When Casual Sex Becomes Less… Casual

Sex is emotional. It’s an emotional activity that us humans enjoy participating in and for me it’s hella emotional. I personally wish occasionally that I could turn off my emotion faucet. It would save me a lot of trouble and a lot of regret filled text messages and a lot of crying in the bathroom at work situations. It seems that without me even trying, I often, with the help of oxytocin, hormones, and having apes as my ancestors, become attached to the naked person beside me, and that is never not complicated. Attachment and complication are basically synonyms.

See, we’re animals and being an animal includes sometimes not choosing who our heart wants to hook up with for a long while and that sucks. It sucks the big one, and not in a good way. ‘Cause not choosing who we want to hook up with for a long while can result in feelings being hurt/torn apart/shattered into a million pieces that cannot be put back together even if you block everyone on instagram. You sleep with another person in hopes that the previous person will be lobotomized but your stupid, idiot brain won’t delete the memories of them. In fact, your brain keeps rerunning those blissful moments like they’re a goddamn episode of Seinfeld.

And you’re like “Hey, brain, can you find something else to focus your energy on for a bit?” and your brain is like “Sure! How about I focus it on your taxes and remember that time he told you that your skin was soft? Let’s think about that for three hours”. This attachment is only made more complicated when you have agreed with the naked person that there would not be any form of attachment. That your hooking up would remain at a hooking up level and Christmases would not be spent at each other’s houses ever. Yet, regardless of that iron clad agreement, your stupid, idiot brain is all “Check out this image of you rubbing his head in your bed on your birthday! WASN’T THAT FUN/ ISN’T THIS CRUEL?”

And you can always sense this unwanted attachments arrival. Suddenly, you’re waiting for them to text you every single day. Suddenly, you’re willing to lose a ton of sleep just to have a conversation with them about dinosaurs. Suddenly, you get upset thinking about how holding their hand in public will continue to be an unfulfilled desire. Suddenly, when they mention seeing other naked people, it stings. It didn’t for two months, but now, you can’t bear hearing about it. You’re attached and you don’t want to be, but there is no going back at this point. You’ve shared too many childhood experiences. You’ve romantically spooned for too many hours. You’ve gotten late morning cheap brunch together too many times.

I didn’t comprehend this idea of unwanted attachment until recently when I began doing the casual thing for the first time. Before two years ago, I didn’t know what “casual” was or why it existed or how it smelled. I was in three long-term relationships back to back and even if I thought my first intercoursing with each boyfriend could possibly only be one night of awkward passion, the oral sex always seemed to lead to them meeting my mother a few weeks later. My process of coitus was: ask out a man/be asked out, go on said date with man who asked/was asked, fornicate with above mentioned man, and repeat for two years straight.

This resulted in me only having three copulation partners at 26-years-old, thus I was curious. I was curious about boinking random strangers I met at dive bars and/or friends of mine who I had a consistent flirt-on with and/or anyone on my “crushing hard on these peens” list. I was curious about fearing that I was impregnated by a generic dude named Mike who I couldn’t communicate with because he only checked Facebook once a year. I was curious about getting tested at the doctor and wondering “BUT WHAT IF??!?!” I was curious about the stand of the one night.

It all sounded daring and delicious and dangerous. So, after my last BF and I decided to call it mutual quits, I promised myself to remain single for at least 6 months, which turned into 12 months which turned into 24 months. And while I was pursuing singledom, I wanted to make sure I banged as many butts as I could and boy did I ever! I banged them butts like banging butts was going out of style and the world was about to end by butt explosion and my butt banging coupons were going to expire any day now.

There have been fun times. There have been not-fun times. There have been fun then not-fun then fun again then definitely not-fun at all times. I am happy that I did it and proud of myself that I delved into the scary world of non-committed horizontal tangoing. But, it has come with its problems, the major one being unwanted attachment. My attached to naked persons was guaranteed wanted before two years ago. I didn’t worry about saying “I like you” or having a texting limit or PDAs. I mean, the oral sex led to them meeting my mother every single time.

