The 6 Degrees of Casual Sex
There has been a noticeable trend in sex and relationships: People are having more sex and less relationships.
While this may not hold true for all, you can’t deny that the hookup culture truly is booming. Rather than jumping from one relationship to another, singles are keeping their options open &their commitments minimal.
This can be a great way to explore your sexuality and figure out what you like, both in the bedroom and in a partner… If you can figure out how to navigate the murky waters of no-strings-attached sex.
Casual sex arrangements are not as black and white as we would like to think. In a relationship, everything is pretty clear. Either you’re together and you’re committed or you’re not. You know exactly how to interact with each other and you know what to expect. When the relationship is more “casual”, all of a sudden you’re in a gigantic gray area. There are so many degrees of keeping things casual, that it’s hard to know what the rules are. And it’s even harder to play by them. The first step is to figure out where you stand!
Here are the 6 most common types of no-strings-attached relationships.
ONE: The One Night Stand
The One Night Stand is casual sex in its purest form: Two strangers meet and have sex the same night, then go their separate ways. No fuss, no expectations and absolutely no room for emotions.
A one night stand leaves zero room for misinterpretation. It’s very cut and dry. Both parties know exactly what they are getting into, the minute someone whispers “Your place or mine?” It is a one time sexual encounter with no friendship, no communication and little-to-no personal disclosure. It doesn’t matter where you grew up, how you like your eggs, or how you got that adorable elbow scar. The only questions that matter are “How far to your place?”, “Are you a serial killer?” and of course “Do you have a condom?”
But hey, there is a bright side! Since there are no expectations for the future, the people involved can enjoy liberated, guilt-free sex. This means not holding back or worrying what their one-time partner might think of them. The sex could be good or it could be terrible. The next morning, it will all be just another notch on the bedpost.
TWO: The Casual Hookup
The Casual Hookup is based on convenience and proximity — a crime of opportunity, as the case may be. It occurs between two people who know each other superficially, most likely through mutual acquaintances. They run into each other from time to time… which often leads to them having sex.
You may recognize this scenario from your college days. Although you and this person are friendly, you are not friends. You don’t communicate outside of your occasional trysts and don’t make plans to hang out. But if you happen to end up at the same party, it’s a safe bet that you’ll go home together. Why? Because it’s happened several times before.
With this type of recurring casual hookup, there’s no need to exchange numbers or get to know one another — as long as they are fun and attractive and the sex is decent, that is all you need to know. Any more information would kill the mystery, which is really the most fun part of the whole song and dance.
THREE: The Booty Call
The Booty Call is a recurring version of the One Night Stand, characterized by a lack of emotional connection and a complete lack of communication… with the exception of an occasional “Wat R U Doing?” text. This person is basically a sexual vampire. They only come out at night and are extremely persuasive… and they have to wait at your door until you let them in.
With this type of arrangement, there is one goal and one goal only: To get it in. There are no pretenses of traditional dates, friendships or shared interests… Unless those shared interests involve showing up unannounced for wild monkey sex at 3am. This Booty Caller comes and goes when it is convenient for them (AKA when they are drunk or horny) and cannot be counted on for anything more than a good time.
Because they are purely physical and do not involve a deeper connection, Booty Calls usually fizzle out when one or both parties lose interest. But if the two continue to have sex over long periods of time, they may notice their arrangement evolving into something more…
FOUR: The F*ck Buddy
When two people have regular sex for long enough, eventually they start feeling the urge to talk to one another. Before you know it, they start to disclose personal information and sooner or later, a friendship develops. Communication becomes more frequent and is not limited to invitations for drunken sex — they might even start to hang out before 2am. This is when they’ve officially moved into F*ck Buddy territory.
Don’t get me wrong, the F*ck Buddy relationship still revolves around two people having sex, but now you actually enjoy each other’s company too. There is still no commitment and no expectation of anything more, just two people who are having regular sex, and as a result, also became friends.
F*ck Buddies can go on having sex and hanging out for months, years even, as long as both parties are satisfied with the unspoken arrangement and do not start wanting more. However, when you’re spending a considerable amount of time with someone who you are physically attracted to, it is inevitable that some emotional attraction will develop. And once that happens, all mantras of “no strings attached” go right out the window.
FIVE: The FWB
Many use the titles F*ck Buddies and FWB’s interchangeably, and they do look similar from the outside, but the two relationships are built on completely different foundations. F*ck buddies start with a sexual relationship that develops into a friendship, while Friends With Benefits are pre-existing friends that happen to engage in ongoing “emotion-free” sex.
Because FWB’s are friends first and sex partners second, their relationship is infinitely more difficult to navigate. This is partly because there is more at stake. If something goes wrong with an FWB, you don’t just lose regular sex — you risk losing a legitimate friendship. And since you know this person intimately and care for them, it is also harder to separate the sex from the emotions. For this reason, FWB’s usually have to define the relationship and set guidelines early on, a practice that sets them apart from most other casual sex partnerships.
Despite what you’ve been told by pesky RomComs, real life FWB’s are messy and complicated and rarely end without someone getting hurt. If you don’t want to date your best friend, you probably shouldn’t have sex with them. Save yourself a lot of drama and find a F*ck Buddy instead.
SIX: The Almost Relationship
You know that saying “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably safe to call it a duck?” This type of inductive reasoning may still apply in the world of animal-identification, but no longer carries over into the relationship world. No, according to current dating logic, if it looks like a relationship and feels like a relationship, it could be a relationship… Or it could be an almost relationship, the awkward purgatory between casual sex partner and Facebook official.
Yes, this is a new breed of commitment-free coupling, based largely on our inability to pick a relationship lane. Shit or get off the pot? What the hell, we’ll just hang out here until we find somewhere better to plant our asses. With so many options and so little desire to settle down, couples everywhere are finding themselves locked in relationship limbo. You spend all your time together, you swap pet names, he’s met your family, she has a drawer at your place, and yet there’s just one thing missing: The actual commitment.
Of all the types of casual sex relationships, Almost Relationships are the hardest, mainly because there’s nothing casual about them. You know this person, you like them — hey, you might even love them. And yet you still can’t bring yourself to take that last official leap into monogamy. Almost Relationships are toxic and do the most damage, because no one’s cards are fully on the table. They don’t fizzle, they explode, when one person finally admits that almost isn’t enough.
Any of these sound familiar? Keep in mind that a casual sex arrangement will look different for each couple, depending on their individual needs.
Whether you’re f*ck buddies, friends with benefits or a good old fashioned booty call, it is important to figure out the guidelines of your relationship early on and stick to them. Be honest and upfront about your expectations and know your own limits as well. And don’t forget to let us know how it goes: Feedback@SexWithEmily.com