That’s the question the headline on an article at the science site Ars Technica asked in October of 2016. The premise of the article: some people consider casual sex to be bad for the relationship or even for our sexuality. A number of reasons for this have been given, including a feeling of emotional insecurity among those who hook up regularly, feelings of insecurity among those in relationships with people with recurring partner betrayals, and that it can hold back people from seeking healthy long-term relationships. These are all valid concerns, and are worth pondering, but they aren’t what this article is about. Rather, it’s about how casual sex was more formally and effectively normalized in the last few decades, and how that’s affected our relationship styles.
By 2016, the country’s been on a casual sex rollercoaster for well over a decade, what with birth control and STI testing becoming mainstream and women’s reproductive rights taking a back seat to porn and personal freedom. The way we handle hookups may be different than in years past, but casual sex by all accounts is still very much part of our modern dating culture. From casual hookups to relationships that start with casual encounters, even if these sexual acts have become less stigmatized, the culture surrounding them has changed substantially over time.
While it may not always be the most “soul-enriching,” or “kama-surfing” (no matter what that means), life would be so much more fun if we still had to worry about “respecting” someone we’d just had a single sexual encounter with. But that’s no longer the norm. Indeed, for many, casual sex is a central part of the modern dating, living, and sexual experience.
Is casual sex bad for relationships?
At one time or another, every one of us may have been on the losing side of the “hookup,” and casual sex is a common part of that. That doesn’t mean that it never should be. This can be problematic, as the casual hookup is literally just that — a hookup. You should expect that two people who don’t really know each other very well will have little in the way of actual knowledge of each other’s experiences and circumstances.
For example, the lack of preparation can mean a lack of knowledge about STIs. That may be acceptable for “testing,” but without the constant communication that comes with an established relationship, it’s hard to truly be safe. Even before that, we have to acknowledge that casual sex may not
Just don’t quit. I realized a few things about myself in the past few years: That I am not a casual fuck buddy. Though, when I look back, that’s actually all that I have been. I’ve never intended for it to go any further than “two sexual encounters” with a total of four partners. Casual and sex are just not the same thing. But I also figured that I didn’t feel super great being, in so many words, a man whore. After becoming fairly skilled in pleasing a mate sexually, I felt like I was failing myself by not attempting at full throttle to actually fall in love. I am now happy with my abstinence. I’m single and passionate enough about figuring out who I am. I never want to settle down. I want to live the best life that I can. I figure, better to live a life full of passionate relationships, heartbreak, and excitement, than to just exist and look back in 10 years and have all I’ve really done is meditate and type on the internet. Take a piece of paper and put a hot chick’s face on one side and a sexy dude on the other side. Now imagine you are a woman who meets a guy, and who is interested in him. If she was honest with herself, she would say she wants to go down on him. I am not ashamed to admit this. Why not, after all, you’re hooking up, and it’s going to be insanely hot. But it might not feel good for either of you. Having sex has never really been my thing. I am hyper-aware of the fact that I am not that into it — or that I’m not that into most things. I’m smart, funny, and a good listener. I am studying to be a therapist, in order to help people who are struggling. I’m also considering school to be a marriage and family therapist, in order to help people who are struggling in their marriages. We are born to love. We are born to be in love. If a couple can’t go to bed together, they don’t stay married. Sex doesn’t have to be casual to be fun. These types of “guys” can feel boring, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeking them out. Believe it or not, these types of “guys” are part of the internet-y, sometimes scuzzy, but very real other side of internet dating. Hookup apps like Tinder have brought us