) on here that would love to join the “other 80% … eating pizza or Chinese food, and all those other uncool things.” But unfortunately – through poor luck and probably combined with our lower self-esteem, weak boundaries, and downtrodden self-worth – we may be being used. But the very positive thing is that we’ve realised it, because we’ve found this site and we’re able to learn and share and listen.

          Please give us credit. As Pauline says above, there are many of us who have come a very long way – and do not deserve to be generalised or judged.

          :) Nel

          • RP says:

            I would not say that I agree with Cyrano completely but this discussion raises an interesting point about venting. I remember back in the day when some Ass gave me the eff and go treatment. I just came out of a bad relationship, so my weakened self was attracted to the AC immediately. His disappearence only made me want him more. Classic. I hardly knew the guy so I should have gotten over it after a week but I was destroyed for months. I would vent on my best friend on a daily basis. Then I was involved with another AC and I continued to talk about nothing else except him and the poor way he treated me. At some point she lost her nerve and told me that she is actually doing me a diservice by offering her ear and advice on a daily basis. According to her (she is a psychologist) I was using up her energy to feel better about myself. Refueled, I would then go back the AC to take more shit. I felt so insulted when she told me this but looking back (this was 7 years ago) I think there is some truth in what she was saying. I was so focused on my problems with the nobody, that I forgot to ask her about an important job interview she had.

            I am not saying we should not cry or never express our disappointments to our loved ones, but there is of course a limit and we should not forget that our friends/family etc. have their own problems too. Actually the more I listened to her and I mean actually LISTENED to what was going on in her life, the less significant the ACs became.

            • Cyrano says:

              RP, Yes, it becomes enablement, and I did it often with many female friends when I was younger and didn’t understand. Instead of helping it prolongs the misery.

              In response to lovefromnel, that’s why I opened with “tough love.”

              The best thing about BR is that it tries very hard to teach self-empowerment, but that can never take hold if you keep preaching defeatist ideas, like everyone is an AC/EUM/Gay or Married mantra, to yourself. You have already convinced yourself that you can’t win, why try…

              In addition, it is insulting and demoralizing to the decent guys that are out there, which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

              Decent guy hear there are no decent guys out there, they attempt to ask said female out, said female shoots them down, decent guy hangs with friends leaving said female to the AC/EUM prowling the waters, female goes home to avoid AC/EUM. End result, everybody get to be alone…
              Simplified, yes.. close to the truth.?.

              I also didn’t say women were all nasty, but I have seen and experienced the snickers on many occasions.

              What I was trying to say is give up thinking and worrying about the sex and just go out and have some fun. There is a bad Jim Carrey movie called Yes Man that provides a good lesson for this.. open up, say yes to more opportunities, and create your own good fortune.

        • Antsy says:

          Hi, Cyrano,
          I see what you’re saying about women who pass up men who are short, balding and pudgy. It IS shallow.

          However, these same men don’t necessarily approach pudgy girls & they’re shallow too – they want the hottie, but are disappointed when they don’t get her.

          I don’t buy that all typically attractive guys are jerks and all typically unattractive guys are nice guys. I’ve run into a variety of combinations. True, an attractive guy has a lot more options to play with and that can lead to greater assholery. However, I did meet up with a man whom normally I’m not attracted to – I thought I’d expand my horizons and give him a shot. On the page he sounded nice but he wasn’t.
          I’ve also met men who were hugely attractive men who were very gentlemanly.

          Besides it’s a bad idea for people to settle for people merely because the person they chose won’t hurt them. Once you’ve agreed to be with the person, the dynamic changes, good-looking or not. Some nice guys often just are too afraid to stick up for themselves, and are pushovers until you end up in a relationship with them.

          The whole point is not to settle for something convenient be it casual sex or someone you feel won’t hurt you or dump you because he has no other options. Both are bad scenarios.

          Case in point, my friend’s boyfriend is physically unappealing – pock-marked, overweight, etc. My friend was very pretty, much better looking that me by a long shot. Unbeknownst to her, he hit on me. So, yeah . . .

          • noquay says:

            You bring up excellent points. Yep, we all want what we want and double yep, it is hard to force oneself to become attracted to and respond to, someone you plain have no attraction for. The generalization that men that are less attractive are gentleman just needing to be given a chance is just that, a generalization and a not very accurate one either. one of the most hateful, negative, back biting, women hating man of my acquaintance is an overweight, short, very unattractive man. I feel sorry for him but avoid him: being treated as unattractive has made him a very bitter, angry, and defensive individual. I dated a much shorter, much less educated man than I and he would constantly cut me down about both my greater height and the fact that I held a university position. And yep, he thought he “deserved” a woman with both great looks and much more money. In contrast, there are attractive men (alas married) in this town who are perfect gentlemen. I also feel that rather than chide one about perceived shallowness that we need to understand that many of us choose or not choose partners based upon past experiences, current lifes issues, and lifestyle/values. I am given a lot of crap by folks here (this town) because I do reject men are unable to support themselves, men that are in poor shape by choice, and yep, sometimes men that are a lot shorter. Why? the shorter dudes lied about their height. I am a very active person living at high altitude; there are very few hefty guys here because it is impossible for them to live here, even if theyre totally sedentary. I currently support a parent who is chronically ill due to obesity. He just had surgery #14 this week. I simply cannot afford to support anyone else, nor ever again wish to see an overweight loved one suffer and slowly die due to bad choices on their part. His mother, also obese chose to go blind and die of diabetes rather than exercise and stop overeating. Saw that too. Kind of like marrying a smoker only to go through lung cancer with him. Yep, even the healthy get sick (my ex husband had cancer and I stuck with him)but somehow chronic problems due to poor life choices are harder for me to deal with. Maybe because I am very disciplined myself-I dunno. Believe me, bad lifestyle things catch up to a person around their 60′s and it aint pretty. I never want to take that sort of trip again.

