Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman

If you’ve stuck like glue to an unhealthy relationship, or have devoted your energies into upgrading a one night stand, booty call, Friends With Benefits or ad hoc fling, into a full time, bonafide committed relationship, it’s safe to say that you very much believe in the fairy tale and the fantasy.

You seek to be the exception to the rule. In fact, you seek love against the odds.

The sheer number of people I hear from who are residing in some sort of sexual hell because they participated in casual arrangements is astounding. Not only does it tell me that there’s a hell of a lot of people out there seeking to be anomalies (which defeats the purpose really), but all of these people have reduced themselves to attempting to be Vivian in Pretty Woman.

Just in case the film has escaped you, single rich guy Edward (Richard Gere) needs an escort for a week of social engagements and picks up Vivian (Julia Roberts), a prostitute, while cruising, I guess because it must have been really hard in the early 90s to be a rich man without a date… They hang out, he thinks she’s doing drugs in his bathroom when she’s really flossing, they sleep together (no kissing), the following day he gives her money to buy clothes for the social engagements, some of the staff are rude, he then takes her on a spree where it’s like giving the bitchy sales assistants the proverbial two fingers, they have a great time while out, he falls in love, at one of the events, his friend figures out that she’s on the game and tries it on, she storms off, packs up her stuff and goes back to her busted up apartment, he swoops in by limo at the end shouting out of the roof of it, then climbs a trellis with a bunch of roses and yada yada yada.

Now I’m not suggesting that there aren’t more than a few escorts that have landed on their feet, but unless you are in that line of business, it’s time to ask yourself why your fairy tale has a beginning of:

“Once upon a time, I lay on my back and decided to go for a casual relationship in the hope that they’d get to know me without ‘pressure’, we’d have a good time, and then they’d basically be unable to survive without me because somewhere between late night texts, the ambiguity, and sometimes the requests to partake in shady sexual shenanigans or even having to compete with others, they fell in love with me.” ?

If you’re the type that really values sex, makes assumptions about what you think is likely to happen as a result of the sexual interaction, and in fact make the dangerous assumption that a sexual connection is an emotional connection which will lead to a love connection, the casual sex trap is waiting to grip you in its lubricated jaws.

This isn’t about whether it’s ‘bad’ to have sex on the first date or whether you should ‘hold out’, or wait for X amount of dates, or develop cobwebs in your pants by waiting around for someone extra extra special before you get down; the issue with casual relationships is that many people use sex as some sort of currency that they think generates an IOU that they can cash in for a relationship.

Sex without the love, care, trust, respect and mutual relationship to go along with it, is just sex. When you allow someone to treat you like dialalay.com or even textalay.com and arrange a shag with the ease of ordering a pizza, something is very wrong.

I hear from people who have been in casual sexual arrangements for years! YEARS! That’s just pure f*ckery, excuse the pun! Do anything over a period of time and it becomes habit. You start to have relationship ideals that outpace the true nature of the ‘relationship’.

Hard as it may be to hear, if you allow yourself to be someone’s sexual plaything and you actually want more and you are being emotionally impacted, it’s actually like being an unpaid hooker.

Yeah you might get some trimmings around it like gifts, dinner, weekends away, or being wheeled out to a social occasion, but really, that’s just so they can be assured of your complicity to get the shag and then the likelihood is that you’ll be on a bit of a high afterwards and will remind yourself of the gift, or the dinner or whatever, until it wears off and you realise that you’ve been ‘done’. Literally.

That’s not to say that it would be better for cash to be left on the table, but when you recognise that you’re an unpaid hooker or escort, instead of feeling outraged and then committing yourself to a vocation of making them see that you’re worth more, you should be outraged and flush them out of your life.

Also, let’s be real – they’re just not that special. You can buy your own gifts, dinner, and have some company without having to cough up a shag. You’re not that desperate.

And really – it doesn’t matter when you have sex; it matters about how blinded you are by it, what assumptions you make, and whether you bother to go through the discovery phase of dating and find out about the person anyway. A lot of people operate with I got laid —>; It must have been for a good reason —>; OK let me scratch around for reasons to justify it.

When someone can get what they see as their needs being met, whether it’s sexual, attention, ego stroking, or whatever, and they don’t even have to stump up a committed relationship and some love, care, trust, respect and the other landmarks to go with it, let me assure you that they’re not going to have an attack of conscience one day and say “Right, you’ve given me sex on 46 occasions, responded to my texts within 3 minutes on 95% of those occasions and have shown me loyalty while enjoying the pleasure of my company, so I now grant thee a relationship.”

Sex is not a currency that you can negotiate a relationship out of. You start out booty or you reduce down to booty, you stay booty.

When you use casual relationships as a back door route to a relationship, it’s a gamble that will yield diminishing returns. It’s also safe to say that nobody in their right mind evaluates the potential for a relationship on how well you sex them, because vaginas and penises actually give no indication of what someone’s qualities, characteristics, and values are…and whether they’re congruent with yours. Being a superb lay hasn’t stopped some people from being deficient in character or ability to commit to a relationship.

You.Are.Not.In.Pretty.Woman. Or that Friends With Benefits film with Mr JT. This is real life and it’d be one thing if the booty call grew organically into a relationship (unlikely but let’s pretend), but mutual relationships aren’t born from force.

Casual arrangements (calling it a ‘casual relationship’ is an oxymoron) are really short term dalliances that are best reserved for those that have the self-esteem to know their limits and not go from here to eternity twisting themselves into a pretzel so that they convince the other party of their worth, which is a bit like closing the door after the horse has bolted.

A person should treat you as a worthwhile individual deserving of love, care, trust, and respect – not assume a low value or manage down your expectations to get down to their level. More importantly, you should know your value and live it.

If you’re enjoying your booty call and want nothing more – rock on. I certainly wouldn’t continue if you’re experiencing any disrespect. From the moment you start trying to convince them of your worth or convince them into a relationship, it’s time to pull your pants up and get off the booty ride. And stop selling yourself short – you deserve better than putting yourself on the street corner of someone’s life.

Your thoughts?

Find out more about the perils of casual ‘relationships’, ambiguity, and selling yourself short in unavailable relationships in my books Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl and The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship.

Image source: Mettel Ray

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