Bed, Bitch & Beyond: The Joy of Casual Sex

Earlier this week we talked about the joy of no sex. Today, I'm singing the praises of casual sex.

I've simply never bought into the idea that all sex must live up to the shining heteronormative ideal of candlelight and roses and true love (which, of course, will progress naturally to an engagement ring and a poufy white dress.) Now, I was always told growing up that "sex is what you do when you love someone." Well, yes. But Fun sex with your friends has its place too, and for me, having fuck buddies is one of the most enjoyable perks of being single, especially during dry spells between relationships, which is why my friend Jill often refers to them as "the dick in the glass case" (imagine a fire alarm: In Case of Horny Emergency, Break Glass and Grab Dick.)

R. was my first fuck buddy. We'd met in college down South and moved to New York at the same time. We were always platonic friends and regularly swapped stories about our dating lives. He was--and still is--one of the most relaxed, casual and non-judgmental of my friends, particularly about sex. I could walk up to him and say, "So last night I was in an orgy with Daniel Craig, the Rockettes and some Shetland ponies" and he'd just say "Oh yeah? Tell me about it." But our friendship never turned romantic--we have very different lifestyles, and he's slender and boyish, which is not really the body type I go for.

But at one point, many years ago, while in the middle of a dry spell, I was feeling horny, bored, and a bit at loose ends. When we were hanging out at my place one night, I turned to him and said, "So if I wanted to seduce you....?" He didn't looked shocked at all, just perked up and said, "Sure." So off we went to my bedroom. The next morning I sent Jill a message reading: "The glass case is broke all to hell."

And you know, the sex was fantastic--made hotter by mutual curiosity and the fact that years of talking made us highly knowledgeable about each other's kinks. The next morning, R. and I went right back to being platonic friends. There was no weirdness about it at all. Or the next time it happened--three years later. Or a couple years after that. I used to joke with R. that he was my "rainmaker" because coincidentally, every time I had a dry spell and fucked R., I wound up meeting a new boyfriend soon after (once I actually met someone at a party R. held the following weekend).

That's the key to having a good fuck buddy relationship. Easy come, easy go. Friends before, friends after. Yes, sometimes sex complicates or even dooms friendships. But it's not a given that it will.

It took me a while to develop a taste for casual sex--in my early 20s I was less secure in myself and my sexuality, and had a harder time just enjoying sex for the physical pleasure. As I got older, and went in and out of many long- and short-term relationships, I was able to dump a lot of the "OMG, why didn't he call?" propaganda that had lodged itself in my head (Thanks, ladymags! Thanks, sitcoms! Thanks, frenemies!).

Here's why: dating--and fucking--a lot taught me to quit putting emphasis on whether a guy is into me, and pay attention to whether I'm actually into him. Of course, society tells us that women aren't supposed to think of it that way; we're supposed to live for male approval. We've been coached to worry first and foremost about whether he wants to be with us.

But sometimes, frankly, I didn't want a relationship--I just wanted sex. I didn't always want to be boyfriend-girlfriend with every man I was attracted to. A friendly, reliable purveyor of orgasms is a lot easier (and often more fun) than a serious boyfriend. So while I'm single, I'm going to have my fuck buddies for fun on the side.

I currently have two fuck buddies. D. is a politician from the 'burbs who I've been seeing on and off for close to three years. We dated at first, but it became clear that he was way too into his career to ever be a full-time partner. But he's smart, tall, dark, handsome and...uh...tall all over. We're friends 100% of the time and when I'm not in a serious relationship, we're friends with benefits.

A., the second buddy, is someone I met at a party eight months ago. We wouldn't make good partners--A's younger than me and too much of a loose cannon for commitment--but we make very good fuck buddies. I often meet him at his place at lunchtime for a quick roll in the hay. It's almost like getting a good massage--soothing, gratifying, and I'm back at work an hour or two later.

I've had a few girlfriends take me to task over these relationships, as though I'm betraying Team Woman by not insisting on commitment. I've found that the people who most frequently condemn fuck-buddydom are women with a predilection for slut-shaming. One of my friends insists that I really should be trying to get these guys to commit--especially D, who she considers quite a catch: "If you just cool things off for a while...let him miss you! He'll see that what he really wants is a relationship." When I answered, "But I don't want a relationship with him." she looked at me as though I had two heads. I pointed out that for a variety of reasons, neither of my fuck buddies were right for me in the long-term. It would be ridiculous and frustrating for me--as well as insulting to them--if I acted like a "Rules Girl." and tried to manipulate them into committing. Those guys have their place in my life, but it is not as the future Mr. BeckySharper, and that is fine with me. This friend still can't quite believe that I'm happy having casual sex with my male friends. It seriously never occurred to her that casual relationships might have an upside for women.

I'm not saying that every woman out there is tempermentally suited to having--or being--a fuck buddy. But in a sexist culture that tells us we should guard our hearts--and our vaginas--for Mr. Right, I'm saying that Mr. Right Now has his place in both...and you might not need to look far to find him.

Get Bitch Media's top 9 reads of the week delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning! Sign up for the Weekly Reader:

56 Comments Have Been Posted

Lol, well I'm married now,

Lol, well I'm married now, so my casual sex days are over. But I completely agree. I mean, guys can have casual sex and no one thinks any less of them. I was never much for it myself but can't say I never indulged in it. I don't know why society is so hell bent on telling us what we can do with our vaginas (or other orifices, I guess).


Why would that stop you, its over when you say it is or it won't work any longer

A retired slut. I LOVE it!

A retired slut. I LOVE it!