      • lizzp says:

        “I find it interesting to see how long it takes for a group of women to huddle up and laugh behind some average guy’s back for having the audacity to approach them, never mind the amount of courage it takes to do just that. But maybe the next time someone comes up and actually tries to start a conversation without the flattery and BS wit, it might be worth it to see if he actually wants to get to know you, or just wants to get with you.”

        Cyrano, In the same way that you assume that the majority of women on this site are on lather, rinse, repeat with the 20% of EUs and ACs supposedly out there, the attitude to women you betray in the above portion of your comment serves you no better in finding an emotional available female partner. Please think about changing that attitude. I’m not sure where you pull your figures from re these percentages by the way but maybe you will understand if I put it in these terms for you:

        You enter the dating scene seeing yourself as an ‘average’ nice guy who wants an ‘average’, open, approachable and available woman…yet you go out there with the attitude/expecting that women will “…laugh behind some average guy’s [ie your] back for having the audacity to approach them, never mind the amount of courage it takes [took you] to do just that.” And when this average, nice guy “…actually tries to start a conversation without the flattery and BS wit”, the women he approaches won’t consider that “…it might be worth it to see if he actually wants to get to know..[them]…, or just wants to get with…[them]…”

        Cyrano, come now, consider fixing that attitude! The women you refer to are (again using the language of percentages) the 20% bitch/shallow/EU of the dating pool. I totally agree that we attract what we expect.

        • Cyrano says:

          Sorry Lizzp, I never said expecting, this is witnessing. These aren’t hypotheticals based on movies.
          For example, about a month and a half ago, my married neighbor was out with a few divorced friends, she introduced me to. I spent my time talking to my neighbor, but another guy I know sitting close by heard their conversation and tried to join. The goofy/bitchy looks on the faces of the ones out of his field of view said it all. Any possibility of me asking my friend if any of her girls might be interested in going out ended right there. I’m also sure I wasn’t the only one to notice…
          Who might still approach them, some guy that waits until they’re drunk enough to get some action because he has nothing to lose.

          As for me, personally, after my divorce, I’ve been called fearless (a simple rejection could never cause as much pain as my Ex). I will walk up and talk, dance, joke with anyone regardless of age, looks, size, because I’m interested in getting to know people.

          Oh, and the psych publications put about 4% of the population as Sociopaths, and about that number as NPD. I doubled it to include the general Boarderlines and alpha-male a$$es that don’t quite make it to certifiable. Just a rough estimate.
          But I think you are right. My track record would indicate I hit that 20% often enough. But it hasn’t stopped me trying… yet.

          • lizzp says:

            Cyranno.
            “My track record would indicate I hit that 20% often enough. But it hasn’t stopped me trying… yet.”
            Yes. One thing I realised about the self fulfilling prophecy is that it is not really conscious – by definition. Our deeper. self defeating beliefs can often lie under the things we consciously do and say about ourselves, and send us in directions that are not in our best interests.

            • lizzp says:

              Which is why it’s so integral to address these beliefs,not ignore, externalise, over focus on others. Own what’s ours and let others own theirs. This is very, very hard work and takes commitment and being emotionally available to ourselves. I struggle on in this regard but am definitely becoming more consistent in my commitment to me. There is nothing like the feeling of groundedness and wholeness, whatever outside circumstances, that comes with this.

            • EllyB says:

              Yes. I’ve met some guys who were twice my size, 20 years my senior and very sloppily dressed… and who would refuse to talk to me because according to them I was “too fat”, “too old” and because my outfits weren’t “sexy”. In the past such people drove me crazy. They made me hate all the men in the world. They made me hate myself as well.

              The thing is… if we give so much power to people like that, THEY WIN. It shouldn’t even matter whether they make up 20% or 90% of the population. They aren’t worth it anyway.

            • Elgie R. says:

              I just want to say thank you, lizzp. I think you have pointed out to me why I am living a limited life……I have deeply ingrained limiting beliefs about myself.Until I change those, nothing major is going to change for me.

              Ungh.

        • Allison says:

          Lizz,

          Great observation! Goes both ways!

          • lizzp says:

            Alison,
            Thanks. I want to take this opportunity to tell you how much value your comments on the blog always give me. I admire your knowledge and ability to say what you mean. Keep well!

  35. Laura says:

    This is a really wonderful post. I wish more girls could hear the thoughts you express here. Many young women have a hard time trusting their own intuition and heeding the warning signs. Those feelings are there for a reason. I had to cross the 30 year old threshold before I started listening.

  36. Peanut says:

    Natalie,

    I can’t thank you enough for how much care you put into this blog.

    I tried commenting on another and was appaled at the heinous responses. Lesson learned.

    Thank you. Thank you.

    And of course I respectfully stood up for myself and bowed out. Geez. Nutty stuff.

  37. Rosie says:

    A long time ago, I was reading up on sex addiction as I thought maybe that was what I was up against with the guy who brought me here. Having barely dated him, who knows, but I came across an acronym (right term?). It was a long time ago so don’t know if I’m remembering it correctly but: B.L.A.S.T.-Bored, Lonely, Anxious (Angry?), Stressed, Tired.

    Funny, I’m feeling all of those &, yes, I’m quite horny today. Hmm…

  38. nyer1 says:

    I’ve been having a casual relationship with a man for the past 7 months. So far, things have been going well. We see each other once a month and spend the weekend together. Aside from having lots of sex, we also go out on actual dates. He even took good care of me when I had a stomach virus one weekend…even held my hair back when I puked. I know he sees other women, but as long as he treats me with respect, it doesn’t bother me. I am not in love with him and wouldnt want a serious relationship with him due to a significant age difference and various other issues. I am also free to see other men and am at a place in my life where I don’t want children and am financially independent. I am not desperate for a relationship as I am happy with myself and enjoy leading a life where I can do as I please without worrying about how it will effect my partner. I do not need a man to make me feel complete.