But, suddenly, I was late for work ‘cause I was up until 4 am conversing about dinosaurs with a body that was not my boyfriend’s. They weren’t necessarily my friend but they weren’t more than my friend either. They were just… a guy I slept with regularly. I haven’t wanted “more” with a bunch of guys I have slept with. In fact, I’ve wanted less. I’ve wanted the sleeping with them to not exist in history. But, then, with others, I’ve desired for them to hold my hand. I’ve hoped that they weren’t seeing other naked people, or at the very least, they didn’t enjoy seeing them naked as much as they enjoyed seeing me naked. I’ve hoped that I could eat turkey with their family at Christmas.

I’ve often wondered, “What does one do in such a situation? Do they end it? Do they continue on and pretend as if they’re totally cool with it? Do they ask for something deeper?” And I still don’t have an answer. Two years later. It seems that timing is a big factor in the “more” decision. Two people can both be attached but those attachments are unwanted due to circumstances out of their control. Or the circumstances are in their control but they, like me 24 months ago, made a promise to themselves and they want to keep it. Or their attachment to another naked person is greater than their attachment to you.

Whatever the reason, it stings. It never doesn’t sting and the stinging does not go, disappear quickly or easily.

What I have learned is that sex is hella emotional and I can’t change that. I can’t turn off my emotion faucet. If I hook up with someone and my heart chooses them, so be it. If I want them to hold my hand or text me dinosaur images in the middle of the night or meet my mom that’s okay. I don’t have to pretend that I’m totally cool with it being casual. I’m not ashamed of becoming attached. I’m actually starting to wish it happened more often. ‘Cause I’m realizing how special that attachment is, especially when it’s wanted by everyone.


Why There’s No Such Thing as Casual Sex

There’s no such thing as casual sex.

I was reflecting on this idea of what people commonly call casual sex, which is pretty much most sex these days it seems,  and it occurred to me when someone sticks their most intimate part of their body into my most intimate part of my body, that’s not casual on any level. Not for either person. Just because so many times people hardly know each other before they decide to get naked and explore each other’s genitals in one form or another, doesn’t mean that it isn’t something that  affects us profoundly, and on layers and levels of our psyches and souls that we can’t fathom consciously.

I recently wrote a blog post about the wisdom and vulnerability of the vagina that has been making the rounds and many of you may have read it. If you haven’t, when you finish this one you should check it out in the archives here.   It speaks in great detail to this idea for women in particular, so go check it out after you read this post.

So let’s explore how it is even conceivably possible that genital contact is casual. We can extend it to oral sex but the place where I find it most compelling to examine is of course in intercourse.

How could the merging of these two anatomical components of human existence that create new human existence be called casual in any sense? Seriously, stop and think about this. Ladies, any time you sleep with a man, any time you allow him to enter you, you have just had an intimate experience. If this man is a stranger, you basically have just participated in your own home invasion, LOL.

Guys, when you don’t know this woman, you really are using her as a receptacle, as a vehicle for your own pleasure, not saying that a woman may not be doing the exact same thing because that, after all, is the general intention in casual sex but, guys, come on, you protect your precious family jewels and then you just willy-nilly, (I really didn’t intend that pun, but let’s go with it), you find yourself inside  a stranger with your most vulnerable asset aside from your heart. You’re literally inside a woman’s body, one with her for all intents and purposes, and you’re going to tell me that’s casual? And why don’t you have enough self-respect to think with the head on your shoulders instead of the one in your pants?

Communication and the Science of How We Bond

My mentor Professor Garth Fletcher has a new book out, co-written with three of the other smartest minds in relationships research. It’s called The Science of Intimate Relationships, and is an essential read for budding relationships experts.

As a preview of what’s in the book, I sat down with Garth to ask him six big questions about relationships science.

Alice: How big a deal is good communication in relationships?