Why women are sluts and men are not

Women complain about how unfair it is that men are called studs when they sleep around, yet women get called sluts for the exact same behavior. It’s actually not a double standard though, because both scenarios are pretty different in terms of circumstances and consequences. I can think of at least four crucial differences:

First, sleeping around is easier for women. Regardless of how you feel about promiscuity, we can all agree that a guy who manages to rack up a lot of sexual partners has to have some skills. It’s challenging for men to rack up partners, even for men with low standards. A man needs social intelligence, interpersonal skills, persistence, thick skin, and plain old dumb luck. For women, though, a vagina and a pulse is often enough. Whenever an accomplishment requires absolutely no challenge, no one respects it. It’s just viewed as a lack of self-discipline. People respect those who accomplish challenging feats, while they consider those who overindulge in easily obtained feats as weak, untrustworthy or flawed.

Second, women have potential to do more harm by sleeping around than men do. Say a man sleeps around with a bunch of different women. He’s definitely doing harm to these women if he pretends to be monogamous while sleeping around. He may cause them emotional pain by his promiscuity. He may cause unwanted pregnancy. He may spread VD. When women sleep around, however, they can cause not only all these same ill effects but one additional crucial ill effect: the risk of unknown parentage.

If one guy sleeps around with five women, each of whom is monogamous to him, and they all get pregnant, it’s a safe bet as to who the father is. If you reverse genders and have one woman who sleeps around with five men who are monogamous to her, and she gets pregnant, the father could be any of the five men. And if one of those men is tricked into raising a baby that isn’t his, he’s investing time, money, estate and property to provide for a child that isn’t carrying his DNA into the next generations, a costly mistake from an evolutionary standpoint.

Our two basic primal drives are to survive and to reproduce, and promiscuous women traditionally make it hard for a man to know for sure whether he is truly reproducing or is secretly raising another man’s child. Men stand a lot more to lose from promiscuous women than the other way around. And it’s no picnic for the child to not know who his real father is either. And it’s a mess for the women carrying on the deception as well. Or just look at any random episode of the Maury show if you don’t believe me.

Since the DNA test and the birth control pill didn’t exist until recently, there were no reliable ways to prevent pregnancy or prove parentage for most of human history. For this reason society developed a vested interest in preventing promiscuity among women, and society accomplished this by creating the slut stigma. And even though the creation of birth control and DNA tests have made this less of a risk than the past, longstanding traditions and customs are not easy for society to break so the slut stigma remains.

Third, men have evolutionary reasons to be programmed to sleep around more. A lot of women roll their eyes when they hear that men are “hard-wired” to sleep around. But from an evolutionary standpoint, it makes total sense. If the two primal drives of humans are to survive and to reproduce, nothing leads to maximum reproduction like one man sleeping with multiple women. If one women sleeps with many men in a nine month period, she can only get pregnant just once. Nine months of rampant promiscuity would give the same result as nine months of highly sexed monogamy: one pregnancy. Now if one man sleeps with many women during a nine month period, you can get many pregnancies during that period. The more women he sleeps with, the more possible pregnancies.

So from an evolutionary standpoint, there are concrete advantages to men being promiscuous compared to women being promiscuous. This doesn’t mean that women have evolved to be strictly monogamous. Women have evolved to be somewhat promiscuous too, something men badly underestimate. However they haven’t evolved to be as rampantly promiscuous as men.

Fourth, promiscuity poses more risk to women than to men. A woman has more to lose from choosing bad sex partners than a man does. She’s the one who gets stuck with going through a pregnancy and taking care of a baby alone if she chooses a deadbeat. For this reason, promiscuous women throughout history have historically been viewed as being a vastly more irresponsible risk takers than promiscuous men, who rightly or wrongly could always run away from the consequences of unwanted pregnancies easier than women could.

These four reasons explain why the longstanding tradition came about of men being rewarded for multiple partners while women get socially punished for similar promiscuity. Of course all this is gradually changing, but we’re up against millenia of evolutionary and cultural conditioning here, so don’t expect any dramatic overnight reversals.

Understand that I’m just explaining why the double standard came into existence and not condoning or condemning it. This is not an attempt to pass judgment or be self-righteous in any way. It’s just an explanation of why the two conditions are treated differently.


This evolutionary psych argument is SO last decade. The multiple arguments against each point that come to mind seem so obvious to me that it would bore me to tears to write them out. Anyone with half a brain can figure out that it is also a disadvantage to a pregnant woman when her man has another baby with another by the this tired theory- the women should want to and would be successful at "containing" or controlling her man, ie, laws and traditions would have evolved to keep men from running around......yawn....anyhoo- why do ppl actually BELIEVE in this convenient excuse for bad behavior/stereotypes anymore!! Use yoiur brain! Dont be a sheep!

No Double Standard Here

I am a man, but I love that women are getting liberated in this area. I actually preferred to date sluts when I was single and married a former one. I find it VERY attractive. Unapologetic sluts are confident and incredibly interesting in my experience. Sex is the most natural thing in the world and if two consenting adults are down with it, go for it. Women should be able to have casual sex anytime they want to. I think more men agree with me than you might think. I also think that women are the ones who really come down hard on this behavior. They give men a free pass and turn on their fellow females.

Casual Sex

Nicely put, Ms. Sharp! I have always been a fan of fuck buddies and casual sex and the key is being able to seperate sex and love; they ARE mutually exclusive.


"dating--and fucking--a lot taught me to quit putting emphasis on whether a guy is into me, and pay attention to whether I'm actually into him."

Sorry, I don't get it. Why would anyone care if their guy/girl was into them if they were not into their guy/girl? Whenever I find out someone is interested or may be interested in me, my first thought is am I interested in him? Do people actually have a problem with this? Because I have to say I just don't get it.

It sounds like you haven't

It sounds like you haven't absorbed a lot of the "OMG, why hasn't he called?" propaganda I mention in the post. I think women are told time and time again by our pop culture to focus on men's responses to them (i.e. does he like me, does he want to go out with me, does he think I'm hot, does he want to commit to me?) rather than on our own towards him.

