Who Enjoys Casual Sex?


Lots has been written about casual sex and the hookup culture – to the point where it has to be very confusing for people to navigate the booty call waters themselves. But a new study points out what most of us could have probably figured out for ourselves:

“A new study published in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science suggests that the potential positive and negative outcomes of casual sex are not mutually exclusive: If you’re the type of person who enjoys engaging in casual sex, then hooking up can boost your self-esteem and life satisfaction. But if you’re not that kind of person, then it won’t.”

In other words, do whatever the hell you want. Whatever makes you feel good. Amen to that.

If you’re a woman who sleeps with a guy and thinks that it means he likes you, wants to see you again, or that he’s going to be your boyfriend, you’re playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette with your emotions.

Because I have repeatedly cautioned women to not have sex outside of a committed relationship, I have been accused of being anti-sex or a slut-shamer. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am many things, but a hypocrite isn’t one of them. If a woman wants to sleep with a guy on the first date just because it’s fun and she has   no attachment to whether she sees him again, well, let’s just say I would have loved to have met her ten years ago. No judgment here.

My only point – now backed up by the above study – is that random sex may be fun for some people (often extroverted men) but it isn’t fun for others – and those are the women to whom I’m offering my advice. If you’re a woman who sleeps with a guy and thinks that it means he likes you, wants to see you again, or that he’s going to be your boyfriend, you’re playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette with your emotions. If you are going to stare at your phone for his next text, check his Facebook page, browse his dating profile to see if he’s online, and stop seeing all other men because you like the guy you slept with casually, maybe casual sex is not for you.

But, “with sexually permissive students, those who successfully engaged in casual sex reported higher rates of self-esteem and lower rates of depression and anxiety than those who failed to seal the deal.” Basically, hook-up culture is good for people who like hook-up culture, just like marriage is good for people who want monogamy and steak is good to people who like steak. Full article can be seen here:

Can you handle the consequences of casual sex? Or did you try it and found that it hurt too much?

Join our conversation (115 Comments).
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  1. 21

    I guess I’m thinking of the situations of the couples who start seeing eachother and the guy switches it to a friends with benefits arrangement and now the woman is bonded   and stuck with hurt and pain. Obviously we women have to have our own back but I believe the guy has a moral responsibility as well. What ever happened to people being decent and kind? There’s alot of trickery out there now where the lines are blurred. Yes women shouldnt let themselves be debased but the one that’s doing the debasing is the ultimate maximum douche bag!

    1. 21.1

      On second thoughts perhaps the tone of my original response to you was a bit harsh. I agree with you that everyone needs to treat others with respect and care.

      I guess I’ve just witnessed this situation so often that sometimes I just get exasperated.

      I guess this scenario will probably just continue to repeat itself as long as men and women exist.

  2. 22

    Some guys who are not particularly hot act like this too. The guy isn’t responsible for her dating life but he doesn’t need to string someone along for sex . Just because someone lets you treat them badly doesn’t mean you should. Frankly I think some guys should feel sone shame. But I doubt they’re capable of it anymore the ones who act like this. I have no issue with guys who are upfront with their intentions but alot aren’t as most of us women wouldn’t stay around if we knew the truth. Yes women can control themselves butwe get lonely and want love and sex and companionship so badly.

    1. 22.1
      Karmic Equation

      You’re perpetuating the “women are victims” mentality. We women know when we feel bad in a relationship, when the relationship isn’t meeting our needs. It is OUR responsibility to exit unhappy/dissatisfying relationships. To claim we “can’t unbond after sex” is total B.S. Any woman who stays in a relationship where she isn’t happy is stringing HERSELF along. The man is irrelevant. What he does or doesn’t do is irrelevant. Why he does or doesn’t do what she thinks he should do is irrelevant. Until a woman accepts that her happiness is HER OWN responsibility, she will NEVER find happiness. Stop giving men that power over your happiness. Go out and search for it. And keep dumping the guys who can’t or won’t make you happy, no matter how much sex you’ve had. No matter how hot the guy. No matter how much money. Dump him if the relationship isn’t making you happy. It’s simple. It’s within your power.