Professor Fletcher: A very big deal indeed. That said, unpacking the nature of “good” communication is a major scientific challenge. What do you do, for example, if your partner, yet again, treats the floor as a closet or fails to pick up the bath mat. One popular model – the honest communication model – suggests that you should openly express your negative feelings, otherwise the problem will continue to simmer and corrode the relationship. Conversely, the equally popular good management model posits that regularly expressing your negative feelings and thoughts has corrosive effects on the relationship and you should perhaps stifle your negative feelings and learn to live with the problem, or drop some diplomatic hints.

After a lot of research, the general answer emerging – too messy and complex to sell many self-help books – is that the worst thing to do is to adopt one approach as an automatic default option. Instead the best communicators flexibly and intelligently alter their strategies depending on the context, the nature of the problem, their partner’s peccadilloes, and so forth.

For example, research by Nickola Overall at Auckland University suggests that being honest and direct (without indulging in character assignation) is effective in getting your partner to change his or her ways, whereas adopting a soft approach (dropping diplomatic hints about the bathmat) is likely to leave your partner blithely unaware of the problem or dismiss its importance.

Alice: Just how different are men and women when it comes to relationships?

Professor Fletcher: Arguments about sex differences often involve debates about evolutionary psychology. First, a tremendous amount of evidence has shown that men and women are different in some basic ways in relationships. Take three examples.

1. Men are more interested in casual sex than women.

2. Men are less focused on status and resources in selecting mates than women, and

3. Women are more expert and motivated relationship managers than men.

All these sex differences (found around the world) can be explained as a function of the differing levels of investment the sexes contribute to bearing and raising children (a theory developed by Robert Trivers in 1972 – termed parental investment theory – based on sexual selection theory proposed by Darwin).

However, two major caveats apply. First, I am talking about mean differences between the sexes; it turns out that the differences with each sex are almost always considerably greater than the differences between sexes.

Second, the behavior and attitudes of both men and women (and the magnitude of the associated sex differences) can change substantially as a function of the culture and the context. I will give two examples.

(a) When the number of men in a culture substantially exceeds the number of women, men become keener on long-term commitment.

(b) In speed dating studies, women are generally choosier than men – a lot choosier! However, women who are less attractive are less choosy (they decide to make further contact more often), especially when there are more attractive women in their speed-dating group.

Alice: Do we know what causes relationships to break-up?

Professor Fletcher: The short answer is yes.

For both dating and marital relationships, a bunch of socio-demographic factors are linked to higher levels of dissolution (e.g., low income, low religiosity, unemployment), some personality factors (e.g., being neurotic, attachment avoidance), and a slew of factors linked to the nature of the relationship (e.g.,infidelity, violence, poor communication, negative attitudes to the partner, poor support).

If you enter a relationship with a deck already stacked for or against you, is the fate of your relationship already sealed? No.

Relationship interaction and communication have large effects over and above what individuals bring with them into a relationship. The figure bandied round the zeitgeist for the odds of marriages ending in divorce is 50%. Actually, the only countries that even approach this figure are Belgium and the USA, and the divorce rate in the US seems to have been coming down lately.

In other western countries like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the UK, the divorce rate is closer to 35%. I am constantly struck by the high proportion of marriages that go the course in modern, western settings, given the relatively recent introduction of no-fault legislation, the more relaxed norms concerning divorce, and the increasing economic independence of women. Humans are truly a pair-bonding species.

Alice: Attachment theory and ideas developed by John Bowlby have had a huge impact on relationship therapy and our understanding of romantic relationships. But do our childhood experiences really determine what happens in our adult relationships? 

Professor Fletcher: Bowlby has had a huge impact on the field for sure, and it shows no signs of dissipating.  I think one major reason is that Bowlby developed his theory by trolling though the scientific literature across many fields including computer science, ethology, evolutionary biology, and developmental psychology.

