What Happens When You Check Off the Casual Sex Box on a Dating Site?


My friend, Christan Marashio, also known as Moxie on her blog “And That’s Why You’re Single”, wrote a compelling first-person piece on what happened when she expanded her search on OkCupid to include casual sex.

Of course, the predictable responses rolled in: pervy, skeevy, tone-deaf guys giving their most forthright pitch, to no avail.

What you probably wouldn’t expect as a woman – what I already know as a man – is that just because a man is interested in casual sex doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ONLY interested in casual sex.

Wrote Marashio, “I polled a few men as to why they checked off casual sex. One man said he did so to make clear that sexual compatibility was important to him. Another said he did it so that women would understand that he would not date someone for too long without sex being part of the equation. A different man not only selected casual sex but clipped his profile by telling readers he was currently dating other women. When I asked him about that he told me he wished to avoid meeting women who might develop other expectations.

What you probably wouldn’t expect as a woman – what I already know as a man – is that just because a man is interested in casual sex doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ONLY interested in casual sex.

Interesting stuff. I think it’s pretty foolish for guys to think that “casual sex” conveys what they meant, but I’m sure they were sincere in their intentions. Which brings us full-circle to one of my more popular credos: “men look for sex and find love”.

The article continues, “I ended up dating three men during this time for 3-6 months each. We did “couple-y” things like go to the movies, make dinner, and spend weekends together. We weren’t meeting up for quickies as some people might assume. There was intimacy and affection and shared confidences. There just wasn’t exclusivity or expressed commitment. I wasn’t seeking “just” sex, so adding casual sex as a relationship choice actually worked to my advantage. It exposed me–in various ways–to a broader audience. One that I may not have been exposed to had I been a “good girl” and listened to my well-meaning male friends and only selected short and long-term dating.”

To sum up – are you more likely to attract pervs if you check off casual sex? Yep. Are you more likely to meet guys who aren’t in the place for a serious relationship? Sure. Are you more likely to find your knight in shining armor if you click “marriage” and nothing else? Probably. But it’s wrong to assume that every guy who is interested in casual sex is not husband potential. If you understand that, like the author did, it can be a valuable way to potentially expand your options – knowing that some men are just looking for fun…until they fall in love. High risk/high reward.

Read the full article here, and thanks for your comments below:

Join our conversation (70 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 41

    Okay, I am having an epiphany… When I went on line four years ago, personally I was under enormous stress – however, in my dating life I wasn’t.   I wasn’t looking for a possible partner because I knew I couldn’t have one, the pressure was off!!   I was just noticing what/ who showed up.   I just took each guy as he was and enjoyed his company and as a result I was having a wonderful time… up until I fell hard for one of them.

  2. 42

    Karmic Equation #23 said:
    “…Wouldn’t we all want a chance to tame James Bond?”
    No lol. Let me tell you something please,
    my boyfriend is not James Bondy, but he is very charming and he is the most wonderful man on the Earth to me. As for me, i never fell in love with man’s look. All it matters is his personality, mind, soul, is he smart and good person.
      Tom10 #32 said:
    “…Well as Karmic explained the guys who can actually have regular casual sex with attractive women are probably better looking, taller, more articulate etc. than average. These guys fall in love too — that’s the high reward.”
    What about how smart is he, how interesting person is he, the way he makes me feel around him, how good person is he?

  3. 43

    Rose @35
    I don’t think people who are having casual sex are bad people   if they are both fully consenting and honest about it.
    It is when there are lies about it to manipulate play games or coerce etc. That I believe it is harmful and bad
    100 bucks says that Rose has been pumped and dumped more than once.

  4. 44

    Feel totally unimpressed by the pathetic attempt of some immature man/boy who never quite grew up and needs to fill an empty void in their hearts by trying to get a rise out of someone. You’ll have to do better than that if you want a rise. Sighs in boredom with that one.

