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.

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  1. 61

    Tom What did they do wrong? They chased him made him the prize instead of realising that they are the prize not him.
    No good grown up masculine energy men want or feel romantically attracted to women who chase.

  2. 62
    Karmic Equation

    @Fusee 46

    A few clarifications…

    While I’m not “looking for” a relationship, if a relationship results from casual sex, I’m not going turn it down IF I like the man AND I like the sex with that man. That was the case with my last 3 relationships (#1, I married the man, #2 I had an ONS that became a 6-yr relationship, #3 was booty call to gf). I wasn’t looking for any relationships to result, but they became relationships nonetheless.

    I’m not qualifying a man for his sexual *abilities* but rather for sexual *compatibility*. If a man chases, I would hope he’s chasing because he’s able. LOL. Because of my marriage, I’ve become acutely aware that sexual compatibility is very important to me. I like what I like in sex. While one can be adventurous, we all have a default setting and if our default setting doesn’t mesh with our partner’s default setting, the relationship can feel very unfulfilling, no matter how much our core values or sense of humors mesh.


    Back to casual sex…

    1) I have casual sex ONLY when I’m not vested in having a relationship with the guy. If I think I *might* want one, he’s off limits for casual sex. This pre-empts what happened to Jenn in the monogamy thread. She tried to back-door her way into a monogamous relationship after having sex. Casual on his part, but obviously not casual on hers.

    2) Having casual sex DOESN’T preclude me from having a relationship with the guy if HE decides to wants a go at a relationship (and I think he’s worth it as well).

    3) It’s just as easy to have relationships with hot guys as not-so-hot guys if you know yourself and can manage your emotions. I agree with marymary that it’s great to express our emotions freely, but I would qualify that to expressing our POSITIVE emotions (love, happiness) freely but we must learn to manage and constructively express or even suppress our NEGATIVE emotions (i.e., jealousy, insecurity).

    4) DISCLAIMER: I’m not a conspiracy theorist nor a Wiccan, but what follows is going to sound like I’m both 🙂

    While individual men love having sexually liberated women to have casual sex with, men collectively (i.e., society/religion) have done everything they can to DIScourage women from freely exploring and expressing their sexuality. In the extreme, some cultures even go so far as to mutilate women’s genitalia to ensure that their women hate sex.

    Other than Wicca, what religion do you know of that encourages women to express in their sexuality?

    And other than Wicca, what religions are headed by women?

    Do you think that’s a coincidence?

    Men (collectively) know that a woman who freely, comfortably, and ably expresses her sexuality is a force they wouldn’t want to reckon with. Can you imagine a society of sirens getting men to do their bidding because of the power of the you-know-what? — I’m addicted to the I.D. channel. The number of women who seduce their lovers into killing inconvenient husbands are too many to name. Men cannot seduce women into killing in the same way. Women kill for jealousy but not because his equipment was capable of seducing her into murder.

    (A) Almost all religions headed by men encourage women to be viriginal in thought and actions, and label women who are comfortable with and expressive of their sexuality as Jezebels and sluts.

    (B) SCIENCE, a profession comprised mostly of men, promote the idea that oxytocin bonds a woman to THE MAN instead of being more accurate in saying that oxytocin bonds a woman TO SEX.

    And because of (A) most women willingly buy in to (B) the thought that oxytocin bonds her to the MAN and not “to SEX” itself. I believe women shouldn’t buy into either.

    Being an iconoclast and agnostic, I certainly don’t buy into either. I believe a Smart, Strong, Successful woman should also be Sexy and Sexual…without guilt and without apology. We should be out there having all the casual sex we can handle…and only have relationships with men who can handle US. If or when women can happily have casual sex without guilt, without apology, without fear, without need of a “relationship”, there would be chaos in Man-dom. That would a true sexual revolution that frees women.

    Back to regular programming 😉

  3. 63

    Karmic, I love your comments! I’m a smart, educated woman and I love sex. When I was single I had casual sex. One night stands and very long term FWB’s. It worked for me and made me happy. Sexual compatibility is super important to me so I usually have sex pretty quickly. I have friends who don’t care that much about the sex with their partners, but for me it is a high priority. When I met my bf I just wanted sex with him, I was still dating other people because I didn’t see him as a relationship  possibility  due to him being 8 years younger than me. But he fell for me and convinced me to give him a chance outside of just sex. I’m glad I did because he is a great bf to me and our sex life is so amazing! We all have things we need in a relationship, I’m a very sexual person and I don’t think that says anything my character or morals. Sex isn’t the only thing that matters to me, I also need a man to be smart, funny, sweet and reliable, but there are men who love sex and have these other traits, just like my bf.  

  4. 64
    Karmic Equation

    Tom10 & Flea

    Thanks 🙂

    Tina #17

    James Bond is a concept. That handsome, charismatic, rich, alpha male. Men like that can be good and wonderful people, too. Average looking men don’t corner the market on “goodness” and “wonderfulness”. See Flea’s post #64.

    The difference is that as women, we are less likely to be jealous about our average looking partners, whereas we tend to be on high alert on the behavior of our great looking partners, especially how they behave around other women.