He was able to combine this with his own clinical experience to nail down some of the crucial features of the attachment system, with the help of Mary Ainsworth, (a student of Bowlby’s) who developed the famous lab-strange situation. In this set-up infants were left by their mothers briefly (in one condition with a stranger present) and their behavior was observed both in this situation and when their mother returned.

The big bang of adult attachment work was provided by Cindy Hazan and Phil Shaver in 1987, who reported that the percentages of people reporting being secure (56%)  avoidant (25%) or anxious (19%) in their romantic relationships were similar those reported by Ainsworth in her observations of infants in the lab strange situation. Well over 1500 studies on adult attachment have been reported since 1987, so I won’t attempt a review here. However, let me give two bottom-line conclusions.

First, attachment styles formed in the first 2 years of life continue to have a life-long impact. Second, attachment styles are relatively stable, but are also exquisitely sensitive to relationship experiences. As a child or as an adult, relationship experiences (good or bad) can slowly shift people from secure to insecure attachment styles, and vice versa.

Alice: There is a lot of controversy about the role of evolution in the way romance and relationships work. What is your take on this?”

Professor Fletcher: Well, the controversy is probably played up in the media, but it is true that some if not many psychologists remain skeptical about the value of an evolutionary approach to intimate relationships. However, humans are the products of evolution, and the fulcrum of Darwinian evolution is sexual reproduction. Thus, it is hardly surprising that there is a tight connection between human nature and human mating and family life.

There is considerable evidence, for example, that romantic love between adults is an evolved device for producing the kind of powerful commitment required for parents to stay together for many years, thus facilitating the enormous investment required for the care, provisioning, teaching, and protection of offspring across the relatively stretched childhood and adolescence of modern humans. However, as I said before, an evolutionary approach only goes so far.

The powerful roles of culture and the interpersonal context also need to be taken into account. But these forces do not operate in some either/or fashion. Humans have evolved as cultural animals, born to be shaped and to learn from our cultural heritage. Moreover, the fact that culture and context bend behavior around does not negate the power of our evolutionary heritage. Indeed, there is considerable evidence that evolution builds in behavioral flexibility to many species, probably reaching its zenith in modern humans.

Alice: Where is the scientific study of romantic relationships going?

Professor Fletcher: The scientific study of romance and love really got going from about 1980 onwards. Evolutionary psychologists picked up from where Darwin left off, and started investigating mate selection in humans. Social and clinical psychologists started to intensely study interaction in intimate relationships, and adapted John Bowlby’s influential work on childhood attachment to study adult attachment in romantic relationships. Anthropologists increasingly began studying love, mating, and family life around the world. Neuroscientists began using brain imaging to study love and the brain. And, the study of human sexuality started to go well beyond Alfred Kinsey’s landmark studies in the 1950’s.

The problem is that scientists in these disciplines in the past pretty much worked in independent silos, publishing in their specialist journals and talking to one another at their own conferences. Fortunately this is now changing, with interdisciplinary work across scientific fields becoming more common. Our recent textbook (The Science of Intimate Relationships (link is external)) exemplifies this trend, by integrating research and theories across scientific domains. One bottom line emerging from this book is that adopting an interdisciplinary approach to understanding how intimate relationships work provides a wonderfully unique window into our understanding of human nature.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Digging Into the Past to Discover Best Tips for Mating Development

The rise of dating apps coupled with the rise of more liberated sexual norms has created numerous opportunities for one of the world’s most beloved past times: casual sex.

However, the new “hookup culture” has its fair share of haters who ask the question, can casual sex or friends-with-benefits lead to serious relationships? It’s no secret that strangers love inserting their opinions into others personal lives — especially when sex is involved. People are judgmental of those who include casual sex in their bedroom habits, labeling them as commitment-phobes and sluts, or shaming their assumed reluctance to be in a “real,” “grown-up” relationship. But casual sex is a common, normal activity. And in an interview with the Washington Post, Helen Fisher, famed biological anthropologist and Chief Scientific Adviser at Match, says that casual sexual relations serve an important purpose, can have wonderful outcomes (when safe and consensual), and can often develop into serious partnerships.

