If you can’t be casual about casual sex, then, for you, it’s not casual sex. This doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It’s also not something you need to apologise for. What it does mean, though, is that you need to start listening to yourself. You need to stop 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 okay with it. It also doesn’t matter if they’ve been with people who are totally okay with it (It begs the question of, Where are they now?). You’re not okay with this casual setup. And you don’t need to feel bad about this or feel compelled to follow a trend.
Once you start ignoring your values and basically ‘following’, you stop being conscious. Instead, 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. This is especially if by doing either of these things, you end up negatively impacting 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 other party being “relaxed and unconcerned” to the point of you feeling disrespected that’s creating anxiety and stress in the first place.
It’s possible that you want more than is on offer. Do you?
Or maybe you’re pretending to be “relaxed and unconcerned” now so that you can enjoy instant gratification. Are you? Future You will deal with it, right? Unfortunately, you’re ignoring that, based on how you typically respond to these types of situations or your current level of self-esteem, you are putting yourself in harm’s way. For sex.
Now granted, as grown-ups, 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. Still, this is different to having excessive emotional or even relationship concerns. It’s 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 is a clear indication that this situation doesn’t work for you.
Your stress 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 ignoring and compromising yourself 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.
- When you tend to struggle with getting to know someone at the same time as juggling potential emotional consequences of 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, stop. Your responses are 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. More often than not though, 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 better take care of ourselves.
There’s such a thing as delayed gratification: being able to listen to yourself and recognise your 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 will fall off or dry up and grow cobwebs if you don’t, and knowing that even though you could proceed with a casual relationship, it’s not in your best interests. It’s possible that you might enjoy a casual relationship but know that it’s better for you to defer having sex. That might be until you’re 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. You have to recognise where you may be engaging in relationship or sexual insanity. This is carrying the same baggage, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours; engaging with the same or similar people and then expecting different results. And then feeling surprised (and hurt) when you don’t get it.
Particularly if you’re considering sleeping with an ex who’s 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 don’t have judgement skills.
It’s 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 Baggage Reclaim readers and friends who keep getting hurt on the sexual disappointment cycle. Most of them mistook various different types of stress, as well as the knock-on effect of feeling inadequate or bored, for, wait for it, horniness.
If you’re thinking:
- Will I, won’t I?
- Can I keep my feelings in check [this time]?
- I don’t want to get 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.