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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » casual sex? what's your opinion?

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Author Topic: casual sex? what's your opinion?
jumpsturdy
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Like many young women, I wanted my first time to be special and with someone I really loved, and it was.

Now, though, that relationship is over, and I don't have quite so much tunnel-vision about who I should be having sex with. I have begun a casual sexual relationship with a guy who is a fair amount older than me, but he is *very* concerned that I will get too emotionally attached to him and will get hurt. Now he's starting to make me worry!

What are your opinions on casual sex? What have been you experiences? Do you think it's realistic for most women believe they can engage in casual sex without getting hurt?

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Heather
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(Let's please treat a question like this by ONLY answering for yourself, okay? I mean, if you want to talk about say, broad studies of other women, or your peer group, fine, but one person saying how they feel about any kind of sexual choice and making that be about all or most women is not only not helpful, it turns into judgment of others. Thanks!)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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jumpsturdy
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Actually...I am kinda looking to you on this one, Heather. I get the impression that this sort of relationship isn't one that women have all the time, but you have clearly had a wide variety of relationships and have never given the impression that any one type is negative.

So I guess I'm wanting to hear an example of a casual sexual partnership that has been functional, or at least not negative (or, I guess, a negative one might be beneficial for me to hear too). Obviously, every situation is different, but the experience of others is a valuable resource, I think.

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saguy
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I am probably a rare guy who feels the way I do, and as a 23 year-old virgin, it probably doesn't provide a good outlook for my future given my anxiety/depression issues, but here it goes...

I don't have any desire at all for casual sex. I see it as disrespecting yourself and whoever is with you at that given moment. I don't understand how anybody can have sex and not feel any "strings attached". To me, sex should be reserved for a loving relationship. It doesn't have to be marriage, but you should love the person you're having sex with.

No promiscuity for me.

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Leabug
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(Again, let's try really hard to keep this thread non-judgemental- please avoid using terms like "promiscuity" that have a decidedly negative undertone.)

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Lea

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saguy
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I used that term because it is common. I hear "promiscuity" a hundred times more in day-to-day life than I hear "casual sex". It is not there to judge.

I stuck to the original request.. I answered for myself and how I view the subject. I did not disrespect anybody who chooses to live that kind of lifestyle.

[ 12-06-2007, 03:05 AM: Message edited by: saguy ]

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Heather
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It's perhaps worth bearing in mind that one very common definition for the word promiscuous is "not selective of a single class or person." That given, serial monogamy could be promiscuity, too, as could the sex habits of most people, since it is really quite rare for anyone to have a sex life for the whole of their life which only selects one partner. But when used applied to casual sex, what it tends to mean is making indiscriminate choices, which does NOT apply to most people's sex lives, whether they ever engage in casual sex or not. Because someone elects to have sex outside marriage or the context of a capital-R romantic relationship doesn't mean they're being indiscriminate, nor does it mean people IN those romantic relationships or marriages are NOT.

It's also pretty easy to say one sex is totally unacceptable and another is ideal when you've participated in none at all. Sexual ideals and sexual realities often are very different.

That all said, jumpsturdy and saguy, there are very few times in my life that casual sex meant no-strings. In fact, a friend and I were just talking about this last night, and I was saying that what I'd always said to myself was that if I wasn't comfortable with someone I slept with casually calling me twenty years later and asking me for some kind of support, just because for whatever reason, I seemed like the right person, than I probably shouldn't sleep with them.

"Casual" sex means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Classing it as a "lifestyle" makes as much sense as it does to class being homosexual as a "lifestyle." Those of us who are a given orientation, or make a choice to have sex in a certain context don't all live the same life, not by a serious long shot. Too, not being "in love" with someone doesn't mean not loving them, or that any two people aren't treating one another with love and care. I love my friends just like I love my romantic partner, I love my family, I love the homeless guy on the street who I emptied my already-barren wallet for yesterday and told to please go buy himself a better blanket. You know?

If you're looking to me for this jumpstrudy, one thing to bear in mind is that I'm in a different generation than all of you. I think some things still apply, but plenty of things don't. While I have had numerous positive and beneficial -- and enjoyable! -- casual sex scenarios in my life, including when I was in my teens and twenties, I can't say if they'd have been as positive if I had them in your generation, just because the context is different (and also because my community, the people around me, and most of my peers of my generation were not as negative about it as a lot of yours often seem to be).

And I think that speaks to your questions about "most" women. How any of us experience any of this has to do with the specific settings of the sex and those sexual partners, how WE feel about it, how the people around us feel about it. Too, I also think it's pretty influenced by expectations, and if casual sex is really what we want. For me, in so much of my life, my primary partner has been my art or my work, and so there have often been times when a big romantic relationship just a) wasn't something I wanted and b) wasn't something that I felt I had enough time and energy to invest in. I did, however, have enough time and energy to invest in briefer encounters.

Too, the dynamics of sex obviously differ partner to partner, but also relationship to relationship. I know that during times when casual sex was all I wanted, some of why was that I appreciated sex not being tangled in ROMANCE, even though it was, in the way any sex is when everyone involved just respects each other, loving.

It's likely also worth mentioning that I did not grow up and be reared with marriage as an ideal, monogamy as an ideal, or the idea that sex is only healthy in long-term romantic relationships. I imagine that if I had, I would have had different feelings about casual sex, or at least, certainly some internal conflicts.

I can talk more on this later if you want: I'm just filling myself with my morning cup of coffee.

But per your particular situation, I can say that you might want to maybe have a different conversation with this guy. In other words, he's doing kind of a weird thing where he seems to be voicing HIS concerns, but trying to make them seem like they're about you. He's not your Daddy: it's not his job to manage your feeling and expectations, that's yours. I'd make that clear (especially in an age-disparate relationship where that kind of patronizing can be seen as acceptable), and I'd instead ask HIM if HE is simply saying that HE does not want an emotional attachment for himself, and if HE is concerned HE will hurt you. See what I mean?

[ 12-06-2007, 11:14 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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diamonds4lucy
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When I went to college, I had a couple of short-term casual-sex relationships lasting anywhere from a week to a month. Some were fun, some weren't that exciting.

I then had a casual relationship with an older man for nearly 2 years. While he was definitely someone who was dependable, we both recognized that this was a relationship that wasn't based on the idea of romantic love (although I do have issues with the idea of romantic love, but that's a whole other can of worms) or long term commitment.

When I decided eventually that this was no longer okay because of how I was feeling and where I was in my life at that moment, we talked and decided to go our separate ways.

I really have no regrets about my relationship with him, or any of the other casual sex partners I've had.

My more emotionally-entangled relationships were much messier, and there are definitely several things I wish I had done differently within them.

None of the dynamics with my partners were better than others, they were just different.

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