That sense of needing to know whether men are pleased with us is the root of the whole "He's Just Not That Into You" cultural meme and it's a HUGE issue for a lot of women (which is why the book by that title hit such a nerve for women and sold so many copies). I think it's one of the most pernicious messages women get from our culture.

But if you are somehow immune to it, more power to you! For most of us it takes time and experience to get it out of our systems (if we can).

Becky Sharper

I think I must have

I think I must have misunderstood you. If I like a guy of course I wonder about all the things you said, "does he like me, does he want to go out with me, does he think I'm hot, does he want to commit to me?". But if I am not interested in him I don't care if he likes me or not.

an explanation of "why didn't he call me"

****************sorry for the plain text emphases. I only saw "enable rich text" after I wrote this :( *******************
This conversation about women's dating habits is not really, as it's usually framed to be, about unmatched reciprocation. What it is really about is ignored needs and ignored complexity that disallows frank negotiation of boundaries and meanings. I think what you're missing is that there's huge leap from a woman being attracted to someone to assuming that a woman is attracted to them because they think they ARE the ideal partner that's sort of standard in dating an mating rhetoric.
Women don't like, need, or want sex for the sake of her own pleasure.
So they must want EVERYTHING else in a partner.
So that must be how they chose every sexual partner, if they have sex at all.
Else they must be confusing sex with getting everything else in partner
Or they must only want all partners just for sex.

HUGE LOGICAL FALLACIES, all of them, and most women who are successful in any relationship aren't subject to any of them, certainly not past 10th grade.

The trouble is that current dating culture operates on the assumption that it's true. And places the onus for upholding the casual sex VERSUS relationship dichotomy on women by perpetuating it.

Think about it: have you ever heard of the average man thinking about HIMSELF as EITHER a slut OR a relationship man? as though the former negates the pursuit and possibility of the later?? OUT LOUD? In the media? Assuming no one means them to be concurrent in practice but only in possibility (unless you're poly-, of course), it's a false dichotomy as well as a being a gender double standard. Basically it's saying "only men chose what partners they want for what and for complex and valid reasons. Women only want relationships from every man (madonna) or they only want sex from every man (sluts).

"Why didn't he call me???" is usually a silly question, not only *because* he didn't call and that makes him automatically ineligible as a partner, but because if you have to ask, you can't possibly KNOW him well enough in the real world for it to make a difference to YOU why he didn't call. Your self-esteem shouldn't be taking a hit from someone you don't know that well. You shouldn't be determining your value according to someone whose thoughts and the origins of those thoughts you don't know. Yet the pervasive "she just wants a relationship/she only wants sex" culture programs you to. Aside from the obvious subjugation inherent in such thinking, it teaches women to date as though *men* were an indifferentiable monolith UNTIL and UNLESS they commit or continue to show up after/in spite of having or not having sex. While this might be a helpful mentality if you only ever want to have a relationship and having sex regularly and/or being single is not a factor for you; it leads to some pretty f*^&#ed up mental dynamics about your value, men, sex, and dating, otherwise. It's brainwashing and the only way to overcome it is to disassemble the poor reasoning that causes it to function. And until you do, it's still a potentially horrible way to CHOSE a partner.
"He's just not that into you" &$*%&# UP my head for a while. The truth is, it's sort of an emotional rape-apologist line of reasoning. A REAL man will man up and let you know where the relationship is and not lead you on, regardless of how he feels; A SOCIOPATH will not. In short, it has NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW HE FEELS ABOUT ANYONE ELSE, and is therefore not a reflection on their desirability to "him" (the idealized, everything besides the sex, version of him) or anyone else. Got that?? Someone else's behavior should never determine how you think about yourself, but "why didn't he call me" and the presumption that *having sex* is *getting in the way of* a fulfilling relationship by *causing* men to see women differently advocates women to do JUST THAT, mostly by assuming that they already do and that there's nothing wrong with that.
Personally, I think the major reason people are still getting away with teaching and believing this stuff and making it work for them is that the majority of heteronormative people who are getting married for the first time are still doing it in their 20s. Second, it's because we have such strictly-enforced serial monogamy, with or without marriage up until then. If more women were allowed to remain single longer, we might see the sex taboo disappear and "he's just not that into you/all women want relationship from every man" disappear as a dating philosophy altogether.



I love you

I absolutely love you and your comment. And I hope to god that more women become aware of this ideology and continue believing it even when society tells them they're fucked up for believing it.


Are You Deluged with Propositions?

Much of what you describe are things I'd imagine the majority of heterosexual guys fantasize about for a dream date. So many men are eager for sex without commitment. I don't know how people avoid having emotional attachment to a sexual partner, but they obviously do. Have you been getting deluged with propositions that you've deleted?

I agree. I went for two

I agree. I went for two years without having sex because I felt that casual sex was not appropriate-mostly because of what I feared others would think. Then this summer I had sex with a friend and it was fantastic. It would have been nice if it had led to a closer relationship but it didn't. I look forward to having more casual trysts until I meet my next partner.

