The booty call. The one-night stand. The friend with benefits. Recreational sex. Ex sex. Cereal sex. Casual sex comes in all shapes, flavours, sizes and positions. The world is a carnal carnival, and you have the golden ticket to ride all of the hottest rides.
So go ahead and take that pony for a spin. Get soaked on the log flume. You have an unlimited day pass – make the most of it before closing time.
Be warned though. Your day at Dick’s Fun Park comes with dire warnings. Too many turns on the roller coaster and you might get sick. Informal fornication is a tricky maze to navigate, one that’s seen a many strapping men get hopelessly lost.
You will not be that man. You will learn how to be a stand up guy during a one night stand. You’ll master the art of having no-strings sex without getting tied up.
Casual Sex Do’s
Choose Your Target Wisely
Successful no-strings-attached sex starts long before the clothes are on the floor. It begins at the bar (or the bookstore, or Bumble, or wherever you like to work your magic). Choosing a faulty f*ck-buddy dooms the liaison from day one.
Like casual sex itself, the wrong partner comes in many guises. An ex is almost always messy. A close friend or someone you work with carries major risks. A person with feelings for you will be easy to get into bed, but hard to get out of it.
Someone with a psycho side (even if it’s hot to you at first) is a bomb waiting to go off. Exercising caution before you do the horizontal hokey pokey can save you worlds of pain down the line.
Establish Basic Ground Rules
You’ve found a willing participant for your experiment in casual shagging – congratulations! If only one sesh between the sheets is in the cards, you’re free to proceed. But if you’re hoping for an ongoing arrangement, your next step is to set the terms.
Establish mutually agreed upon ground rules about things like protection protocol, how often you’ll see each other, what kind of activities you’ll engage in (both in bed and out), whether your assignations are a secret, and what happens if feelings change.
“A lot of guys will bring it up too late,” says Chris Manak, one of Melbourne’s best dating coaches.
“They’ll date a girl for a few months and then they’ll drop the, ‘I don’t know if I really want a relationship…’ line. Then the girl will almost always leave out of principle.”
“Bring it up early and in a positive sense. If I’m getting a girl’s number, I’ll be joking about it by saying something like ‘Calm down, I’m not a boyfriend type but you’re cool so we’ll hang out.'”
The clearer everyone is on where they stand and what they want, the less chance there is for your rendezvous to take a wrong turn or be a total time-waster.
Be A Straight Shooter
Your mother was right when she said honesty is the best policy (though we’re guessing she wasn’t talking about getting raunchy with a rando from Tinder). Be upfront with your partners about the nature of your tryst.
Sure, you might lose some along the way, but you’ll gain points for good behaviour and far fewer stalkers seeking revenge. Remember that being a straight shooter isn’t just about what you say – sometimes it’s about what you don’t say. Don’t lie, don’t use language that could be misconstrued, don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep.
Be Aware Of Your Behaviour
Words are only a piece of the puzzle. There’s also a labyrinth of unspoken stuff you have to stay on top of. Your behaviour should back up what you say and ensure your intentions are clear.
Don’t lead a hookup on by: knocking boots on multiple nights in a week, agreeing to meet their family, spending holidays together, communicating too often or in an overly personal way, engaging in romantic activities or talk, or getting too affectionate and cuddly. Basically, don’t do anything that could be construed as boyfriendy.
Keep The Warm & Fuzzies In Check
It’s easy to focus on your partner’s (hopefully non-existent) emotions and forget your own, but it’s your job to check your feelings at the door and make sure they stay there. Remind yourself occasionally that this amazing person who is down to get down without strings is not your soulmate.
The sex – even if it’s mind-blowing – is just sex. Attachment is for e-mails. If you do find feelings unexpectedly rearing their complicating heads, refer back to rule number three. Be honest about it and reconsider or restructure the arrangement. Failure to do so is unfair to your f-buddy and likely to end unpleasantly for you.
Be A Proper Gentleman
Casual status is not an excuse to be a dick. Your fling – even if it’s a one-night-only show – deserves to feel respected and safe, and to have just as good a time as you.
Honour any rules that have been established and don’t cross any boundaries that have been discussed. Don’t kick her out of your place at the crack of dawn. Don’t sneak out a window at her place in the middle of the night.
Share the love (and by love, we mean orgasms). Be magnificent, but not a bastard.
Play It Safe
Hookups are hot and heavy, spur-of-the-moment explosions of lust and libido. And yes, part of the appeal of casual sex is its lack of obligations. But as any man who survived grade school sex ed (hint: all of you) knows, health matters.
Be upfront about whether you’re both sleeping with other people. Have a chat about the last time you each got tested. Find out if she’s on birth control. And regardless of the answers to all of those questions, wrap it up. Every time.
Know When To End It Like A Man
Even the best casual sex doesn’t last forever. The spark eventually fades, or the situation explodes in your face, or you fall in love and suddenly things aren’t so casual anymore. Sex is unpredictable, and that’s part of why it’s so much fun.
Accept that a hookup is, by definition, transient. It’s destined to end from the moment it starts. Learn to recognise the signs that the time has arrived, and when it does, let go with grace and your dignity intact. Then return to rule one and start again.
Chris Manak agrees and says that you’re the one who needs to bring it to an end if you’re the one initiating the open relationship status.
“There’s no real way to go about it. The only issue with that is a lot of girls are subconsciously attracted to emotionally unavailable men.”
“Some girls don’t know what they’re attracted to. As soon as a guy says, ‘No, I’m ready to settle down now,’ girls say see you later because they could be missing the chase.”
On the other side of the coin, men need to stop being “pussies” when it’s the women who are holding down the open relationship status.
“You need to tell them, ‘Look, I love you; this is not providing me what I want. Let’s do this properly or I’m leaving'”.
Casual Sex Don’ts
Being too keen
According to Nikki, when you’re actually hooking up, “one of the most common mistakes a guy can make is they can get a little bit too enthusiastic.” But wait, isn’t enthusiasm a good thing? Well, yes: you don’t want to lay back like a limp sack of potatoes. But being too full on is a turn off.
“We have different sexual response cycles; guys are ready to go a lot quicker than women and if they’re really enthusiastic it can be perceived as a little bit too much.”
Assuming you have to take the lead
With society finally cracking down on bad dating behaviour, Nikki said, “it can be a scary time” for everyone, “because we’re not all sure what is expected of us.” What does this mean for men? During a hook up; “Check in, in a gentleman like way.”
“It doesn’t have to be over the top, but it could actually be really seductive like, ‘Just wanted to check in, are you ok with everything?’ while you’re stroking your hand across her face. Something like that could even add to the experience becuase she’s like, ‘wow this guy is so sweet and so caring’ so it’s not neccessarily a bad thing to be doing anyway.”
Playing ‘the game’
With the casual fling side of things, game playing is perhaps the worst walked tightrope in modern dating. Play too much and you will frustrate your date, don’t play at all and you will be perceived as boring. The one constant, however, is easy to remember, and that is to always be respectful.
As Nikki told us, “There are people who think because you have a casual fling you don’t have to be respectful, but even though you might not want a relationship with this person, showing signs of disrespect will make that situation end prematurely.”
Being a selfish lover…
“It might be not replying to text messages for a while, not calling her (or calling her at 2am when something like that hasn’t been established),” but all those situations can disqualify you as selfish in 2019. Many people these days are up for “casual fun” Nikki told us, “but they still want be respected and they still deserve to be respected.”
“If you can’t give them those basic things, we’re living in an app society with a hookup culture, so they will dismiss you and find somebody they can have a friend with benefits situation with.”
Ignoring the obvious
Another common error many men tend to make both in relationships and even more so with their casual partners is “not addressing the big pink elephant in the room.” As Nikki told us, “maybe someone’s developed emotions or something happens sexually (or someone’s jealous because they found out you are hooking up with someone they know), but I feel like it’s better to address that stuff and have a bit of a laugh about it, and just be like, ‘Well that’s bloody awkward isn’t it?'”
“Not talking about stuff sometimes sees other emotions manifest.”
Assuming it’s always going to be a ‘no feelings’ zone
According to Nikki, “If you want your casual fun to be enjoyable for everybody [and last as long as possible],” then you’ve got to leave the whole “it’s not a relationship so I don’t have to talk about these things” mindset where it belongs: back in 2018.
Not taking a hint
“If you do make the first move and it is rejected, we are no longer living in the age of ‘If at first you don’t succeed then you try again,'” Nikki told us.
“It used to be, ‘if a girl rejects me I’ll ween her down, she’ll get to know me.’ That’s no longer the case.”
Now go forth and fornicate with courtesy.
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