    What this means, at least to me, is that it is EASIER to partner with an average looking guy, because we women don’t have to work as hard (or at all) in controlling our jealousy or insecurity.

    Our average-looking bf smiling at a waitress doesn’t make us seethe while our super-hot bf smiling at a waitress make us want to smack him.

    It took a lot of work to cure myself of my insecurities and recognize and control my jealousy tendencies. It’s worth the effort. I’m not immune to the ego-boost I get when other women give me envious looks. And it’s awesome for my bf because most good looking men aren’t used to women not throwing a fit when they’re just being their natural charming selves…to other women. That feeling of trust HE gets from ME for letting he be himself builds a connection in a way that talking for hours about values never could.


    By George, I think you’ve got it! LOL

    I’ve never angsted about relationships or “the One” or if the relationship is “progressing” or if he or I are wasting our time. So I’ve never put pressure on myself or the guy to be in a relationship. He calls me up, I’m free, we spend time together. Even the horniest of guys doesn’t want to spend his entire free time in bed. He’s gotta eat, socialize, watch tv, etc. Because I’m wicked awesome company usually he invites me along to do those things with him. Then the spending time together eventually becomes more real and feelings grow. Before you know it there’s love (not necessarily “in love”) but connection, trust, a true sense of the other person. Voila, you have a relationship.

    I let him decide how far and deep the relationship goes, because my being with him is not because I want a RELATIONSHIP with him, I simply want to be with HIM. This doesn’t mean that I’m sitting at home waiting for him to call me nor that I’m some sort of servant walking two steps behind. I have other friends, interests, and passions I indulge in when we’re not together. From early on, men have been the icing on the cake that is my like. Men are NOT the cake. I can change the icing anytime and sometimes no icing is healthier 🙂

    I think that a lot of women think that “a man” in their life makes their life complete. I have a simpler need. I’m happy to have male attention…so I just make friends with a lot of men (I don’t sleep with these friends, they may want to sleep with me, but that’s their issue. I don’t lead them on, but I do give them feminine attention as in smiles and laughter and radiance and female perspective.)

    As for how to exercise your options? When my reformed-player bf and I were dating and not in an exclusive relationship, I spent time with other men, actually hoping that I would find any of those other men as attractive as my player. I would have gladly dated a man like that, in addition to my player. I was looking, but that man never appeared, so by default I was monagamous, not by choice.

    A few months ago I broke up with said reformed-player bf, but we maintain an FWB relationship. In the meantime, I had an ONS with a super attractive guy, who’s not relationship-material, but with whom I remain friendly. And I’m flirting with a guy young enough to be my son (he hit on me and I disclosed my age, but he didn’t care) — normally I would have passed on a guy that much younger, but I just couldn’t on this one. 6’5″ built like a Greek god, broad shoulders, slim hips, devilish smile and charm. Haven’t slept with him yet (he lives 1.5hrs away)…but the tension is building, so it’s just a matter of time.

    If I were looking for a “relationship” — I’d have had to pass up my Greek god. Thank goodness I don’t need that to have sex. In all likelihood, we’ll have a night to remember and then go our separate ways. I’ll be a notch on his figurative bedpost and he on mine. Win-win.

  5. 65
    Karmic Equation

    @Soulsister 54

    Casual sex is more than just sex with strangers, which is what it seems your post #54 is mostly about. The dangers you listed can happen on a first date, but you’re not giving up dating strangers, I assume 🙂

    FWB relationships are casual sex relationships; as is sex with exes; as is sex with long-time friends; as is sex with your high-school sweetheart you met again during HS reunion, etc. Casual sex includes ONS and sex with strangers, but is not limited to that.

    I’ll admit that when I had ONS in my 20’s I didn’t have sex for sex sake, but rather to fulfill some need…to feel desired, to exercise my female power, to assuage loneliness. So I would agree that young women who have sex might have self-esteem issues. I know I did.

    However, having been in many LTRs, including marriage, my desire for casual sex is no longer because of lack of esteem. The opposite, in fact. I have sex because I want to have sex. I have sex because I’m attracted to the man and desire nothing from him other than sex.

    Requiring a relationship being agreed to before having sex doesn’t make necessarily make a person a high-self-esteem person. It just means that person wants to have sex within the limits of what they’re comfortable with. My limits are further than most women’s because I can separate my emotions from sex.

    In fact, if I find myself wildly attracted to the guy, I give up the idea of a relationship with him and just go for the sex. A lot of women run from the guy they’re wildly attracted to. I usually beckon him to come hither. I think I have more fun. LOL.

  6. 66

    I do not comment often. But to put in my 2 cents in. Reicently friend of mine was looking only for casual hookups, checking box… casual sex. Surprise, surprise she got no reactions from men. Before, she checked box interested in long term relationship, marriage. And there you go, she got lots of requests for hookups.

    Now what does that mean? I think guys do not want to have that thrown in their faces bluntly? Does it mean, they feel the chase is over even before it started? Probably. Anyhow, feels a little unfair. But that is another story.

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