  5. 45

    @Karmic Equation 38:
    When I first read your comment, I was thinking “well yes, it’s not a risk for Karmic Equation since 1. she is not looking for a relationship, and 2. she wants to qualify a prospect sexually before agreeing to exclusivity”. Then I realized that “any woman who would be fine with casual sex” would not be taking an emotional risk since… she would be okay with casual sex! Duh, Fusee!
    However the woman who is okay with casual sex BUT still wants to eventually enter a long-term relationship with an exclusive partner, is taking a risk in time management. While she is busy doing couple-y thing with a guy who very likely has no future (unless he falls in love while looking for sex : ), she is not building a relationship with her future husband. Sure, on paper you are “allowed” to spend time with other men and screen for a future husband, but in reality you do not really have that much time to spend on many other men, and also the drive to do so tends to decrease since your immediate needs for companionship are met.
    Now, to address your comment about qualifying a man to be worth your time, exclusivity, etc, well yes! I agree with that. However to me exclusivity is not necessary to qualify him, because sex is one of my last priority. All my previous lovers were perfectly able to get me off (the worse one being the most “experienced” actually, interesting but off topic!), so really I do not need to qualify a guy for his sexual abilities. But if I do have sex with him while I try to qualify him for everything else, I do not do as thorough as a job because 1. we spend too much time in private doing intimate things and I do not get enough opportunity to see him function in the world when we run into topics to talk about, 2. I’m getting unconsciously bonded and become more reluctant to ask tricky questions and act on what I learn (by opting out early and becoming available for the next person). So for me, sex prevents me to qualify a man properly regardless of exclusivity.
    All in all I really am not that attached to the concept of exclusivity. Maybe because I’ve never had to worry about it, as it has always been the context in which I and my dates would operate. But more specifically because “exclusivity” is so elusive. You give it and you take it away as easily. I’ve always been exclusive (beside a couple “overlaps” and other interesting “wild” months in my mid-twenties : ) but I’ve always been very comfortable to end things (cancel my exclusivity) as soon as I was not satisfied with the situation. Usually I would already know who the next prospect was, so I was not “missing out”, and yet I was exclusive. Now, that was in real life. No idea how that works with online dating when you have to remove your profile to declare your “exclusivity”. Anyway, what I want to say is that exclusivity does not impress me much. I care more about what I find out about character, shared goals and values, how he communicates, etc. If we make it together until I know (and like) all of this information, of course he qualifies for my time, and if he “claims” me, whatever that means, sex has never deceived.
    Anyway I’m still wondering about what Evan’s advice really means here. Just checking the box and hoping that it will simply increase the number of emails, or actually engaging in casual sex and seeing where it goes?

  6. 46

    To me it seems simple if someone wants casual sex and is ok with tick the box,
    If someone doesn’t want casual sex and is not ok with it then don’t tick the box
    The important thing is to be HONEST about what you want and are ok with.

  7. 47

    Rose- how many times are you going to repeat yourself?

  8. 48

    To me, checking off the casual sex box is like aiming at a target and purposely missing it.   But what do I know?   I get that it’s high risk/high reward behavior, but as a risk averse person, the risk is too high for me.

  9. 49

    I think the biggest concern about checking off “casual sex” as a woman is the thought that some men are going to be hypocrites about that.   Some, not all men think nothing of putting it on their own profile but would judge a woman for putting it on hers.
    Of course, I know people who wound up married to people who started off as   hook-ups or one night stands or first date sex, but the difference is that that it wasn’t advertised (popular place of first night, random hook-up sex is at weddings, or at least among my acquaintances).  
    And of course, not asking for casual sex or checking that box doesn’t stop men from asking for it.   I’ve gotten vulgar propositions from people who felt comfortable asking for it when it’s not anything suggested in my own profile.
    I might not do it, but I disagree that women can’t have casual sex.   Again, I have friends who have had one night stands, FWB, and none of them wound up desperately in love with the person.   The women I see who get hurt are the ones who try to use sex to turn a guy into their boyfriend, or the ones who want a relationship and exclusivity and give it to someonewho hasn’t agreed to those things.
    But I think the author’s premise is totally logical b/c if you need to pass the time and it’s been a while, it opens up one more possibility that might remain as what you advertise or that might turn into more.   A friend recently dried it during a dry spell and she wasn’t hurt but decided it wasn’t for her b/c she just didn’t enjoy the guy.   She said she felt that without an emotional connection, there was no way for her to get much from the physical act, which also made sense.
    All of this talk suggesting that all women fall hopelessly in love with men after sex is ridiculous.   You aren’t going to fall in love with someone in your time in bed is bad or unmemorable.   Sometimes you have to work at it with someone who actually are dating and want to be with.

  10. 50

    I think the big risk isn’t casual sex per se – it’s casual sex with the same person over an extended period. I’d say more than a couple of months. Pumping and dumping is minor compared to that.   In fact, it’s not even the sex, it’s the friendship.   The boyfriend and I are abstaining but if we broke up, now that it’s been ten months, I think I’d be as sad as if we’d been having sex. Maybe more so. We are very close. The risk of break up with someone you love must be higher if you try to have a relationship with someone who’s told you they don’t want one?   And whatever you  call it, if you see each other a lot and care about each other, it’s going to kickstart the relationship feelings regardless of what box you ticked.   Whether you’re a man or woman, and I’m cautious for myself that I don’t want to become an expert in managing down my emotions. I worked quite hard to be able to give them full epression.
    Also, like Fusee says it’s the time  and to me at my advanced age, ha, that’s more precious than with whom I do or don’t have sex.
    For sure, though, there is no guarantee that any relationship will work out how you want it do, whether you want to grow old together, or just have no strings sex with neither party getting attached.    Contrarily, there is a subset of people, which I think Rose is referring to, who are able to eliminate all risk to themselves while getting what they want from others. They’re quite easy to spot though.