Every year, Match conducts a survey on unwed Americans to gather data on sex and dating habits. This year’s survey produced some results that should be very interesting for the casual sex haters out there. The Washington Post reports:

…A quarter of singles have converted a one-night stand into a long-term relationship.The Match study also found that, while online daters have sex more frequently than offline daters, they’re not more promiscuous. Both groups, on average, had the same number of sexual partners. When compared with offline daters, online daters were twice as likely to ‘imagine a committed future with someone while on a first date’ and 58 percent more likely to want to marry.

Additionally, the annual survey from 2012 found that 44 percent of those surveyed had been in a FWB relationship that evolved into a long-term relationship. In the interview, Fisher attributed these facts to her theory of “slow love,” meaning “singles are looking to make a connection quickly and commit more slowly.” Engaging in sex casually and quickly does not mean that you are closed off to love, Fisher argued, but that you are trying to learn as much about a potential life partner as soon as possible.

She continued, “Early sex means: ‘I’m interested in you. I want to know who you are. I don’t want to spend my life trying to figure out who you are’… “I think people are so scared of divorce that they are putting off marriage until they know everything about this person,” and learning “everything” means learning about compatibility in physical intimacy.

Fisher has similarly written about casual sex and long-term relationships in her book Anatomy of Love. The text referenced a study from 2008 in which 51 percent of 500 surveyed undergrads engaged in casual hookups with the specific goal of finding a serious partner. (As an aside, the data found no difference in response from any gender, men or women.) Friends with benefits and casual sex relationships, writes Fisher, allow you “to learn a great deal about a potential mate before making a formal commitment, marrying and divorcing.” A person’s behavior and attitude during sexual activity, she elaborated, helps you learn a lot about another person – like their health, patience, and willingness to listen to your needs. All of which help you to learn enough about someone to want to enter into a long-term relationship with them.

I talked to 22 people whose casual sex relationships have turned into serious, committed, long-term partnerships (and even marriages).

1. Gina, 26

My partner and I met in LA, flirted for a week, and then had a one-night stand. We figured it was going to be just sex. Shortly after, he had to fly back to Australia, where he’s from, and we ended up staying in touch. A month later, I sold all my belongings in Boston and flew over to Australia to be with him. It’s been 2 years since we’ve been a couple.

2. Kelly, 22

Our relationship began strictly as friends with benefits. I had recently gotten out of a long relationship and wasn’t interested in pursuing something serious. After about a month of frequent hookups though, I felt myself falling for her. A week into these more serious feelings I came clean, and shortly after we began dating officially. We’ve been together over two years.

Everything I Learned About Having A Successful ‘Friends With Benefits’ Relationship From My Mistakes

  • Not everyone is cut out for a friends with benefits relationship, and here’s why…

Having a ‘Friends With Benefits’ relationship sounds great from the start but having sex without any strings attached is never as easy as it sounds, at least not for me.

The first time I tried to have a FWB relationship I was young. I was also very naive. I had no idea who I was, what I wanted or how to stand up for myself. All I did know was that I really, really liked the dude and he didn’t reciprocate those feelings but I thought, ‘hey, he liked me enough to hook up with me and if I hook up with him then at least I’d get to spend time with him. Which is the worst possible mindset to have.

For years (yes, years) I hooked up with him, hoping that someday it would turn into more. I wished that one day he’d realize he needed me in his life in other ways. But, no surprise there, that never happened, even after all those years. I held onto false hopes of words I dissected that he let slip out while we were in bed.

It never turned into more. I was disappointed for years but I kept doing it because I didn’t respect myself enough to walk away. I wanted to stay because for the hour or so we’d spend together it would seem worth it at the time.

After all I put myself through with him, I still didn’t learn.

passionate romantic couple

I thought I could be the girl who could just sleep with men and not get attached. I convinced myself that I didn’t need a relationship or another heartbreak. So I tried again.