Don’t get me wrong: the

Don’t get me wrong: the ideas of embracing women’s sexuality and rejecting the notion that commitment is an important prerequisite for sex are both accurate and necessary. However, I also think it’s important to point out the inherent dangers in mixing casual sex with “friendship.” The author of this article has clearly been very lucky in her experiences, but examples of situations like those described in the article are much more likely to end up as cautionary tales than as empowering celebrations of sexuality. I may sound like a totally sex-negative Granny saying this, but the fact is: for the most part, sex and friendship do not mix. There are many reasons for this, but in the interest of not boring you to tears, I’ll only address the most important one.
What is a good romantic relationship, really? At its simplest, a relationship is composed of people who love, trust, and respect each other as friends, but who are also sexually attracted to one another. Yes, in romance, there’s also an intangible “something else” to it, but close friendships with a sexual element are really not all that strongly differentiated from romantic relationships. This can get confusing, and can easily become a minefield for hurt feelings despite the best of intentions. This has nothing to do with the assumption that “women always want commitment”—both genders are equally likely to end up hurt in a situation like that. And as anyone who has ever lost a friend can testify, it is a much more difficult loss to grieve than the breakup of a romantic relationship. Bottom line: even if you are sexually attracted to your friend, acting on those impulses, though fun, just may not be worth losing that frienship a few months or years down the road. Which, despite the counterexamples given in the article, is the most likely outcome.
My point, in all this rambling, is that although casual sex can be a fun, pleasurable, and empowering release, confusing the concept of fuck “buddies” with actual friendship is a dangerous game, and one that should be approached with utmost caution. There are plenty of other people to have casual sex with, without getting “friendship” mixed up in the situation.

as I said in the post

As I said in the post, not everyone's suited to having casual sex or being a fuck buddy. If you're not, then you're not, and there's nothing wrong with that. And it's true that there's a risk of hurt feelings if both people aren't on the same page---which is why you make sure you're on the same page.But I find your statement <i>&quot;there are plenty of other people to have casual sex with without getting 'friendship' mixed up in the situation&quot;</i> to be a little alarming. Are you saying it's better to have casual sex with people you don't like? Or don't trust? The advantage of fuck buddies is that you already have that respect and trust. I wouldn't want to have sex with someone I didn't like or if I felt that he/she didn't like me.Becky Sharper

I must admit, you're right

I must admit, you're right about that statement being kind of alarming. I threw it on at the end right before I posted, and now, re-reading it...yeah. You're right.
That being said, however, I still hold the same views about keeping friends as fuck buddies. People tend to lie. They lie to themselves, they lie to others, and it is entirely possible to have a "friend with benefits" and think you're on the same page when you really aren't. It's also possible for feelings to arise after a sexual relationship has begun, even if both parties were on the same page at the onset. It's true that sex and emotion can be mutually exclusive, certainly. But friendship and emotion can't be. In my opinion, friendship rules out truly "no strings attached" sex because...well...friendship is a string.

Yeah i have to agree,

Yeah i have to agree, friendship is a string. I have a friend I am attracted to and when we briefly dallied with the idea of sexual intimacy it sorta messed things up. We both have partners and it's confusing to still have feelings for her, but I do because she is one of my best friends. That said, a casual relationship with a friend less close, or someone I began to date and then realised they weren't right would be a different matter. Either way I have a Mr Lil_Sis so my brain doesn't have to worry about needing sexytimes, phew :P


I lost my virginity through casual sex, and I'm glad that I did. The way I see my sexuality, I'd prefer to get my practice in so that when I do find the person I want to be with for the rest of my life, they get the best of me. When it comes down to it, I don't feel that sex and love have to be mutually exclusive. There's too much taboo around sex in making sex something to be feared, we've both overvalued sex and barred all genuine exploration of sex at once. Sex is too much of a public issue and not enough of a private issue, where it belongs.

I don't look down on people who do choose to have sex within constraints -- we're a world of different people, and what works for some people doesn't work for the whole. But that comes both ways. For many reasons, I couldn't deal with having a relationship right now and didn't want my own hangups to get in the way of my initiating my sexuality, and ultimately decided that it didn't have to.

I just lost my virginity and

I just lost my virginity and I'm 25 years old to a friends with benefit proposal. He didn't know I'm a virgin even after the act not until I told him 4 days after. Then he asked why? So I told him it's because I don't want commitment and the timing is right. To me it's a celebration of my sexuality. Never regreted losing it to a 33 year old stud. Very well worth it. He even said he wouldn't be able to notice and that I ride better than those he's been for a long time. Girls, get a degree, travel, earn your cash and prove that you can stand on your own and do what damn well you please to do!

Both Worlds?

Why not negotiate an open long term relationship and keep the fuckboys? Or just not mention them, are you so against cheating? Why cant long term and casual co-exist.

I think long-term and casual

<p>I think long-term and casual can co-exist for some people. I'm not one of them, though.

</p><p>And yes, I'm definitely against cheating. You can't have it both ways; if you have agreed to be in a monogamous relationship, you have to give up the fuck buddies (or else it's not, y'know, <i>monogamous</i>).  If you still want casual sex on the side, don't agree to an exclusive relationship.</p><p>When I've been in serious, committed relationships, the fuck buddies just revert to being platonic friends.
Becky Sharper</p>

I've been wondering this

I've been wondering this about people who are pro casual sex, but also don't want to have open relationships. If you can separate sex so completely from love, why would you care if your lover was monogamous or not? Why would you even want your lover agree to a monogamous relationship in the first place? That is if sex is no big deal, right?

that's simple...

Just because I CAN separate sex from love some of the time doesn't mean I always do. Sometimes sex is a big emotional deal, sometimes it's not.

A woman's sex life doesn't need to be either 100% casual OR 100% monogamous. I don't limit my understanding of love and sex to just one or the other. There's room in my life for both types of relationships.

Becky Sharper

"Sometimes sex is a big

"Sometimes sex is a big emotional deal, sometimes it's not."

You can separate sex from love, but you don't always do this. My question is why and how? I can understand people who believe that sex is always a big deal (I'm a part of that camp) and I can understand people who can separate sex from love and have open relationships. What I don't understand are the people who say there is a difference between sex and love and practice casual sex when they are single, but when in a serious relationship desire monagamy. Why is it that when you are emotionally attached to someone you want it to be a monagamous relationship? Why are meaningless sexual trysts no longer okay? Why would you want to deny yourself and your lover the joys of casual sex if you enjoy it so much? Does being in an emotional relationship mean you can no longer separate sex from love? Why the disconnect?

I am not trying to be

I am not trying to be annoying here. I just hope someone can shed some light on this cause I just don't get it. Any comments and so forth would be greatly appreciated.