    Ladies, if you learn how to empower yourself and build a lifestyle that makes you happy, you will realize that men aren’t so important. Stop revolving you’re lives around them and focus on building you’re own happiness and self-esteem. Then go find a partner who is worthy of you. Or even a casual fling as long as you’re treated with respect. Always be honest with yourself and if you find yourself developing feelings, which are not returned, move on.

    • kookie says:

      nyer1,

      i wish i had your superpower! if i could be you i wouldn’t be here at all. i was seeing a very respectful but EU man and although my EU self would have been fine continuing on the lower rung of commitment ( see each other once a week, , nice non sex dates, relationship lite etc), i just had to admit that i just would never have been comfortable sleeping with someone who had me on rotation with some other people, or putting someone else on rotation.

      i don’t need to be the number one thing in a man’s life.my career-focused self would not mind coming second to a man’s work or other life goals(for now). heck, i am not ready right now to make a man the number one thing in my life , but i aint gonna lie i’m not willing to be anything less than the number one and only vagina in his life.

      a man’s committment is not top of my list but i doubt i’d ever be able to hypnotize myself out of liking monogamy; just how i am , for better or worse.and although i like the idea of avoiding vulnerability right now i think i’m more open to just waiting for a real relationaship and risking it than continuing the uphill battle of finding someone who’s idea of “casual” has all the things i like(real dates, emotional connection but no real responsibility towards them) and none of the things i don’t like (multiple sex partners). i think casual arrangements are more for people who can think the way you do, mine would have so many specifications i might as well look for a real relationship ;it would be just as hard to find.

      i think what is empowering is exactly what you say, being true to yourself and putting your needs first but i think when i was younger i thought being empowered was contorting my natural intuition about stuff to be more “modern” or “liberated” and then feeling awful that i wasn’t able to “empower” myself and not care about men wanting to sleep with other girls when they otherwise gave me a lot of good things and always respect. so yes, empower yourself women, but remember that that means something different for each of us. it sure as hell is NOT empowering to contort yourself to anyone else’s view of what you’re supposed to want or expect or value.

    • lizzp says:

      nyer1,

      Your points about empowerment are valid in my view and kookie’s reply to you re what ‘empowerment’ should actually refer to is very important.

      I do want to question this statement “…and enjoy leading a life where I can do as I please without worrying about how it will effect my partner.”(am assuming you mean your sexual partner/s of the moment). I wonder if you have discussed with this man exactly what his relationship situation is outside his casual encounters with you. You do mention that he is free to “see” other women, which suggests he is single, but I’m not sure if you are simply referring to the theoretical construct, so to speak, of your arrangement. The rigidity of your arrangement – the once a month on a weekend- suits both of *you* but this arrangement does raise the question in my mind of whether he is in a relationship. And with that comes the possibility of his cheating behind her back and you being the OW (or one of several OWs). For all I know you may well have discussed this with him already or otherwise be aware that this is not the case. In that case, great! If not, if I was in your shoes I would do so because whilst it is important to me that I satisfy my own needs and do as I please, the ‘as I please’ bit is conditional upon not ignorantly or knowingly doing so at the expense of others. In this case that would be others beyond your regular monthly sexual partner as you make clear that he has no problem.

      • lizzp says:

        nyer, whoops have noticed that what you actually say is that you “know he sees other women” so perhaps my point is moot and you are satisfied that he is single/limited to casual dating/sleeping with other women.

        *************************************

        I’m like Kookie, in that I am not empowered through a situation where I am aware of being one of several vaginas. Equally it doesn’t add to my sense of agency and empowerment to spread myself (pardon the pun) around several different penises (have several different sexual partners on the go at one time). In a nutshell I don’t do sex without intimacy and a relationship. If I go to bed with someone it will be to make love.

        I can see, however, that where a ‘casual’ (in inverted commas because to be honest I do not understand this term, having a casual attitude towards sex maybe?) arrangement works for two people, neither should be obliged to feel responsible for what they cannot control outside of their arrangement ie the feelings, dreams, mistakes, etc of any other ‘casual’ partners are those people’s responsibility. And as Natalie says, if people do not feel casual about what they are doing then it is not casual and they are responsible for exiting or opening a discussion on exclusivity.

        Having said that I could not be happy, be myself and live in an authentic and emotionally available way if my ‘sex life’ was compartmentalised in my head, when in reality my private sex life might be sending out ripples into other people’s lives. People I don’t know and have never met.

  39. Dancingqueen says:

    I am almost two years celibate and I have not even met anyone in those two years that I was really tempted by…I wish that I could say that I miss sex but I don’t! I think that it is hormonal…I am 47.

    That said, in my early 20′s I went through a several year period of sleeping with people easily…sadly it often was not due to desire…guilt for not wanting to be accused of being a tease, fear of not connecting with someone that, frankly, I was not often even crazy about myself, fear of being alone…all these things made me choose to sleep with someone. I remember once literally feeling sick after, due to anxiety and regret: never again lol!

  40. Rosie says:

    Getting It!- Doing this by phone. This is in response to your statement about honesty in casual sex and how it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. I agee! The thing is, with casual, you never know if the honesty’s there even if you’re being honest that it’s casual. When I had the ONS, I knew it wouldn’t lead to a relationship & he knew that I knew so I thought I had made an educated decision so handled it fine, which surprised me.

    However, I recently discovered that the guy moved out of state. What does that have to do with this, you ask? He moved out of state to pursue an educational goal, a goal I had asked if he was pursuing or still thinking about. He had told me he was still thinking about it. If he’s now gone, he must have had already applied at the time I asked him about it.

    Not that it matters now but we both knew a relationship was not on offer, so why the deception about something like that? Was he planning to keep me around as a blowup doll then toss me in trash on moving day? I won’t ever know as I said no the next time he came around as I’m not ok with whole using/being used scenario. I’ve come to agree with my friend that casual sex is lying to somebody with the body. I’m not a blowup doll and he’s not an escape from my life being all up in the air. Casual sex is a symptom of and a training ground for being EU.

    • Getting it! says:

      Rosie – it seems, to me, that you are inferring and guessing at time lines with your casual guy. If you both knew it was a one night affair (which, by the way, not all casual sex is a ONS) then his thoughts about his personal goals are his own private business. He doesn’t owe you the unblemished truth about every aspect of his life just because he’d like to sleep with you. Or, it may have been a decision about his future that he was, at that time, not entirely sure about. He is allowed his boundaries, as well.

      But it does illustrate the point that, for some people, casual sex is not something they cannot comfortably participate in. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

      As well as, for some people, casual sex (in the right instance) is not such a problem. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, either. And it certainly isn’t a ‘training ground for being EU.’ A person is EU, with or without sex being involved. It is important not to conflate one idea with the other.

      By this I mean, have I dated EU people? Yes. Were these EU people only EU within an intimate relationship? No. An EU person is unavailable in all aspects of their lives – work, friends, family.

  41. Elgie R. says:

    Men and women are made differently when it comes to sex….not sure I believe that.

    Men and women are JUDGED differently when it comes to sex….that I believe.

    A booty call is one rung above a one-night-stand. Women and men who accept booty calls with hopes of it turning into a “relationship” need to STOP doing booty calls and start going after the relationship they really want. Which requires change, letting go of the familiar person. I think the majority of BRs who are in pain are guilty of trying to turn a booty call into More. Even if he takes you out before sex….if sex is the main reason for getting together, it’s a booty call.

    And as one BR poster wrote – if you want a booty call relationship, then own that. I am a woman who is OK with sex not leading to marriage or even “boyfriend”. Emotionally disconnected sex works for me when I have only a slight mental or physical attraction to the man AND the man has some awesome sex moves. Then I can come and go…….so to speak. But lately, the last few years, I have had my issues relaxing with non-emotionally connected sex. At this point in my life, I am interested in emotional connectedness.

  42. Noquay says:

    Cyrano
    Narcs, sociopaths, the chronically irresponsible come in all shapes and sizes. I have dated incredibly narcissistic men who, believe me, had nothing to be narcissistic about. It’s true, the good looking, more functional narcs get away with it a lot more often. While I treat an “average” dude with the respect and dignity any person deserves, if I am not attracted, its no go. I do not do casual under any circumstances. While many men can and do have sex with women they’re not even attracted to, most of us chix cannot respond in any physical way to someone we do not want. This is good; who wants to be a guy whose girlfriend is going thru the motions but really wishes you were someone else? Not fair to either party, eh? Now, time for my tough love: like the previous post stated, a good many of these gentlemen sabotage themselves. Not much you can do about hair level, height, but things such as weight, lifestyle, appearance as to dress and hygiene are fixable. We women are constantly told to up our game, stay in shape, look and be our best. Men need to do this too and also understand not only the demographics of the available female population but also a realistic sense of what they can draw. Since the horrid situation with the AC, I have been approached by a numerous men both locals and on line dudes. I turned them all down, quickly and politely. This may make me look like a picky snob in the eyes of many. Yep, most acted like gentlemen, none of them made Noquays heart go pitter pat. Why? To a man, all were financially irresponsible, one even was supported by a relative. Two wore the same dirty clothes for multiple days, one was very anti education (note: its OK to hate education but maybe trying to woo someone with a doctorate is not a good choice, just saying), a number were in bad physical shape, two in recovery from addictions. It is known locally and I make it clear on line that I am very fit, active, and anti drugs. What made these dudes who they are was not the recession, some economic collapse, but is a result of their own personal choices and attitudes. Just as we women pay the price for our life’s choices, so too do men. I realize that this whole region is kinda made up of economic refugees of one sort or another; this is why I have chosen to avoid locals, stay away from on line while remaining here, and focus efforts on visiting racers and other out of area guys. I am not saying, Cyrano, that these dudes are evil, but that they, no matter how polite, have made choices that render them poor relationship material.

    • Cyrano says:

      I’m sorry, who’s told you to up your game?? Magazines, fitness guru’s, the same Narc/Psychos that are looking to destroy your self esteem so they can have better arm candy till they upgrade to something new and better???

      It does sound like you have had more than your share of.. shall we say lack luster suitors (not sure what region you’re in), but…
      You really have to see the women that my friends and I have dated and/or married… height, weight,clothes and extreme fitness hardly come into play.
      And we are all accomplished professionals with our own homes, cars, clean clothes, hobbies, graduate degrees, etc.

      I do applaud you for making the effort to find out the details before coming to a conclusion. It’s giving others and yourself the chance that really matters.

  43. M says:

    For me, the sex I enjoyed most was ALWAYS with the woman I loved. I tried casual, and that was not very interesting and I felt like it was almost mechanical. Also I would describe a category called “semi-casual’, this is when you kind of like the person as the person, a friend, but see no future, or sometimes you think it is a possibility but then things happen that make you think “nah, not what I want”. This is the most difficult one to shake off. I think this is what creates EU/AC behavior, because it is kind of nice and fills the void but not what we really want.
    I agree with Cyrano that women could be more approachable to create more chances for men who are not typical player types. Now, by ‘player type’ I mean somebody who has the social skills to boldly approach and entertain a woman he just met. Many men don’t have that skill, or it sometimes happens naturally when we are relaxed, on vacation, fell confident, etc. Sometimes I see a woman I like but have no idea how to just approach her and talk. In fact, women are not comfortable when being approached by strangers. ‘Players’ have the natural gift of approach, which is why 20% of the available men tend to get attention of most women. These are just my thoughts. The women in my life gave me a way to approach them, there was something in the situation which created that chance. Question is how do we create more of those chances that we all find what we really need. I think EU/AC behavior is due to the fact that people are not confident they will meet someone else anytime soon (or ever), so they cling to something they already have, but not exactly satisfied with (better something then nothing). I think our society becomes more closed in general, people are not as approachable, plus we have many more distractions to fill the void with: TV, social networks, all sorts of activities and people take this “self-love’ position and hold out for the ‘right guy/girl’, so they never give anyone a real chance. Perhaps it has something to do with age as well. I notice I became less optimistic with age, having been though few relationship failures. I can’t say I want casual sex, but do crave companionship. I am still young enough (40s), have a lot to offer to a woman, and yet haven’t really fallen in love with anyone. We all want that feeling of being on love, don’t we? And that seems like such a random thing. Methodically developing a relationship seems to be working for some other cultures (mostly Asian as I observe). Our Western world is driven by pursuit of romance, and we like it that way, this is what we are looking for. Casual sex is not romantic, it is like masturbating with a person. Some people are ok with it, I guess. It may be pleasurable in a moment but when it is over, yo just want to go home. So all of you ladies who wrote about a guy who did not want to stay over: that’s is probably why. If a guy likes you, he will want to stay over.