  11. 51

    Tina #43
    “What about how smart is he, how interesting person is he, the way he makes me feel around him, how good person is he?
    Ah, but you’re a smart lady. From what I’ve observed the vast majority of women who are still single choose men based on looks/height first, job/education second and personality/intelligence third.
    They would be wise to listen to you: “all it matters is his personality, mind, soul, is he smart and good person”

  12. 52

    I agree with you @marymary…a severed emotional bond from a relationship that was emotionally intimate is totally more painful than not seeing a hook-up or ending things with a FWB.
    The ways that emotional connections form are complex, and I think people and all of those bonding b/c of orgasm stuff is ridiculous.   There is a huge difference between being with someone you really care about (and who really cares about you) and someone that is just fulfilling a base need without emotional involved.
    I think the only other risk besides people who are hypocrites about casual sex is the myriad of ways people define it.    As we see in the comments above, some people think it means you are a sure thing on   a first date but that wouldn’t be my definition of casual sex at all.   

  13. 53

    I love sex as much as the next woman, and more than most guys at my age (50!)   And I am a feminist, so what is good for the goose is good for the gander….But one thing no one is talking about is that casual sex can be very dangerous.   You do not know who lurks behind that smile!   A woman is at a disadvantage, because she is usually smaller and not as strong.
    So is any fast and cheap sex worth getting a bad STD (and I would surmise herpes is nothing compared to HIV, which is on the rise  among heterosexuals, especially older ones)  and there are angry people out there who want to share the love), or getting beat up by some guy, or worse, coming across one who gets off by strangling or stabbing his sex partner.   Or even not knowing he is married and his pissed off wife is stalking him…with a gun!   We are becoming a society of fast and easy sex, but as that usually happens in places where no one else is around, I think you are taking your life and well being in your hands for  sexual encounter that may not even result in an  orgasm. You do NOT know who the person is behind those eyes, and a sociopath or  psycho  does not look any different than any one else, he may even look like James Bond!   So “doing” James Bond is not worth risking my life or health, at any reward.  I would even say men today are taking chances, look at a certain high profile case today.
    So maybe it is ok to just use others for sex, especially if they are just using you for sex back, but is it really worth it if you come across an unbalanced person who may stalk you or worse?   There are a lot of crazy people out there.   The amount of casual sex available  in my age group just by opening up a profile is scary.  
    Giving it away to everyone also commoditizes your body. I like to believe my body and my intimacy are special, not for the general public consumption. Like my boyfriend told me about a friend of mine who was screwing everyone she met on the first date (and then complaining when they didn’t end up her boyfriend)….she may be a beautiful and sweet woman, but men fuck a ‘ho, they usually do not marry  them….I asked him if I would have had sex with him right away if I would be his girlfriend today and he said “nope”…to his credit though, he did not try to have sex with me for several dates, because he was looking for a girlfriend, so it is not like he was testing me either (which would put him in the sociopath catagory).
    I am sure that last comment is going to get every woman on here up in arms, but one of the things that I finally got from Evan’s blog is that life and love is not fair, so know the rules and play to your advantage, not what it “should” be, but what it “is”….

  14. 54

    As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think that what Moxie was doing with these guys was having “casual sex”. To me, casual sex means one-night stands, hooking up, fuck-buddies, etc. It doesn’t mean doing “couple-y” things together like going on dates or making dinner, or spending entire weekends together. That’s dating, and if it only lasts for 3-6 months, well, that’s what “short-term dating” is. In fact, she says she weeded out the guys who were truly looking for casual sex, so I’m not sure what any of this actually proves, except that if you’re not looking for casual sex, I’d leave that box unchecked. And as many of us have experienced, it’s not unusual for some men to give confusing messages about what they actually do want in order to get sex.
    Tom10 #32
    “But these guys know their value — and if you’re not up to what he perceives his value is he won’t call you — that’s the high risk.”
    Why would I want to get involved with someone who feels that way about me, even if he’s tall and attractive? I’ve dated tall, good-looking men who do feel excited to be with me, so what would be the point? Besides, I’ll take a shorter, cute, but not classically handsome guy who’s a great person and is into me, over a taller, handsome egotist any day.

