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.