    • Edy says:

      Hi M,

      I thought a player is one that has the ability to string women along, not one but many. Approaching a woman out of the blue does not a player make…players are pretty much the assclowns we always discuss here. Involved in ongoing situations or pseudo relationships, just giving enough of themselves that the woman keeps the hope alive for more…which never comes. No commitment, no monogamy etc.

    • Cyrano says:

      Excellent post.

  44. Brenda says:

    As the song goes by Hall & Oats..”I can’t go for that, no can do.” It would been nice had there been a such thing as really mature, and getting really respected afterwards sex with casual sex? But that never ever happened for me..Sooo no can do.

    Honestly, one of the reasons I think that I chose celibacy for years was just to make myself so spiritual cleansed from from all of it, that the only other option left to consider would be “I can’t go for that.. Ever ever again.” becasue to fall into that trap? Fop me would bring me filth on me all over again, and NOW that I invested all this time staying clean? it would feel like an absolute betrayal on myself to accept anything like that again, It never worked for me.

    Just gotta really work on on having 100% faith in my abilities to trust myself, and to run myself.

  45. Wendy says:

    My ex and I never made love, his choice, but we did other things leading right up to that and stopped…I loved him though and kept invested in the relationship. He turned around after 1 1/2 years and said he couldn’t take it all on??? It puzzled and hurt me because I LOVED him so much I was willing to wait…Now I feel like a fool…He told me it was because he felt like he was losing his own identity being so close to me and felt if he kept the sex out of it, he would have some sort of control, but it all came to my expense, hurt me…It also made me wonder if he was the opposite with other women that came in and out of his life before me or during our relationship (who knows)…he would keep them casual and have sex because there was no emotional intimacy involved. That’s just speculation on my part, but either way, I’m hurt by him not making love to me…when will the pain go away with being basically rejected sexually by someone I loved so much? I’m afraid I’ll never be the same…I want so much to love someone wholeheartedly, but I’m afraid I’m just messed up now by this situation…sigh

    • Lilia says:

      Wendy,

      I had the same experience with the EUM who brought me here. He behaved exactly like you say, didn´t want any real sex with me though he´d supposedly wanted to be with me for years before our involvement. This happened about two years ago and looking back it was the worst relationshit I ever had. I really tried to be patient, to understand him and give him all the space he wanted, but I ended having a nervous breakdown and a slight depression. It´s about the worst thing you can do to someone you´re supposedly with, and I think there´s a lot of control issues and narcisism (though I can´t fathom what he´s narcisistic about)going on. Or just plain weirdness, who knows.

      The thing I learned, though, was that no matter how hard I tried to put myself in his shoes, it didn´t work and I ended up terribly hurt. It´s been quite a long time and I´m still not ready to date, whereas with other relationships I healed in a much shorter time. My self-esteem plummeted, I became distrustful of relationships and sex. But at least I´ve had time to really get to know me and learn to defend my boundaries.

      The first step was to tell this guy how I felt about the whole situation. I told him I was out because I had fallen in love and I couldn´t go on with the non-relationship. At first he was worried, but then he tried to maintain the silly games. So that was it.
      I´m sure he has normal sex with prostitutes because they demand no emotional involvement whatsoever. Now that I think of it, be always tried to set things up like that, so as to keep the almost-sex casual.

      I hope you´ll be able to heal from this experience. It helps to get angry and to read about narcs and their manipulations. And then, devote yourself to you, like that moron didn´t do and should´ve done.

  46. Karin says:

    After being with an unavailable man for 9 years I finally broke free. Even changed countries. Mistakenly had a fling with another ‘unavailable bloke’ recently cos I was bored and felt lonely and he obviously saw I was vulnerable. Felt used. Felt manipulated. he was the driver. Didn’t feel good about myself.

    BUT, guess what. It was the best thing that could ever have happened to me. It was the swift kick up the backside I badly needed and I’ve gone back to the ‘book’. Reread the whole thing. Yep, the asshole did me a favour. I’m ready for the next one – I seem to attract them. Won’t be manipulated. Won’t allow anyone to pass go that isn’t respectful. Working on building boundaries as I write this. Thinking about ME instead of ‘them’. Using my energy for me.

    Casual sex really isn’t casual when someone wants even the semblance of respect.

  47. Makara14 says:

    Thank you Nat for another amazing post. And thanks to all the amazing women who have shared so much of themselves! I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for BR!! I got so much insight from all of you tonight. It’s great to know I am not alone on this journey.