  15. 55

    Karmic Equation, Fusee, marymary
    Thank you ladies for your comments!!   If I seem all over the map in what follows… welcome to my world. 🙂   I appreciate what you contribute to this blog more than you know.   
    Karmic Equation # 38
    You wrote, “It’s more important to me to keep my options open than to prevent him from exercising his.”
    And “This is the part that most women don’t get, if you have options, exercise them until the guy locks YOU down.   When you feel compelled to lock HIM down, you’re saying HE’s the prize, not you.”
    I can understand that.   I don’t know how to do that.   I don’t ask for exclusivity (except for one relationship)   But I wait until I am exclusive to have sex.   There have been times that I ignored glaring red flag because I wanted to be exclusive so I could get to the sex.      I know, how stupid is that!!!!
    Fusee # 46
    You wrote. “Sure, on paper your “allowed” to spend time with other men and screen for a future husband, but in reality you do not have that much time to spend on many other men, and also the drive to do so tends to decrease since your immediate needs for companionship are met.”
    Yes.   I tend to do that.   I wish I could “keep my options open” and still get other needs met.   But I really don’t think I can do it without making a mess of it.   Matthew Hussey wrote, “give a man ten women and he’ll play, give a woman ten men and she’ll choose.”   That may not be true of every woman or every man but it seems to be true for me.
    You wrote, “So for me, sex prevents me to qualify a man properly regardless of exclusivity.
    I know the feeling!!!   Damn!   Also wanting to have sex can also prevent me from being objective.  
    marymary # 50
    You wrote, “I think the big risk isn’t casual sex per se – it’s casual sex with the same person over an extended period.”   
    I can see that.   I don’t know if the relationship I had four years ago would count as casual sex.   We agreed on exclusivity/ monogamy but there was the understanding that there was really no future in it.   He knew that my daughter was my priority and I believed that that would never change.   Her care was so consuming it didn’t leave much room in my life for anything else.   He was focused on his little girl and getting his business going and   he was still hurting over his divorce.   I think we were both lonely and we both needed someone but I fell for him.   I don’t think I could keep myself from developing deeper feelings for someone I liked enough to be with over a longer span of time.   I don’t want to be so afraid of getting burned that I don’t risk and put myself out there, however, I don’t want to throw myself into the fire either.
    You wrote, “And whatever you call it, if you see each other a lot and care about each other, it’s going to kickstart the relationship feelings…”  
    I learned that the hard way.
    You wrote “Also, like Fusee said it’s time and to me at my advanced age, ha, that’s more precious than with whom I do or do not have sex.”   
    Good point.   I am in that age bracket too. 🙂

  16. 56

    One other quick comment: it is human nature to desire that which is not easily attainable. If you work in sales, you learn early on to never give your services/products away for free…the line is “no one wants a free kitten”…
    So taking the moral debate out of the equation completely, recognizing that which is free is undesirable as a fundamental human behavior, if you want anyone to value you at all, why would you de-value yourself first?   And who wants to be unvalued, by anyone for any reason?  
    I used to do the casual sex, and say loudly “men do it, so women should be able to also”, but as Dr. Phil says “how’s that working for you?”….
    Once I learned to value myself, and built up my self-esteem, I would not repeat my past behaviors, because it is a no-win situation for me, not because I  was a bad girl or wrong if I had casual sex. But simply, because it wasn’t working so well for me…..it just didn’t feel very good at the end of the day!

  17. 57

    whatever you decide in your sex life,   you need some levity, some playfulness. that’s what men lookfor in a woman, more than a time table.

  18. 58

    I agree Amy. A mixture of playfulness in a deep spiritual connected way in a committed realtionship feels the best to me.I personally need and want all of those things and refuse t settle for anything less understand that others think and feel differently though.

  19. 59

    “Wouldn’t we all want a chance to tame James Bond? The probability of taming a man like that is slim to none. But just imagine if you were “that one”<sigh>”
    Eeek yuck no.
    I wouldn’t want a chance to take the risk of taming a James Bond type character who is a cold bloodied killer who places the value of his favorite whiskey above human life. Thinking it was a shame to spill that scotch but didn’t bat a eye about a woman who he slept with being killed. EEK! No thanks rather take my chances on someone who has proven to me with his actions that he cares about people more than objects and especially cares about me.
    He may be hot looking and a great bet do what he is best equipped for which is   to defend Queen and country, God bless him! However if a caring man is what I want with a warm heart it would feel best to me to leave James Bond to what he does best KILL and CASUALLY FUCK! Wisely selecting a better candidate for the job of loving and caring about me and loved ones.

  20. 60

    Ruby #54
    “I’ll take a shorter, cute, but not classically handsome guy who’s a great person and is into me, over a taller, handsome egotist any day.”
    Yes, that would seem like the logical thing to do.
    I suppose when I wrote that comment I was thinking about two female friends of mine in particular who keep chasing the classically handsome egotist who’s ambivalent about them. He “dates” them for a while and then moves on. My friends are left wondering what they did wrong.
    I know that they didn’t really do anything wrong except play at the high-stakes table and lose. I’m not sure why they keep going for those guys. I suppose it’s because they’re still quite young, or I guess in their mind they just might win one day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *