By Hayley Gray, The Sex Collective
You might have already mastered the refined art of casual sex. For many, however, such attempts in the incestuous world of residence and university life have left them hurt, uncomfortable, or feeling like it just wasn’t worth the drama.
When we get our STI talks, we’re always told that “there is no such thing as safe sex, but you can take precautions to have safer sex.” This tactic can also be applied to your emotional safety when it comes to sex. So how, as the kids say nowadays, do you bring your emotional condom? Fun, drama-free sexy times are possible, with a bit of self-knowledge and some helpful tips.
The study of casual sex is complex. Dr. Marla Eisenberg, at the University of Minnesota, found that individuals engaging in casual sex were no less psychologically healthy than individuals in committed relationships. That being said, Catherine Grello at the University of Tennessee found that women engaging in casual sex were more likely to suffer from depressive symptoms than men.
In Grello’s study, when asked about their last casual sex encounter, 18 per cent of women believed it to be “the beginning of a sexual relationship,” where as only three per cent of
men held that belief. On the flip side, twice as many men as women believed it was the start of a “casual sex relationship.”
I think these studies should be looked at critically, and I believe that much of the neurochemical differences betweenmen and women are a result of our environments and social experiences. However, there does seem to be a large difference between men and women with their beliefs around casual sex. Within hetero relationships, this is often where the hurt, discomfort and drama can fester.
Differences in the post-orgasm brains of men and women are not as distinct as one might think: we all get surges of prolactin and oxytocin released during orgasm. However, these two
neurochemicals can display different effects when teamed up with high levels of testosterone in men and a smaller amount of testosterone in women. Often, males report feeling satiated and sleepy post-coitus, whereas females feel bonded and ready for more.
But in keeping with my dislike of gender binaries, the best advice I can give is to be aware and considerate, whatever your junk looks like. Know that you might feel like ignoring the person lying on top, beside, behind or across from you. With this in mind, make an effort to be respectful and affectionate.
Also, be aware that you might have feelings of attachment and bonding: know that they are fluid and might just be in the moment.
If you didn’t orgasm, acknowledge that you might become frustrated and irritable. You are responsible for your orgasm, so don’t waste your time on resentment.
Before you go into casual anything, you need to be critically assessing your standpoint. If you are looking for a more long-term relationship, don’t agree to casual sex. You’re just going to feel like crap post-orgasm, when all you want to do is bond with someone you’ve agreed to engage with casually.
Be respectful and take hints. If someone doesn’t want you crashing in their bed, peace out. If you sext someone and they are busy, remind yourself that you are not in a relationship with them: you don’t get to make yourself their priority. If you see your casual conspirator in the cafeteria a day later, be polite and ask how class was.
But most importantly, if at the end of the night it turns out to just be you, make sure that you’re ready to get yourself off.
As much as Katie Toth loves her sex column, she can’t talk about dildos forever. Thus, she’s passed the torch to a new, rotating collective of sex-positive folks (including herself!) who’ll offer unique and diverse perspectives. Have a story pitch? A sex-related question? Want to join the team? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.