I pretended to be the ‘cool girl’ that doesn’t actually exist. I tried to convince myself and everyone else that I didn’t care that I wouldn’t go over to Tom’s until at 11 P.M. and leave early in the morning because when the sun came up we didn’t have anything to talk about. I liked to pretend it didn’t hurt.

I told myself I didn’t care that Josh only called when he was drunk and didn’t want to go home alone. I told myself that I was fine, that I could just sleep with these dudes and that nothing would hurt me because I didn’t want to be the “crazy” girl who needed commitment and want someone to actually stick around in the morning.

But I was. I’ve always been that girl and there’s nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to be a FWB person, because most people aren’t cut out for it, myself included and that’s okay.

I learned that you should never – under any circumstances – start a FWB relationship with someone you have feelings for, even if they’re just ‘crush-status’ feelings. They’re still feelings and the more time you spend with this person, especially in bed, will cause those feelings to grow immensely and that will only lead to you getting hurt.

Something I convinced myself of a lot was that if the guy spent more time with me that maybe I could convince him to like me and want more, but the thing is you can’t convince people to like you and you shouldn’t have to.

Sex won’t make someone stay or love you.

Another thing I learned about FWB is that sex won’t make him stay. He will come, have sex with you and he will still leave because he got what he came for. And having him stay the night with you will only make you feel a deeper connection to him. That will get you overthinking and ultimately cause more damage when things blow up because they will blow up if you’re not on the same page.

Communication is the most important thing.

sensual young couple

You have to make sure you’re both on the same page from the start and have open communication. Sometimes it’s hard — usually it’s hard, but it’s so important. Without communication nothing works and someone is bound to get hurt.

In my experiences, I’ve always been afraid to bring up what is going on because I didn’t want to scare away the guy. I’ve always felt like guys are terrified of hearing the words, “can we talk about what’s going on here?” And that if I say those words it’s immediately over, but if you’re just sleeping together it’s important to be on the same page. It’s even important to be on the same page when you’re dating, in a relationship, and married. You have to have that open line of communication, because when you don’t things become messy.

Avoid starting a friends with benefits arrangement with someone you’re close to.

You also shouldn’t start a FWB relationship with someone who is important to you or is a big part of your life, like your roommates best friend or someone in your friend circle. If things go south it will become extremely awkward and in a way it will feel like a break up, even though you were never dating. It’s important to be mindful of who you start this relationship with.

If FWB is something you truly want, you have to keep it as focused on hooking up as possible and try to avoid keeping it personal because it’s too easy to become attached or fall for someone when you’re sleeping together and start becoming involved in their personal life. Like I said, FWB relationships aren’t for everyone, they aren’t for most people, honestly and that’s okay.

It’s important to know who you are and what you can actually handle. FWB can be fun, but you have to make sure you’re on the same page, that’s the most important part of the relationship. If you start to develop feelings you have to know it’s time to walk away before you get really attached and hurt. You can’t hold onto the hope you’ve created in your mind that things will work out and he will fall for you. When guys tell you they don’t want a relationship, they mean it and you have to listen.

FWB relationships aren’t for everyone but if you go into them with respect for each other and clear communication then they are doable.

For more ways to please women, check out 16 Women On The One Thing They Appreciate Most From A Man In Bed.

Becoming Sex Positive: The Tentative Journey of a ‘Good Girl’

Turns out the world (and sex) is less scary and more fun than I was told.

My husband and I have known each other for about 15 years and are polyamorous. But we didn’t start out that way. We opened our marriage up about 5 years ago and it has been a journey of self-discovery for both of us.

It’s also been a journey into a more sex positive philosophy for me. Sex-positivity is a philosophy of human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as healthy and pleasurable, encouraging sexual pleasure and experimentation rather than shaming it.

Growing up as a so-called good southern girl

I grew up in a small town in a conservative state. I also grew up watching “The Princess Bride” and “The Little Mermaid” so my ideas of love and romance (and sex when I grew older) were rooted in tradition. When I got married at 25 I was proud of the fact that I had only slept with two guys. It pains me to write this now but I thought that made me better than women who had “slept around.”