  3. 23

    No offense taken. I know some women are shallow and get caught up in chemistry, looks, material possessions and swag. The women who sabotage relationships with well meaning men to chase a bad boy time and time again. I dont pity them as I think they are not appreciating the good guys and eventually dont really deserve it. The women my heart goes out to are maybe not saints but are loving people trying to find love or had sex and fell in love and got played. Sometimes these women cant trust anymore and just withdraw from the whole scene period. In my neighborhood I saw a newly divorced guy go through a string of women that all thought they meant something to him because he made them feel that way but really they were all bed warmers so he wouldn’t be alone. He wasn’t some hot guy. I thought he looked like a little mouse. One was too old for him he felt but he didn’t tell her that. He hosted parties with her introduced his kids to her and practically lived with her. But when she pressed for commitment in 6 months she found out she meant nothing. Next was a single mother with teenage son who fell for his flowers and promises. She was dumped a year later. And then he told everyone he had never been that attracted to her. And on and on it goes.

    1. 23.1
      faded jade

      It sounds like he played the role of “nice guy”.   You describe him as “looking like a mouse”, so perhaps because he wasn’t a “hot” looking guy, he knew he had to bring more to the table than just his awesome good looks. And despite his mousy appearance he was able to win women’s hearts, then break them, with his “nice guy” act.   So here is an example   of   women who can and do fall for the average looking guys who INTIALLY treat them well, and then it turns out that he is a a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
      I will say this; in this incarnation of dating,   I’ve had 2 men bolt for the door when I gave them my version of the EMK, “no sex unless your my boyfriend” speech, and I must say that as graceless as their exit was, I RESPECT the fact that they didn’t bullshit me by pretending to want a relationship with me that they really didn’t want, just to get into my bedroom.  
      I RESPECT men who say “I’m not looking for anything serious now” UPFRONT and give the woman the opportunity to say “I’m not looking for anything casual – buh-bye”.  
      I prefer the straight up “wolf” over the “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.  
      Of course my number 1 choice is the genuine good man, who is straightforward with his intentions, his intention is to find a relationship,   and he wants that relationship with ME, and there is enough MUTUAL attraction and comfort to make it work.   No excessive cat and mouse games, no extended limbo period, etc.     I also like purple unicorns 🙂

    2. 23.2

      j – how about reversing the “he’s” and “she’s” and think about how silly that all sounds?

      Both men and women make mistakes, change their mind, hide their agenda, don’t even KNOW their agenda, are confused and make poor decisions, react out of hand, etc etc.

      Just because a person had a hookup or dated someone, and the other person did the fade or treated them badly, does NOT mean the second person intended to harm the first person, and certainly doesn’t put the onus of protecting   the first person on the second, regardless of gender.

      All you’re saying is “men should do this”.   As Evan has always said, good luck with that approach.

      Karmic said it all much better than I could.  

  4. 24

    This guy has actually become single because he had done a tiger woods thing and his wife found his phone. I believe he operated this way because he was used to having a spouse not because he couldnt get away with it. And believe me this is only one example I’ve got a ton more. I believe your approach to being up front about not having sex till in a relationshio is wise and brave.  

  5. 25

    Yes totally agree with you that women need the man to be honest so she can make the decision if she wants to be treated casually for sex. Its the bait and switch that I believe is deplorable and predatory. I’ve seen plenty of guys do this with big bellies and average looks and below average incomes because they can and maybe the women think he is more likely to be a nice guy because he’s not gorgeous flashy or well off. But nope. And I’m not talking about someone who changes their mind or finds an incompatibility I’m talking about guys that bull shitted a woman for the sexual perks. I think while there are never guarantees the approach of being very up front and candid would surely weed alot of them out. If a man is really interested in something with a woman hell respect her and be content to have the chance with her. Most women afraid to do that and its more tempting to hope she grows on him in time.

  6. 26

    We do have more power than we think but no one is an island. Im married myself and my husband is a loyal good man. But I have observed the coarseness and roughness in the male female dynamic through a divorced sister friends and co workers. Ive heard over and over that things are different and people dont care as much andeverything is disposable or discarded more readily. My brother was widowed a few years ago and he tried online dating for awile and was kind of bewieldered by it. But he had a different experience with a widows online support group and met a nice lady on there and is very content. In fact I thought it was interesting that all if the couples who got together in relationships were still together several years later. I dont want to perpetuate anything iI’m just calling it as I see it. I wouldn’t want to be single for anything.  

  7. 27

    I think it is all about intention and making emotionally sound choices. I have had casual sex, but never with a man who I was interested in   serious relationship with.   If I am at all interested in potentially pursuing something longer term, I will try to proceed to sex only after there is an emotional bond and a committed relationship.   
    Sometimes this is easier said that done, but if a man is not able to wait a couple months to establish a relationship before becoming physical, my experience has been that he is not into a relationship with me.    Unfortunately, there are so few men who I find to be relationship material, and who reciprocate this.   