You can separate sex from

<p><em>You can separate sex from love, but you don't always do this. My question is why and how?</em> </p><p>Because I want to, and because I can. </p><p>I'm sorry if that seems simplistic, but I can't give you a blanket response that speaks for everyone.  For me, it's very easy to distinguish between people I merely want to have sex with for physical pleasure, and people I want to have sex AND an intimate committed relationship with. To me, sexual exclusivity feels right within the context of a serious, emotionally intimate relationship.</p><p>Not everyone feels this way, but as I said, I can't answer for everyone else, just myself.</p><p>Becky Sharper</p>

Newsflash: Not all

Newsflash: Not all relationships are created equal. There's no law saying that a woman can only have one kind, or that a woman who has casual sex automatically thinks that "sex is no big deal."

From the tone of your comment, it sounds like you have a very limited understanding of sexuality--either that or you're trying to put down women whose sexual choices you don't agree with.

Women this women that. I am

Women this women that. I am talking about people in general, not just women. And I am not trying to put anyone down. All I am trying to do is understand something that does not make sense to me. expect the person you expect the person you fall for to be sensitive and loving, secure, attentive and supported, surrounded by your fuck buddies whom, you can 'revert to' if all fails? You possibly then, don't understand love as two-way bonding - what about the other person's needs when they 'give it all up' for you, while your old fuck buddies are still ogling in the wings and waiting for the cracks? Seems quite a ridiculous pressure and dishonestly power-manipulative dynamic to place on the early-budding 'soulmate' in the relationship. PS. I'm gay and, I've been laughing quietly on the inside at reading the gender polarised assumptions about men and women. PEOPLE are either hung up about 'being sexual' outside relationships and 'proving' something about their 'sexual capability' or, they arent. PEOPLE can either look at others as human porn aid objects they can take off and put back on the shelf, or they value more and development of dynamics that INTEGRATE sex and love in forward-growing, rather than (to some) pointless 'getting off' encounters. Some wold rather simply get-off alone, than go through the career and lifestyle compromising demands some casual sex encounters can transmorph into easily.
The degree of emotional empathy..and the extent of Oxytocin your brain secretes into your individully-designed limbic system during sex (PS. Thats one thing studies show women as an 'average' do more of at orgasm than guys)..are actually what determine whether you can separate sex and loving bonds simply. The degree of secure attachment with your birth mother and other factors are also involved in what wires that process in you. The 'three times' rule you 'recommended' in an earlier article is, in fact a 'one time' rule for others..perhaps a 20 times rule in more and a 'never' in the more 'psychopathic brain'. Further, what deep brain feedback systems have developed (without habitul impulsive hypersexualisation and self/other objectification starting in early sexualisation before the age of about 14), when progesterone increases in girls, tend to be programmed differently to 'bond' more than boys with the same broad sexual socialisation histories. Testosterone drives a different sexual urge which over-rides oxytocin and wires the brain differently, in younger males especially. Teen and pre-teen sex experiences are crucial in shaping what feels 'natural'.
Lastly, non-bonding psychopathic or autistic spectrum-wired brains, with poor limbic integration, which also often lack capacity for interpersonal empathy, are found in both genders. I can tell you that for sure, as I've dated selfish, emotionally stunted, bond-incapable women, whose only capacity to get 'close' comes through seduction and physical connection. They, like similar frequently trauma-shaped maternal attachment impeded guys, are really good at laying it on thick in the seduction phase, motivated by the 'reward-seeking' neurotransmitter patterns, seeking warmth and orgasmic rewards. But, the interest dies off following 'satiation' the very time more oxytocin is being produced in 'bonding' capable, unimpaired original maternal attachment/oxytocin producing bond capable types.
In short..there are naturally strong bonders..slow bonders..and non-bonders..its NOT one size fits all!

Mixing and Matching

I tried this type of arrangement, and found it worked only if I didn't mix the F-girl with the LT-girl (long term), I don't know if your F-boys are trustworthy enough not to engage in 'fuck her, I did last Tuesday' type conversation, or to compare notes etc. Refraining from in-jokes or knowing smirks might be difficult if both F and LT people were to mix and match.

I went to a very liberal

I went to a very liberal college, and had a large group of sex-positive, pro-casual sex friends for whom sex was not a big deal. So, when I was in college, I was all about the casual sex. Except that I wasn't, because I never wanted to have sex with any of the people I was casual friends-with-benefits with, and I was never interested in sex at all. (I never really dated anyone seriously in college.) I tried to, but at the last minute would bail, because I was just not into it. But I thought I should be, because I was in an environment where casual sex was considered liberated and feminist-y.

And it certainly is liberated, but when I'm not talking to people who need to be convinced that Jesus doesn't care who I fuck, I tend to caution this actively pro-casual sex vibe that I've seen in a lot of feminist circles. When I am talking to conservative, anti-sex folk, I make the point that casual sex isn't a sin (sin! crazy talk.), and that it's perfectly fine and even if good people have casual sex where nobody's getting hurt.

In my own life, though, all attempts to have liberated, casual sex have ended terribly. It wasn't until I was dating someone I really, really liked that I was able to have good sex. But because I so firmly believed that casual sex was a good thing, I felt like a huge sexual failure at my inability to enjoy or to have casual sex. I felt like if I <i>wasn't</i> having casual sex, then I wasn't liberated, or something. I ended up with these opposing forces--anti-sex catholic repressed upbringing + internalized homophobia vs. pressure from liberal college friends/acquaintances to have lots of sex + attraction to ladies. I ended up not having any good sex because I didn't know that it was ok to be the type of person who didn't like casual sex, who needed a more serious romantic attraction in order to be sexually attracted to someone.