I look back on that and realize how archaic that is. I can also trace that attitude to what I now consider to misogynistic ideas of females and even rape culture. “Good girls don’t show a lot of skin” and “good girls don’t sleep with lots of guys.” Who is deciding what number constitutes “lots” anyway?

As I approached 30, I began reading some pretty salacious books thanks to ereaders and the proliferation of erotic romance. Without fully acknowledging it, I started to wonder if I had missed out on something having dated so little.

I truly was happy with my marriage or didn’t wish I’d ended up somewhere different. But I did start to wish I’d had more varied experiences along the way to my happy marriage. This is one of the reasons poly was a good fit for my husband and me.

Good southern girl

Also, check out LOVE TV’s A Beginner’s Guide To Ethical Non Monogamous Relationships. 

The good southern girl starts to explore

My first dating experience as a married woman was with a friend. It took me six months to admit to myself that I felt something for him and another 3 months to really do anything about it. But once I realized that the feeling wasn’t one-sided, the flood gates opened.

I threw myself into that relationship with abandon, knowing that it would end someday and that ending might be difficult. But I didn’t care. I’d spent so much time second guessing myself that it felt amazing to let go.

Once I got married I never thought I’d have sex with another man. I never thought to grow close with another man. I never thought I’d make French toast naked in someone else’s kitchen after a leisurely morning of sex. That relationship did end but I am grateful for all i learned from it.

All of this was a whole new world for me. For someone who never broke the rules, I was breaking lots of them and having crazy (for me) amounts of fun.

The good southern girl discovers the enrichment of new experiences

If this was so much fun, what other amazing experiences had I missed out on? Everyone else complained about dating. Even knowing that, I wanted to know what that experience was like. I wanted firsthand experience with the highs and lows of dating.

They say variety is the spice of life and I am only beginning to experience that variety. What else can I experience that will help me learn about the world? What can relationships with others help me learn? And what I can learn about myself in the process? I am excited about the possibilities.

Is this what they meant by “The world is your oyster?”

Life begins outside your comfort zone

I didn’t set out to find a casual sex partner but that’s what I did. Through online dating I met a man who was fun, smart, and pushed me into new experiences just enough. And although I wasn’t ready to open up with all my desires, he taught me new things and new a surprising amount about my body considering how long we hadn’t known each other. Casual sex? Check.

I vacationed in Europe one summer, most of it with my husband. I did however have a few nights on my own. I set a goal for myself to have a one night stand. It would be fun to sleep with a sexy European.

Thanks to the wonders of Tinder, I achieved my goal. After talking to a man for a few hours, I agreed to meet him. We went to a bar not far away and after a few drinks, I asked him if he wanted to come back to my room. I hope we didn’t bother the neighbors too much! It was fun and exactly what I wanted, only better. One night stand? Check. Affair (albeit short) with a sexy Italian guy? Check.

good southern girl makes out with cowboy

Lessons of your youth should die a slow death

I still have moments where I judge myself for my wants and desires. And I fear the judgement of others. But I know that’s the “Good Girl” talking and I have learned a lot about the world that she was never taught.

Being sex positive isn’t always easy for me. But I have close friends I can confide in and it helps to hear that they too have similar feelings and work to overcome them.

Missed opportunities turned into fully appreciated opportunities

I have moments when I regret that my world didn’t get bigger until my 30s. I said as much to one of my lovers. He told me he thought of it as “waiting until we could fully appreciate and learn from new experiences, and be mature enough have those experiences safely.”

That statement has really stuck with me. Would I have appreciated all the world has to offer in my 20’s? Would I have been responsible with these new experiences? It’s easy to regret not finding all this out when I was younger but regret is a waste of time. And I am all about maximizing my time and sucking the marrow out of life.