    1. 27.1

      When I was single I made them wait sometimes and other times I didnt. I found that some guys will just wait it out and still be a jerk and try to give you the whore treatment later on. One guy I remember made him wait a few months then after he got what he wanted for awhile he became disrespectful to me. Instead of breaking ng my heart I calmly told him I didnt know what he expected from our relationship but I was dating two other guys and would continue. The look on his face was priceless and his eyes teared up as I said goodbye. My husband I must confess I didnt make wait and he fell in love with me right away so go figure! That being said I do think its probably wise to make the person wait but maybe mire important to ask what theyre looking for and hold out on giving trust too soon. The playing field is so rough now with all the liars and stringers and the technology with the internet and sexting taking the place of real relationships. And also the laws that make marriage a risky buisness financially.

  8. 28

    I think maybe I dont care for the man who would judge me with his double standard of me having sex with him too soon as he also had the sex too and Im not holding it against him. I find those type of guys are allways fault finding and holier than thou while man whitening around town. Also I think if someone really really likes you they just cant help themselves and will just be happy to be with you. If they dont like you all that much it ends up not mastering what ypu do its doomed. In other words if the guy is really into you he will be much more forgiving of you. Its not something we can control.

  9. 29

    I think if you have a connection with the person then the sex can be way better. And then if the girl gets pregnant it’s better obviously because the people love each other and wouldn’t be ashamed of having a child together.

  10. 30

    Its awful when women have a child with someone who does not want to be with them. Some women try to force a relationship on a guy by intentionally getting pregnent. Then when it doesn’t work as it doesn’t as much now its a mess because the child becomes a pawn to punish and manipulate. I witnessed this first hand with a neighbor. If two people allready adore eachother then its all good. But when only one person is in love bringing a baby into the mix is so hard because they still have to interact and one person is heartbroken and the other is resentful and mistrustfuln