Also--I really, really hate the bullshit cultural narrative of "be cool! show us your tits! you're a liberated woman now let's go fuck in the bathroom! suck my dick!"-lady, the imaginary feminist-but-not-too-feminist-just-feminist-enough-to-love-heterosex-without-commitment that exists in the imaginations of men, and has been sold to women who are then expected to be liberated enough to be willing to have sex, and who get called prude if they're uninterested. I mean, obviously Ms. Sharper is not advocating this, nor are most of the feminists that I spend virtual or real-life time with. But in my experience with much younger, sexually inexperienced women/girls, I find it difficult to balance the explanation that sex--even casual, non-lovey sex-- is good and awesome and as long as you're into it and happy about it and safe then go crazy with it, with the caution that one does not need to have that particular experience to have good sex, to be a sexually liberated woman, and to be a modern feminist. It's this crazy dance between MTV sex and Conservative Christian abstinence that can be very confusing--for grown up feminists and little fledgling girl-feminists who I'm working with. (And to whom I have been known to suggest buying a vibrator instead of having sex with douchey boys if one is particularly horny, only to realize that I'M TOTALLY GONNA GET FIRED.)

you're making a really good point...

<p><i>I really, really hate the bullshit cultural narrative of &quot;be cool! show us your tits! you're a liberated woman now let's go fuck in the bathroom! suck my dick!&quot;-lady, the imaginary feminist-but-not-too-feminist-just-feminist-enough-to-love-heterosex-without-commitment that exists in the imaginations of men, and has been sold to women who are then expected to be liberated enough to be willing to have sex, and who get called prude if they're uninterested.</i></p><p>I totally co-sign this, like, a million times. I think the pressure to behave that way is just another outgrowth of the pornification of our culture, which tells women that to be sexy and liberated means sucking dick at every possible opportunity. </p><p>The thing about casual sex--as I have it and as I praise it in this post--is that it's about having sex on my terms, for my enjoyment. The good thing about my fuck buddies, both past and present, is that because we're friends outside the bedroom, I know they'll treat me with respect in the bedroom, and that includes making sure my needs are met.</p><p>Becky Sharper</p>

That Paragraph Really Summed it Up...

"The thing about casual sex--as I have it and as I praise it in this post--is that it's about having sex on my terms, for my enjoyment. The good thing about my fuck buddies, both past and present, is that because we're friends outside the bedroom, I know they'll treat me with respect in the bedroom, and that includes making sure my needs are met."

Becky, I really have enjoyed reading this back and forth. Having sex on "your terms for, for your enjoyment" is a difficult and puzzling concept for some of your readership, it seems. If casual sex was simply women fucking men in bathrooms and sucking dick, well that would be a different conversation. What you're talking about here is desiring sex, but not a relationship. And this isn't because you want to do "what men do". It is simply an acknowledgment of your own desires.

I think many women have a hard time being comfortable as Single individuals. Being Single shouldn't mean we're waiting in limbo; waiting around for someone to fall in love with us. Being Single should be our Default setting. But why should Being Single mean you're not having sex? I choose to Be Single, because right now, I don't want to be someone's girlfriend- because I like being single. But I also love having sex. And fucking a friend or two, who I trust, who I know has my safety and well being in mind, and who I've been honest with in regards to my situation....well...that is the best thing a Single Girl could ever ask for.

Because of my own experience

Because of my own experience with fuckbuddy-dom, I'm really ambivalent. I have a friend who will sleep with several guys one week and will be looking for a boyfriend next, I think that's cool because they all know where the other stands. For me, I could never be someone's fuckbuddy's just weird for me to separate emotional feelings from my sexual feelings--tried and failed several times.


Since when was David Foster Wallace's opinion on sex supposed to be enlightening for women? Puh-lease.

Give me a fucking break.

<p>Give me a fucking break. David Foster Wallace? Seriously?</p><p><i> OMG, I'd better stop fucking because David Foster Wallace says people get AIDS from having sex!</i></p><p>Wow, you--and DFW--really showed me the error of my ways.  Thanks so much for enlightening me! </p><p>Becky Sharper</p>


the thing for me has always been that i don't need to separate my emotional feelings from my sexual feelings with my 'fuck buddy' friends. its kind of an added bonus. it's like 'here's my friend and i love/respect/enjoy hanging out with them AND we can have sex sometimes.' its something we've talked about... we have agreements. no sex if one of us is in a relationship. always being honest with each other. open communication. if anything gets weird, we talk. under these arrangements, i've not had a problem. it's pretty much fantastic getting to have sex with your best friend and then not letting it get all fucked up by becoming a relationship.

Thank You!

This line is probably the smartest thing I have ever read:

"quit putting emphasis on whether a guy is into me, and pay attention to whether I'm actually into him"

I have been obsessing over my first fuck buddy, why he is seemingly ignoring me, why things are weird when I see him, what I should or shouldn't say/text. I never even thought of it like this. I will remember this when I see him or any future buddies, making things less weird for me, and helping my self esteem in the process.

re: Casual Sex Research Project

This article made my chest hurt. I have recently been spending my weekend nights researching "casual sex". A research project that may have come rather late in the start for my understanding on the subject. I am in my early 40's, single, and having "casual sex" probably since I started having sex (age 14). (minus about 5 years of serious bfness). I am currently involved in a "casual sex" thing that started 4 and a half years ago.

When I was in my 30's, I had many partners. However, now that I have grown older, I think I just don't really have the desire to keep up with that many partners, let alone an active social life like I had in my 30's. I think my chest hurts because I am the one who is now totally in love with my "casual sex" partner. I think I chose him because I know how to attract men who want casual sex, in fact that is the only sort of man I know how to attract.

My body has remembered every single encounter it has ever had. I am sad as I write this, because I tried for so many years to act like men. I tried so hard to act like I could do it too, like I could have as much sex with as many people as I desired. And I did. But after I met my current CSP, I began to feel again. Is it the love? Is it real? I think that it is. But honestly, I do not have any way of really knowing.