  48. Noquay says:

    Cyrano
    A lot of these dudes are economic refugees, they come here because they wanna be in the mountains, play ski bum, and living here is far cheaper than the surrounding area. The intermountain west seems to attract older dudes (I am in my 50s, so we’re talking 50s-70s) that again, made some bad life’s choices. I don’t expect any dude to be an extreme athlete, this is what I am, along with organic farmer, environmentalist, and senior level academic. I do expect anyone in my life to practice good self care, including staying healthy, behaving with responsibility and dignity. I have never really dated and definitely would not do casual with any of these dudes, in fact, I tend to avoid local guys for the aforementioned reasons. They are approaching me, generally after I have asked them, as strict friends, to help with something I cannot lift myself, or saw them sitting alone and invited them to join the rest of us at the coffeehouse. Since I am Ms. Straight Arrow, I cannot imagine why they think they’re going to get anything shady out of me. The last one showed up in my driveway last week at night, I acted as though no one was home and he finally left. Creepy. Some women said last night that these dudes gravitate toward me because I am so strong. I already support my chronically ill dad (due to alcoholism/obesity) plus 4 residences and am not in a position to take on another child older than I, nor do I wish to. Papa san is getting a defibrillator implanted today, have enough stress. I was married to a wonderful man for 12 years, retired Dean, environmental and social activist who’d never consider living beyond his means like these guys, so I have a good idea of what a relationship should be.

    • Mymble says:

      Noquay
      Have to say I’ve been running into quite a few of these myself. Fifties, not working nor intending to work, living with relatives (or perhaps off relatives). I think in the past I might have been silly enough to try and “make it work” but thinking about BR, and your comments, there is no way one of those people is getting their feet under my table while I’m working my backside off to pay my massive mortgage and support my kids. No way.

      • noquay says:

        Yep, this really seems to be a disturbing trend. These dudes, like I have mentioned before, COULD get a job but would have to (Gasp!) give up the semi-retired ski bum existence, leave, find a job, and work hard, save, like you and me. What really frosts my hiney is that some of these dudes utilize the community meals meant for those who truly need them in order to eat (like my disabled neighbor)along with the food pantry (that I contribute to)so they can buy fewer groceries. Yep, I too would like to play all day, being super burned out in my profession and having to deal with the AC all the time, but by golly, I have obligations that are my responsibility alone to fulfill. This is not a recession thing either as those men I knew that lost their shorts due to the recession moved, found new jobs, and realized they had to delay retirement to recoup their losses. Tis called a work ethic and self respect. Kudos Mymble for working hard, paying bills, supporting your kids rather than taking on a fixit project.

    • Cyrano says:

      Understood. Sounds like a different category than I was referring to. I’m thinking of average looking guys I’ve known over the years, worked with at a major law firm, friends from engineering and science classes, close friends and drinking buddies that simply don’t turn heads, maybe a little low on self-confidence, but otherwise “have a life.”
      While guys may talk about getting some, I don’t think any of them were dogs looking for anything “casual.” Again, because I knew the dogs too, so have some ability to differentiate.
      It’s for this reason I bristle at the broad strokes of “there are no decent guys” and “guys all want casual sex because that’s how were made” statements.

      I was particularly hurt by my Ex-GF when I finally figured out that she was an AC (she tripped about half of Nat’s 30 points list), and sex meant nothing to her after being together a year and a half. I dumped her because I DIDN’T want a casual arrangement where I was as easily forgotten as some leftovers in the back of the fridge when we weren’t in bed.
      For a lot of guys, she would have been the perfect catch, great in bed-no strings attached, just don’t pester her with doing real life stuff.

  49. Rosie says:

    Getting It!-Sorry, still only have phone to use. My point is that gnere was no reason for him to decrive me about this. We were on a date; I didn’t have intentions to have sex with him, just let hormones & negative headspace get the best of me. I thought of it as a ONS. He was the one who tried to turn me into a fwb. I stopped it after the one night with him. No, he doesn’t owe me an explanation. Your post was about honesty, just used my example to illustrate the point. Of all tings to be decepyive about, why siomething like?

    It isn’t the “that” that’s important here nor who “owes” who what nor is it about boundaries. It’s about honesty, as you said. The night he tried his booty call nonsense, he said that it wasn’t cadual as we’ve known each other for a whilr. Bwcause I was honest about what it was & my reasons, I rolled my eyes (even though I was still tempted pytsically).

    CASUAL sex IS a teaining ground for being EU.

  50. Bountiful says:

    Hi, ladies. Most of us have had unwise relationships, but few of us realize that we have not only the right to say no to sex with men we barely know well, but the obligation to let the men in our lives know that sex with a top-notch woman (and that means all of us here!) comes with conditions–and stringent ones at that: being loved, cherished and committed to by a man.

    As many on here have pointed out, men are astonishingly UN-like us when it comes to sex. The fact is, we often misinterpret their words when we should ALWAYS look at their actions. As Justin Sterling said in his book, “What REALLY Works With Men”: “Men don’t lie in man language.”

    Our needs are very different than theirs. Women think if they are “honest” and put everything on the table, men will also do so. They often don’t. Or to be charitable, they often don’t mean the same things women do by their words. So how can a woman know that a man REALLY wants a relationship with her and not just sex or a longer-term but FWB relationship? Not by asking him. He wants a long-term, loving relationship with you when he wants to be with you regardless of sex! So how can you make sure that his motives are aligned with yours? Easy: don’t have sex with him until he proposes to you, or until you are married!!

    Our mothers and grandmothers and every woman before that knew this truth. But we have become too liberated for our own good. When I finally learned this I was amazed at my own blindness, but the more I put it into practice, the happier I was in relationships. Until then I was miserable because I listened to men’s words and not to what I needed for my happiness. Men should meet women’s demands, not vice-versa. Don’t convince yourself that you “need” sex at the expense of your comfort and emotional well-being. You DO need to feel loved by a wonderful man who adores you and wants to commit to you forever. And if that’s what you want, try abstinence until you can be absolutely certain a man wants you for the wonderful woman you are and isn’t just using you to pass the time or until someone better comes along.

