Even if you’re not “out there” looking for a long-term relationship, that doesn’t mean casual sex is a definite bad thing for your well-being. In fact, finding partners with whom you’re sexually compatible who appreciate your values, practice safer sex, and can be sensitive to your comfort level is easier than ever in 2016. Plus, if you’re single and out there, you can try meeting people at bars, cultural festivals, classes, or in more intimate ways.
However, having one-night stands can be overwhelming when you’re used to more relationship-based casual sex. And while that’s not to say that casual sex isn’t healthy — more relationships equals a bigger net for the healthiest “hookup,” unless your intentions are clear from the beginning — there can be quite a lot of adjustments that come with that lifestyle.
Here are a few factors to keep in mind if you’re considering your options for casual sex:
1. Follow your desires
When casual sex becomes the new normal, we’re saying that it’s important to make sure that you’re feeling good in the ways you’d like to feel good. Whether that means having sex with a single partner or with a circle of people, just make sure that your feelings are being met. You wouldn’t want to go ahead with sex if it was distressing you or that you had a partner that wanted to get more serious with you, right?
2. Be patient — and be safe
The biggest pitfall of casual sex is that it can often be less planned, less secure, and therefore more risky. In some cases, this could be because you’re meeting your new fling for the first time and aren’t always sure what’s going on. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and if you’re OK being safe, then you’ve found a safe and caring partner.
3. Have fun
With casual sex, you don’t have all the permission in the world to be yourself. So, it’s good to make sure you’re expressing yourself and your feelings in the ways you want to.
4. Have boundaries
Of course, this can go both ways in a relationship. There are times where you may want to draw boundaries around casual sex, like saying you’re not into a 4th date, or that you just want to be friends. How you phrase that, though, is important. It’s a good idea to be more specific and ask for what you want, because they might be meeting you
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In fact, casual sex can be just the thing you need to boost your self-esteem. One way to think about it is as a source of validation. You have a few fun encounters, and you’re good to go — maybe even knocked up and ready to get married! — and then you don’t have sex again for years. The idea of casual sex can conjure up fears that a “one-night stand” is a sign that you’re less desirable, or less desirous, than the men or women you’re having fun with. But really, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world if someone you’re attracted to wants to hang out for the night, but are just not able to be interested in giving you a sexual relationship. Here, seven reasons why casual sex may be the best you’ve ever had. 1. Casual sex can be more loving I’ll never forget the night I tried casual sex for the first time: I’d been sleeping over at my friend’s house, and she and I were hanging out in the middle of the night when we started kissing. We agreed to be “just friends,” even though my crush had let me know that he didn’t want anything more, and I thought I knew all about the equation between the physical and the emotional. I was 15 years old and already so sure about sex that it was incredible. But I was wrong about my own body. The fear and shame around it seemed to overwhelm me, and on top of that, I could feel my own hormones in overdrive. So the night I tried casual sex, I wondered how I would know if I were actually turned on and if someone could really love me if I weren’t beautiful, wanted, and virile. I thought, even at 15, that I couldn’t really be so wrong — that, by definition, love really did come from the physical. That’s what my mother’s best friend had taught me, that’s what I’d been reading, and I couldn’t understand why dating could be about much more than just feeling. So I kissed this guy, casually but in earnest, hoping that physical intimacy would somehow prove he had the same romantic feelings for me as I had for him. I wanted to know if I could “love” someone. And that was a test? A test of physical prowess? But sex is definitely a