If you’re thinking about opening up your marriage or exploring new adventures in your marriage, become a full member of LOVE TV and talk with love gurus and relationship experts about your love and your life. 

The Joys of a Sexless First Date Are a lot Better Than You Might Think

There’s nothing wrong with setting out to get laid on the first date, but there’s fun in going on a date that leads to no sex, or even not kissing.

I’ve been in a total “dating sucks” state of mind lately. Maybe it’s the winter weather that makes me want to bog down in a sea of fleece blankets, warm tea mug in hand. I’ve been apathetic, because all I can think about is how much work it is to make plans, get dressed, go somewhere, and keep up the effort even with someone who isn’t the one. I started thinking, there’s got to be more.

People who are hyper-focused on being in a relationship will approach dates with tunnel vision. The same can be said for folks who are hyper-focused on only dating for sex, too. But there’s so much more!

I had to remind myself of all the fun times I’ve had on first dates that didn’t “go anywhere.” No sex, not even a kiss, and not even a second date. What ever happened to the joy of meeting people for the sake of meeting people?

1. A sexless first date can make you see a friend in a new light or build a foundation of intimacy.

Fashionable interracial couple drinking wine during date sitting at restaurant having romantic evening and nice conversation raising glasses to love at first sight. Hipster man proposing toast

The first time I went on a date with a friend was kind of odd, which, I guess, is to be expected. I saw it coming. He’d hint at his interest with suggestive comments about my outfits, my smile, not-so-overt innuendos, etc.

But it’s fun to see the different side of someone you’ve always viewed platonically. He held open doors and looked nicer than usual and gave me puppy dog eyes a lot. The charm was turned all the way on, and I thought “okay, I can see why someone would date you.”

It was cute! We didn’t work out romantically for a number of reasons, but it’s good to remember why you’re friends with people to begin with, and it’s good to see someone turn on the charm for you.

At the same time, if your date goes horribly that can be a sign that your friendship isn’t as solid as you think it is.

2. There are no post-sex regrets.

promo shot from film walk of shame

I’m lucky to say (and it’s sad that I feel lucky in this) that I haven’t had too many sexual encounters I’ve regretted. It helps that I generally don’t have sex if I’m really intoxicated.

When you want sex you want it, and I tend to listen to my carnal desires if I don’t think they’ll have unpleasant repercussions. That being said, there have definitely been underwhelming coital encounters that left me thinking, “I could have had a V8.”

I believe that no sex is better than bad sex. At least with a sexless first date, the worst you get out of it is an hour wasted. There’s no lamenting over how you could have gone home and just pulled out your vibrator.

3. You can focus better on who you’re with.

nerdy geeky couple on a date

I know what it’s like to go on a date with only the end goal of smashing in mind. You entertain the person you’re with, have amiable-enough conversation, lest they say something that turns you off completely and ruins any chance of you getting naked for them. No amount of friendly laughter and offhand jokes will hide what you want at the end of the night.

And hey, I’m not knocking this at all. If you’re being safe and smart about casual sex, get your groove on.

But what would it be like to go into a date with no expectations at all?

I heard some good advice once about dating and “meeting people”: focus on friendship first.

Think of a first date as a potential friend. Find out their interests, see if they’re fun to hang out with at a museum, or if they like 90s sitcoms, or what they do outside of their day job.

We don’t go around sleeping with our friends when we first meet them – or at least I certainly don’t. If you do, you might have some things to work on. (Don’t we all?)

The key to an enjoyable first date is the “no expectations” part. I live in a big city with so many interesting, weird, wacky and beautiful people – I wouldn’t do them (or myself) justice if I were only focused on sleeping with them, or making them my significant other.

Wow, I think I’ve actually convinced myself to go on some more dates! After all, the snow is melting, the days are getting longer, the sun is showing itself a bit more. Anything goes in Chicago though – we know it doesn’t really get nice until Memorial Day.

If you’re searching for more dating tips and tricks, join LOVE TV and work with our gurus and love experts to find the best solutions for you.