  11. 31
    Karmic Equation

    I believe that people who are comfortable with their sexuality and confident in themselves can enjoy casual sex, if they truly have no expectations and strings. That’s why men can do it and most women can’t. Most women do think that having sex naturally leads to a COMMITTED relationship. Casual sex DOES lead to relationships but to CASUAL ones in most cases, as long as the woman is “reasonably not crazy most of the time.” 🙂 And really, even if she was crazy most of of the time, if she were hot enough.
    I agree with Tom10 and the studies that say women are in control of SHORT-TERM and/or UNcommitted relationships. This means ONS. This means FWBs. This even means affairs with married men (I haven’t done this and am not condoning it; just using it as an example of uncommitted relationships). Men can’t have ANY casual sex if women don’t give it to them.
    Women in their 20’s and early-mid-30’s looking to get married and have children DO need to date very consciously and selectively for mates. This means they SHOULDN’T be dating for short-term gain, as then they’re wasting their highest marriage/LTR value years, playing around. Unfortunately most women in 20’s date for “love” or chemistry not for long-term compatibility. And women in their 30’s, who may not have stayed in shape or who’ve gotten discouraged because of poor choices or just plain bad luck in their 20s, who do know they should be selecting high-quality mate, have a more difficult time letting go of incompatible men due to their ticking clock and “time invested”. They’re victims of their own bad choices and not recognizing their LTR-value when it was at its highest.
    For women in their 40’s and beyond, particularly those who’ve already had children and who’ve already been married AND who are truly successful (as in financially), I’d say we all need to re-evaluate if we truly “need” a husband or LTRs. If you truly like yourself. If you truly do NOT define your success as a woman by being in a committed relationship. If you truly know how to cultivate and maintain friendships with men, whether or not you’re attracted to them or they to you — I’m going to say it until I’m blue in the face — we do NOT need men for anything other than sex/physical affection.  
    But most 40+ women on this board think of sex in extremes, as either some sort of chore or at the other extreme, as some sort of magical experience. This extremist way of thinking about sex puts women in a no-win situation when it comes to relationships…because she boxes herself into only allowing sex only when in committed relationships, of which she has NO control. Or you come to an epiphany like Sparkling Emerald and realize you’re in control of makeout experiences 🙂 and find a measure of sexual satisfaction in that.
    Because   Julia (in her 30’s, when she was single) and I  (in my late 40’s)  — we didn’t/don’t limit ourselves by buying into the judgmental thinking that “casual sex” is only for women of “low self-esteem” but rather understand that as women we have power over short-term and casual relationships, we were/are free to experience our entire womanhood, and not lock an important aspect of ourselves away. Julia found Mr. Right, while being perfectly able to have fun with Mr. Right Now. Her job was recognizing the gem that became her boyfriend and “choosing” him above her Mr. Right Nows.
    In my 40’s. With more assets than most men my age. Still attractive. Being open and able to have casual sex allows me to date/meet men I consider well out of my league. This doesn’t mean I will have casual sex, it just means that I can when the mood strikes me…but it takes two to tango. Two weeks ago, I had a date with an out-of-town visitor, a fit, 6’3″ handsome, (think blend of Harry Hamlin and Corbin Bernsen in their heyday), world travelling, global sales director, who could rock skinny jeans (didn’t think a manly man could pull that off, but he did). If I were looking for a relationship, I would never have considered going on a date with him and then would have missed out on a fun evening with a fascinating man. Did I mention that he had a sexy Dutch accent? And owned a million-dollar condo in San Francisco? Yeah, way the heck out of my league! I would have happily hooked up with him, but he wasn’t into me. Pity. I blame the humungous stress blemish on my chin for c*ck-blocking me 🙂 Truth be told I was dejected for a few days afterwards when he didn’t try to make a move on me. I’m not used to that. But now I can laugh about it as I re-read his profile afterwards and there was one question he answered that I would have nixed a date with him on had I paid more attention the first time I read his profile. (OKC, “Have you ever had a homosexual experience?” — his reply “Yes, and I enjoyed it.”) — TG for small favors. So in retrospect, I’m glad we didn’t hookup. As hot and sexy as he was.  
    Anyway, the point of this post is that, if we women in our 40’s, rather than lamenting that it’s almost impossible to find a good looking man of good character to have a committed relationship with, instead focused on our power to have STRs or non-monogamous relationships (but cultivate MANY such – I have 3 right now). Practically EVERY man we desire can be ours, for as long as WE want THEM (remember, men can’t have casual sex or casual relationships if we don’t give it to him). And if you are truly good person to be friends with, the friendship remains even when the romance fades. Because that fact is once you make a true connection with a man, sex is NOT the reason why your relationship (monogamous or not) continues or ends.

    1. 31.1

      @ Karmic Equation #31
      Great comment Karmic, but I’m curious about this statement:

      “I re-read his profile afterwards and there was one question he answered that I would have nixed a date with him on had I paid more attention the first time I read his profile. (OKC, “Have you ever had a homosexual experience?” – his reply “Yes, and I enjoyed it.”) – TG for small favors. So in retrospect, I’m glad we didn’t hookup. As hot and sexy as he was.”

      Why would you nix a date with a guy for having had a homosexual experience?

      I wouldn’t cancel a date with a girl who revealed that she’d experimented with other women, hehe 😉

      1. 31.1.1

        Because men love the thought of girl on girl action. Women aren’t necessarily aroused the same way men are.

      2. 31.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        You are such a guy, Tom. You know the answer to that.

  12. 32
    Karl S

    One of the things I sometimes wonder about is whether I could ever have a successful relationship with somebody who’s never had a one night stand or casual relationship. Would I be able to talk about my previous experiences or share the stories I’ve had, as I am wont to do, without being judged for it? People with a very singular approach to dating tend to speak about love and relationships in a very different way to me. Their discourse is often so at odds with my own that it feels a bit jarring. I guess it comes down to whether they can still respect you at the end of the day. I still respect people who know they will only go for a long term thing, but I definitely feel more at ease chatting with flexible types.

  13. 33

    I’ve tried to enjoy casual sex several times, particularly recently, and although it feels good in the moment, the truth is, I am always hoping they’ll call the next day. I can’t imagine ever being 100% okay with not hearing from them again.  

    There have been times when I’ve gone from not being that interested in a guy romantically to wishing we could be together just because we had sex! My hormones make a fool out of me, for sure.

    And the latest negative consequence of going casual has been that I feel I have less to give a potential budding relationship now. My brain’s in casual mode, but I do like this guy… someone commented something about us leaving a piece of ourselves behind with every intimate encounter, like horcruxes… i hate to say it, but for me this may be true.   