    I recently heard a horrible story which I wish wasn’t true, but it is. A friend works with a man who for two years dated a great woman. After that time, she brought up the subject of marriage. He promptly ended the relationship. My friend asked him why he ended it, and he said, “She wasn’t THE ONE.” However, he sure didn’t tell HER that–for two years he continued to see her, sleep with her,and enjoy her care, attention and love. I’m sure this same scenario has been repeated countless times by countless men with countless women.

    Please don’t be one of them–focus on what YOU need to be happy and secure in relationships, which for most women is to be in a committed relationship that leads to marriage, and let him get his temporary “needs” fulfilled elsewhere. Resolve only to be with men who seem like they would be eager to spend the rest of their lives with you!

    Ms. Bountiful

  51. Rosie says:

    Getting It! -Sorry, phone makes it really hard as well to put cursor in right place so have to do this in two posts, don’t mean to go crazy with the posting. I thought about what you said after I typed above response to your response. Yes, EU is EU with or without sex. I was EU most of my life and, yes, this was with everybody, not just men I was interested in, as you said.

    I see casual sex as a training ground for being EU because we become our choices. It’s like what M said- casual is just mechanical; it’s masturbation with another person. Behaviors become habits.

    For us women, it’s tougher because of the oxytocin. However, the more promiscuous we become, the less oxytocin our bodies produce so, yes, casual sex becomes quite easy but also makes it more difficult to form a more lasting union.

    • Getting it! says:

      Rosie – I think it is always wiser to speak only for myself. I haven’t met “us women”. Have you?

      I’d also have to query the scientific bases of your assertions regarding oxytocin and how casual sex leads to a reduction in oxytocin which results in the inability to form a lasting relationship. By your theory, we’d also have to monitor the number of times we hug people in order not to reduce our levels of oxytocin…

      But, in conclusion, I am a woman (not an “us women”) and I engage in casual sex from time to time and I am not EU. Now, if you believe that casual sex is purely a mechanical thing (which you are entirely entitled to do so and I have no issue with your personal beliefs or how you live your life) that is fine. I don’t share that belief and I’m also not going to say that anyone who chooses not to engage in casual sex is a prude. I think that it behooves us to not unfairly categorize other people (or other types of experiences) simply because they aren’t the types of experiences we would choose to have.

      Best
      GI

  52. […] a number of articles that could have been written specifically for me. One of these posts was about casual sex being not so casual for some people (I raise my hand). She says quite rightly […]

  53. FeelsLikeACult says:

    What do you do if you feel as if you are stuck in a sort of “casual sex” group?

    I moved to a new country recently from California. I was extremely lonely at first. I’m an open-minded, creative, scientific person and was having a hard time replicating my friends back home here in Spain.

    I met a bunch of people who I really liked AS PEOPLE through a free love/casual sex group. Now I’m involved with them, and slowly but surely, all of the friends I am meeting are through this group. And it’s not because of the sex, it’s because I think this type of ambiance attracts people who are similar to me.

    But now the problem… I am starting to feel really uncomfortable with casual sex, but feel pressured…that if I don’t keep having casual sex, I will lose the friendships and therefore my entire social life…and be lonely and very depressed once more. :/

    This is my first time without knowing anyone in a new country, and I don’t have many opportunities to meet other Spanish people here at the moment. It’s difficult to for me to meet likeminded people but now I feel trapped.

    I really want a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and I am starting to feel badly about myself after going to these sex parties. Really badly.

    24f, feeling lost

    • Elgie R. says:

      You are allowed to change your mind and change your course.

    • Snowboard says:

      FeelsLikeACult,

      You are describing here a very serious problem. If you feel “very uncomfortable,” do *not* do it again. If you feel pressured, these people are not your friends; they are dangerous.

    • Sofia says:

      Dear FeelsLikeaCult,
      Please don’t go to these parties/places anymore. They are damaging your self-esteem and You. Find other ways to meet people. There must be courses in Spanish language for English speakers, meet Americans who immigrated there. Find ways to help people, volunteer, check out online something similar to meetup groups. What you are describing doesn’t sound healthy. And moreover, you are not even enjoying it. You feel pressured. There are other ways to meet people. Or first of all, you can try being by yourself for some time, but being in a new country that might feel intimidating. So do please find other ways to find people. To me, casual sex is what I had a few times in between my 2 serious relationships. It was not damaging. It was 1-2 night stands and was over the next day. Meaningless. I didn’t feel empty but I didn’t feel fulfilled either in any way. It was just a waste of time. But when you consistently engage in casual sex for prolonged periods of time on a regular basis, this must be damaging to your psyche. Sex is a unique bonding experience and communication between two people who love each other, that’s what I think. Everything else is really a waste of time and life. Please be careful and respect yourself. Hugs.

  54. Gia says:

    Dear Natalie,

    Please help me! After reading this article, I feel like I’m in the exact situation!

