This depression is what the Lovescene team developed in response to the very real, very surprising answers. Surprisingly, 34 percent of women and 29 percent of men said that they had never been on a date with someone they didn’t have sex with. So if both sexes are committing to casual sex then that can easily mean that no one is really opening themselves up to these consequences.
Being turned on or having sexual thoughts can also be just another part of normal emotional and mental health. It’s not a measure of whether you’re emotionally healthy or not. It’s part of the whole spectrum of what it means to be human, and while it’s not always a great time, the phrase “It’s the little things” is totally on point here.
Just because we’re all turned on and have sexual fantasies all the time (both men and women!) does not mean that we are healthy. So, sure, it’s useful to normalize that sex can be pleasurable, but it’s also important to be clear that not everyone can enjoy it, or wants to, every time they think about it. Casual sex can be great when done right — but again, it can be devastating when done wrong, and there’s little room for error in that part of the world.
Girls, for example, are pressured not just to be sexual, but to turn themselves into provocatively-dressed sexual objects for boys’ pleasure. They are told over and over again that sex is one of the only ways they can stand out, be unique, be attractive.
Straight girls especially are pressured to present themselves as sexually-available, so this is actually a really great question because a lot of girls, regardless of orientation, or race or religion or whatever, encounter these struggles when it comes to casual sex and sexual objectification. The point is that some people try to use casual sex to avoid intimacy, or refuse sexual pleasure for all sorts of reasons and if that turns out to be the case, then it does call into question the entire purpose of going there.
It’s not just about sexual power or personal liberation, it’s about relationships. In a lot of ways, once you really know someone well, you can tell when sex isn’t a priority for them. You might not be comfortable because you don’t know what you’ll say or do but in the end, it becomes clearer and clearer that casual sex is just a way to keep some sort of intimacy alive when, for some reason, you’re no longer attracted to them.
Clare, 20, NYC: Hookup culture changed the way I see dating
But, as Callie Ray, 26, a sex and relationship coach in New York City and founder of Give Me Goodness, points out, a fling might not mean “getting it on.” It could be hooking up for a select number of dates, drinks or whatever else — and then moving on. As does one of the seven (!) forms of casual sex: going steady. “So many of us had a pivotal moment when we realized we felt more sex ed and love advice than we had any clue how to apply to our relationships,” she says. “When you’re ‘going steady,’ the pressure is off to fuck or shag as soon as you meet someone.”
What can people do to help themselves? We’re here to break it down for you.
Cory Zirbel, 28, Charleston, West Virginia: People My Age Need to Cheat & Not Act ‘Serious’
As an APA board member, he works with people struggling with anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other disorders associated with youth. Why? Because the issues are real. Especially for people of Cory’s generation, where brain development doesn’t simply stop, due in part to all that XBOX.
He also sees a lot of couples stuck in a “serial monogamy.” “A lot of us are so serial monogamists — we get into a relationship, we don’t want to end it, we don’t want it to be over, and we do stuff so we don’t fall out of love. We’re serial monogamists, and it’s led to some interesting things.”
He goes on: “For some couples it works. It works fine. But for some, there’s still some of this ‘I’ll never love anyone else and I’m going to marry you.’ ‘I’m going to do this forever.’ ‘I won’t get married until I have kids.’ ‘I’ll just be a single parent forever.'” In other words, despite social approval for people to have casual sex, older women and couples have been left behind, Zirbel says.
Make sure you can make the relationship last
However, that relationship may require some work on both people’s parts. “I say it to so many people: If you’re going to have sex, you’d better make sure you’re going to want the relationship in a few months,” Zirbel says. “It’s called a relationship for a reason