One of the jewels I have found in reading about casual sex is that (I paraphrase) woman arn't wired to have casual sex because they are vessels. Women bring in and covet energy. I feel whole when I think about this.

Also, casual sex is a way to mask deeper issues, which I can trace back every single one if I think about it and see how I have used sex to mask things I couldn't face. But it's OK, I am not shaming myself, I did what worked best for me at the time and I enjoyed myself.

Some short facts:

NOT ONE of my friends with benefits is one of my friends now.

Every casual sex partner (with the exception of the current) that I have had who lives near me, who I may see once in awhile, is really only good for a nod, or a "hello" or maybe a "how's it going". But even when the sex was great (recalling two lovers who I had for 3 years at the same time) something inside just turned sour when facing just what it was: sex and nothing more.

Can casual sex turn into a really strong loving relationship? This is the leap I am trying to make. Is there a road guide somewhere?


I had to respond to this, because I just got out of a "relationship" with a guy who only wanted to keep things casual. I found him to be emotionally stunted, which was not a particularly attractive quality. But we are both older (in our 40's).

I'm not sure how old Ms. Sharper is, but I'm guessing under 30, or not much over that. Most women over the age of 30 don't want casual sex. If you can handle it, fine, but I don't think most women can, since we're just not wired that way. Generally, most FWB relationships are much better for the guy than they are for the woman, and it becomes hard for one person to not want more, and usually it's the woman. Mixing sex and friendship is a dangerous game for most of us. Oxytocin, anyone?

seperation of sex and love

Hey Jen,

I loved (pardon the pun) your post. Saying you are married now, but when younger and single, you thought separating love and sex was possible and even desired. This idea isn't a man's only fantasy anymore. But a woman’s too.

So first a question, then a real story. If separating the two is possible, then what difference is it if the woman is married? You are already saying the separation is real and possible. So how would having an extramarital sex affair, be any different for a woman, than having a sex affair being single? Does that make since? We are still talking about separating love and sex. Why would it matter if you had a love husband, and a sex partner in different cities?

Now for real. I'm married. Joined Ashley Madison.Com. Met a woman on line who I wanted see face-to-face. She realized after a few weeks of chatting on the phone and Internet, she couldn't see me face-to-face. Because she figured me out. And came to a truth I didn't know about myself. I couldn't separate the two.
She called off our meeting. Because, I couldn't divide and conquer. And wanted to love her as much as have sex with her! For what it's worth. I'm now learning the difference.

My viewpoint

I am a guy who has been married twice and I am in the process of loosing my second wife. Not through any big thing that I have done but to the fact that my wives got bored with me sexually. I now look to my true feelings and realize I want to be a man whore. Having spent 25 years being a good farther and husband to my two wives (first for 12 second for 13) I realize part of the issue was me supplying all the love and support without asking for it back. I now believe women are fickle and demanding and I have spent most of my adult life trying to please the women I love. Well I was a fucking idiot. I should have taken more control over what I wanted and demanded more from my wives. I now want to (as mentioned in the original letter) to find several women who are interested in a friendly relationship where the emphasis is physical pleasure and no commitment to any long term relationship. I now think that this is what you could call a real relationship as there is no hidden agenda. My two marriages, in hindsight , were based on a lie. All lies will eventually wiggle themselves to the surface and the fall out is inevitable. All I want from now on is a truthful relationship. You could argue that paying for sex is one of the most honest forms of sex. You ask for what you want, there is agreement and you get what you pay for. The only unfortunate issue with this you know your partner is not into you for the experience just the money. So after years of trying to do the right thing I now realize most of my failure is not recognizing that human nature does not fall in sync with human western values, hence the high divorce rates that we see and the lying all of us do to our selves and our partners.

I am one of those people who

I am one of those people who think sex should mean something. I probably wouldn't be interested in a guy who has a long list of sexual encounters because obviously we have different values. I also do somewhat judge females, so I'd rather just not hear about it from them. Oddly enough though, I wouldn't have a problem being in a relationship with another female who has a long list of female only escapades.
I know I have a enough issues of my own to work out so I shouldn't judge others, and I try not to, even though I still do.

I get it 100%

I'm a single mom with my own business and I completely get it, though I'm really beginning to believe chicks like us are indeed a rare breed...

I'm 39 years old but most people guess me to be in my late 20's or early 30's. I love people, I'm very busy, I know how to make a casserole, and I know how to make myself cum. I have been a lover (and haver) of fuck buddies for my entire sexual life, and like the author, have been able to switch over to monogamous relationships when it was right.

I have many male friends. Some I've never slept with, some I've slept with once, some I've slept with more than once.

There is mutual respect and honesty.

To each their own - but for me, I can adore someone and still want to fuck them without wanting them to be my boyfriend.

I believe in idealistic

I believe in idealistic things like free love and separation of sex and love but it fucks me up knowing that my girlfriend (wrong term, but I don't know what is better suited) fucks her friends.

Why sluts are not dating material.

Girls everywhere and all you emasculated "men" who are trying so hard to be politically correct at the expense of your masculinity, listen up.

Men and women are equals. This does not mean that they are equal in every single thing they do. For example, men are, on average, physically stronger than women. It is much easier for a semi attractive (even a 6/10) woman to go out and get laid. The same cannot be said about men. Men have to work at it, have some skill (game) and thereby get a woman to sleep with them. It is a LOT harder for an equally attractive man to get women than it is the other way around. This is one of reasons behind why we, as a society, naturally celebrate men who are successful in bedding multiple women; while at the same time shame women who bed multiple men.

Let us briefly visit the topic of virginity from both perspectives. Virginity in a man is not a desirable state or label when it comes to an attribute that the opposite sex wants. This is because he has obviously not been preselected by other women. However, female virginity is not looked at negatively in the least by men. If she looks decent, no man cares if the girl is a virgin or not. In fact, a female virgin is often wanted more.