    I met this guy 2 months ago. He works at the same building as I do so we ran into each other a few times until one day he asked me out for lunch and our connection started there. We had some outings/dates since he asked me out for lunch. We exchange #’s but he doesn’t text me on a daily basis. He texts me when he arranges the next outing. He doesn’t ask me how I’m doing or chat with me, he only text me when he ask me out. Is this normal? I’m the passive type of girl so I never or try not to initiate a contact. On our 5th date, we had sex cuz we were both a bit drunk and he made me so horny, however the process wasn’t completed as I had a battle inside me. I never had casual sex before and I thought it was too fast. I stopped and we fell asleep till the next morning. He sent me to my car and I was embarrassed, I didn’t even wanna look at him in the eyes. I didn’t contact him as I expect nothing from him cuz I know it was casual, we’re not even anything. He texted me the same day reminded me I had left my contact lens at his place. He did email me once during the week with links to a cheap vacay deals where we talked abt the night before and he did texted me abt him having the contacts in his office so I can pick it up anytime. I waited a few days and texted him about the lens and picked it up in person. At that time he asked me out on the weekend again and I said yes. The same thing repeated over the weekend, we had sex and this time the process was completed. He was quite a sweet guy during and after sex. He made me breakfast and then I left. When I leave, he kissed me on the cheeks. I realized that we didn’t kiss that much during sex. I feel that he hesitated to kiss me more cuz he doesn’t want to give more emotion or love. I find myself the same way, I was hesitant to kiss him cuz I feel so insecure and lack of confidence. After the day, he emailed me again during the week asked if I had found any vacation deals for the Easter weekend. It was a 3-emails conversation. He didn’t invite me to anywhere or arrange an outing. I didn’t initiate a contact either. Until Thursday night, he texted me and told me he will be in town on the long weekend and asked if we could meet up Fri/Sat night. I rejected him as I thought he was so last minute and I don’t deserve that kinda last minute arrangement. I rejected nicely tho. Until today, Easter Monday, I texted him and asked abt his weekend and we talked a bit there. I don’t know what to do now, I feel like this is not even something..I really did not expect anything from him but I kinda like this guy. However his behavior tells me he’s not that interested. I don’t know whether I should still try or just leave it. I tried to play cool but I do wait for his contact. Thankfully I’m not that into him yet but I do think of what should I do now and what can I do to make him do more? or is he just a fuxker, I should just leave? what should I do? Please help!!

    Gia

  55. redangel says:

    just recently came out of a 30 year marriage (I’m 50) and got targeted by a co-worker. he played me good and in my loneliness and depression I was high on his attention. thought i could be cool about the sex, but the kisses set me on fire, and his stalking of me at work raced my pulse alive, the intense texts messages (sexting!) was something new and exciting, but then the guilt and the tackiness and the emptiness which increased triplefold. I ended it, NC for a month now, virtually no contact at work. Don’t regret ending it, lesson learned, wont do this again. Don’t miss the sex or the texts, but strange as it sounds i do miss the kisses. if i could just have had his lips and nothing else of him that would have been fine! The rest of him I found to be not worth having.

  56. Matt says:

    After reading this article and many of the comments, I feel a bit better about my philosophy on meeting women. I am a 24yr old male (a man reading this seems to be an exception), and recently have been meeting women who seem to just be interested in casual sex when I am on the opposite end of the scale. Casual sex is not something that has compelled me very much, to the point that my friends and even I, are beginning to think something is wrong. I find myself far more interested in meeting and having fun with a girl the first night, getting her number and trying to see them again.

    Example: A couple of nights ago I was introduced to a single friend of my pals girlfriend; the four of us went out, had some drinks and ended up back at my friend’s place. On the cab ride home from where we were, this girl and I started kissing and when we got back to my friends place, we ended up in bed together. The thing was, I didn’t really have intentions of sex but I am more than sure she was hoping for and expecting it. I enjoy a woman’s company throughout the night, even without sex. Anyway, we ended up just falling asleep and come morning she clearly and absolutely had no intentions of getting to know me further. I can’t help but wonder if this was a case of her wanting casual sex and me (mistakenly) sleeping in the same bed as her but not attempting to do so? I think I may have (unintentionally) lead her on, but we were both intoxicated and I did not want to have sex with her purely for the sake of it, especially after a night of drinking. Is there something wrong with wanting to spend time with and be with a girl, rather than just jumping right to the conclusion? This article makes me think, maybe not? Most guys would argue otherwise.

    I am finding it difficult as a young guy wanting more than casual sex to find someone on the same page as me. My example above is a true story, and similar events have happened to me (though I tend to not go as far as being in bed together). I like to get a girls number, have a good time with her, give her a kiss good-bye and go home; alone (at least on the first night of meeting her).

    Is there something wrong with me as a young man for being more invested in the girls themselves than bedding women as soon as the opportunity arises? I find I don’t even have the physical urge in many cases. Struggling a bit with this one, but this article seems to say there is nothing wrong with it.

    Thoughts? Do I need to man up and pounce on these opportunities for casual, meaningless sex?

  57. lizzp says:

    Hi Matt,

    You ask:

    “Is there something wrong with me as a young man for being more invested in the girls themselves than bedding women as soon as the opportunity arises?”

    Natalie’s first two paragraphs address your question:

    “If you can’t be casual about casual sex, then for you, it’s not casual sex. *This doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you* and it’s *not something that you need to apologise for*, but what it does mean is that you need to *start listening to you* instead of spending your time prioritising someone else’s sexual and even ego needs while deprioritising you.”

    “It *doesn’t matter if the person who wants to sleep with you casually is totally OK with it* or has been with people who are totally OK with it… you’re not, and *you don’t need to feel bad about this or feel compelled to follow a trend*. Once you start ignoring your own personal values and basically ‘following’, you stop being conscious and you start operating from a place of unhealthy habits of thinking and behaviour, or even compulsion.”

    My guess is that you could be experiencing both external(from friends and probably some, perhaps more than just some? women you meet)and internal pressures (doubting your own feelings regarding one night stands/sex without an intimate relationship for example) to follow a trend of casual sexual encounters. If so, keep listening to *you* and don’t ‘deprioritise’ yourself, you values and your needs. Also perhaps try to expand your social life beyond your current circles to meet others with similar values.

    If the question “is there something wrong with me’ often comes up for you, it may be useful to listen carefully to yourself when it does and try to pin point where this self doubt comes from.

    On a practical level, why not just ask women you’d like to get to know out on dates and avoid placing your self in situations such as the one you talk about above?

    p.s. there are a small minority of men who comment regularly so you are not alone here!

    • lizzp says:

      p.p.s. Matt, on reading over your comment again, you could also look at why you harbour the belief that you ‘lead on’ this single girl you mention. Nobody is *entitled* to sex with another person yet your comment seems to suggest that you feel, at least on some level, that you ‘let her down’ or in other words didn’t fulfil an ‘obligation’. I don’t agree.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!