Now don't get me wrong, men LOVE sluts. We will never turn down an opportunity to sleep with a good looking slut. Partly because she's good in bed, partly because it's sex. But any decently intelligent, self-respecting man will know that it is a terrible idea to emotionally involve himself (i.e. date) with a slutty girl. That would be a very dumb move. Why would any man want to get emotionally involved with a girl who's had 15+ sexual partners? We would just be setting ourselves up for failure. There are many nice worthy girls out there who don't have daddy issues and haven't slept with an entire fraternity house. But, by all means, fvck the brains out of sluts in the meanwhile.

Most guys can detect when a girl is a slut by the first few dates and by what he hears about the girl from other people and from the girl herlself. We put this information together and figure out if she is dating material or not. If not, I like most guys, will still go in for the prize but have no intention of following through with dating the dirty little tart.

To put it simply, a lock that can be opened by many keys is a useless lock and of little worth. But a key that can open many locks is a master key and is valuable.

"any decently intelligent,

Madonna/Whore complex

I think Brody is well aware of the madonna-whore complex and is safely on Stage 4.

Men are simple. Very simple. All of them fall into one of 4 categories.

1. Man looks at all women as "good girls" = naive and stupid "mama's boy"

2. Man looks at all women as "kinky freaks" = pimp / incorrigible womanizer

3. Man suffers from the madonna/whore complex (i.e., looks at women in two categories: "good girls" and "kinky freaks") = most likely to date and marry the "good girl," and cheat on the side with the "kinky freak". Most guys remain in this category for most of their lives.

4. Man can accept one woman being both a "good girl" and a "kinky freak" = fully evolved man that needs to be snatched up quick. Of course, he needs to find such a woman and they're getting to be something of a rarity in America of today.

NOW, let's be very clear on one thing. Some women are very good girls both in public and boring in bed, and some girls are straight out whores and sluts. Hence the reason for men thinking in option 1-3. But there are those gems that are a lady in the streets but a freak in the sheets. And once a man has one of these amazing creations, he will settle for nothing less. Brody evidently subscribes to option 4.

Completely agree with Brody

There are only certain a

There are only certain a select few types of girls that can handle a friends with benefits relationship. And those are girls with family issues, daddy issues and just plain sluts. But without these misfits, there wouldn't be so many happy guys out there who got to bang so many girls. These kinds of girls also happen to be the best in bed and the most adventurous. It goes without saying that dating one of these creatures is a terrible idea. I know quite a few of them and bang them whenever I'm bored, which is often. They know that I'm not interested in dating them and stop pursuing to save face. What a great deal!

Is your S/O really okay with the friend still being around?

Hey, thanks for the honest posting. I know I'm a few years behind on this, but I had a question that I'd love to get some feedback on. Most of the people I know are okay with casual sex. In fact, while the focus seems to be on women who are judged for "acting like men" when it comes to sex, I feel just as judged for being on the other end of the spectrum. I personally am a strong believer in exclusivity. I feel that sex is only valuable to me when I'm sharing it with someone I love and trust completely. I can't enjoy it when I don't feel that my heart is safe. And for that, I am called a prude, or ignorant or close-minded. People make fun of me, guys don't give me much attention. When I'm single, I'm completely open to meeting new people and dating. But I don't desire sex just for the sake of having sex. If I'm "horny," I can meet my own needs, oftentimes better than sex ever has been able to. To me, sex means connecting and being vulnerable but trusting the other person to accept you. You're showing this side of yourself that the rest of the world doesn't get to see, and I think that's sacred. Yes, it's physical and primal, yes it's ultimately about pleasure and euphoria. But for me, it's something I only share with the person I'm with. It distinguishes the difference between friendship and love for me.

My boyfriend on the other hand has been with tons of women, and a couple of them were and are his best friends. He has told me that he would probably start having sex with them again if we don't work out. He doesn't really say anything inappropriate to them, and I don't think he'd cheat on me physically. But the fact that they remain so close makes me feel threatened. The fact that he's done all the things with them that he does with me makes me feel cheated in a way. We go to the movies, go to dinner, come home, have sex, hold each other and talk, etc. All things he did with them, and yet somehow it's not the same. He leans on them emotionally and (when he's single) physically... It sounds just like a relationship to me. And just because he isn't actually having sex with them currently, I still feel like they might as well be because the intention/desire is still there. Like they're just taking a break for a while and I'm part of the intermission. I feel like a joke to these girls because I want to think our relationship is special when they've had him this way for years. They were never "together" so they'll never "break up." It means that there's still interest, still a present thought of what they share. It sickens me to think that he is sharing this part of him that should only be mine.

My question for those of you who have friends with benefits is how do you justify your continued friendship with the person after you get into an exclusive relationship? Do you maintain the friendship the same way you did when you were single (minus the sex part of course)? Or is it fair to say that when you're with someone else that the relationship with the fuck buddy needs some serious boundaries? My boyfriend and I don't see eye to eye on this. I feel like as long as he remains friends with these women, he'll never be truly committed to me. He says that it shouldn't bother me because he's not doing anything with them, that I should just trust him. What is the difference between your relationship with your friend and your relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend (aside from sex) that lets your boyfriend/girlfriend know that they have nothing to worry about? How do you explain it to them or make sure they feel secure? My boyfriend and I have worn this argument to the bare bones, but we still don't seem to understand each other. I'd be ecstatic to hear someone else explain it to me!

I apologize for how long this is! I suck at editing, lol.

How about I submit this to Ms. Opinionated?

Hi there! How about we toss your question to our feminist advice columnist, Ms. Opinionated? This post is a year old, but she takes questions every week.

Please do!

Yeah, that would be great! Thanks :)

Add new comment