    I’m exhausted and impatient, have limited staying power, and am far more inclined to chuck a guy pre-emptively than try to push through the difficult times, and I think my recent series of casual hookups are part of the reason why I’m just disillusioned now.   

    1. 33.1

      Obviously I can’t speak for other women, but at least for me, staying away from casual sex keeps my life very uncomplicated and drama free.   Even if faith was not important to me, casual sex would be worth avoiding for that very reason.  

  14. 34

    While I personally do not engage in casual sex, here’s the thing: if you want a culture that embraces casual sex, then you can’t have it both ways and judge the other person for participating in it. Eventually, the market will become – if it isn’t already – saturated in people who’ve had casual sex. You can become more accepting or you can not date.

    1. 34.1

      Excellent point ST. I am always amazed that men,(not all men of course) who consider themselves to be superior logicians, try to bed as many women as they can, encourage all of their buddies to do so, then complain bitterly that women are all sluts. You can’t have a population of men who bed large numbers of women, and then expect to marry a virgin or a near virgin. They are pooping in their own pond, then complaining about how shitty the pond is.


      1. 34.1.1

        @ SparklingEmerald #34.1
        “I am always amazed that men,(not all men of course) who consider themselves to be superior logicians”

        Ha, do we? I thought the “game” was based on both genders trying to “out-logic” the other?

        “try to bed as many women as they can, encourage all of their buddies to do so, then complain bitterly that women are all sluts”

        But is this actually true? Think of the actual slutty guys you know (ahem) or formerly slutty guys (cough cough our gracious host); do they complain bitterly that women are all sluts? Nah, we encourage women to express their sexuality as they see fit. The guys who complain bitterly are the ones who get overlooked again and again.

        When I was young I was shocked — shocked I tell you — to discover that women are into sex as much as guys! So rather than complain about women being sluts, I made a decision to join ‘em 😉

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Tom10 at 34.1.1 said “rather than complain about women being sluts, I made a decision to join ‘em 😉”

          LOL ! I missed you while you were AWOL Tom !

          Anyway, I am sooooooooooo glad to be off the market.

  15. 35

    No, not for me. It hasn’t really been good. The negatives outweigh the positives by far. I might get sex toys instead… Much safer lol

  16. 36
    Mrs. Newlwed

    Mainly didn’t work and I am a libertarian bohemian very open minded. Nope. No regrets but some men ‘got some’ who didn’t deserve the pleasure of my company, in retrospect. My best experience were in monogamous relationships including my current marriage.

  17. 37

    The sad thing is, sex USED to mean something, and it WAS that *magical experience* that Karmic makes fun of. I feel pity for those who’ve never experienced it. But now the hookup culture has resulted in nothing more than people out for their own personal gain because “sex doesn’t mean anything.” I’ve heard this so many times I can’t help but think, “If it doesn’t mean anything you, then why should I bother?” It also means I haven’t been able to find anything but selfish jackhammers in the last 15 years or so, which has made me completely disinterested in sex. They treat the experience as though I’m responsible for BOTH his pleasure as well as my own. This is what the casual sex culture is doing to us and as long as women buy into it and participate, they’re only cheating themselves in the long run of what USED to be an amazing thing.

    1. 37.1
      Lindsey Ball

      I totally agree with you.   This message that “sex doesn’t mean anything” has been shoved down our throats in modern America.   It DOES.   And it took me way too long to learn this.

  18. 38

    I’ve always done what I wanted at the moment. No rules or strategies. That’s a fearful, insecure mindset. If a man is into me he will keep coming back. If not….NEXT….no expectations! My ex and I were married 14 years and slept on date two. My current BF of seven months slept on date two as well. I am adored and cherished every day still! Did not deter either of them from continuing to pursue me. In fact the sex brought us closer! I’ve never felt ashamed. If a man didn’t respect me for “giving it up too soon” then I wouldn’t respect his judgmental ass either! Yuck and blah to those dudes 🙂

  19. 39

    Usually it works 1-2 times with the same girl. If you do it more often, it might hurt her. My experience.

  20. 40
    Beth C.

    It’s curious that just about every article about casual sex or the hookup culture concludes that there’s some sort of chromosomal trait that leaves women desiring china and babies once they are naked with a guy but men have no problem having casual sex. There’s plenty of literature and mythology that deems women who engage in casual sex as broken or suffering from low self-esteem. All of this is myth. There are men who would prefer to be bonded to have sex and there are plenty of women who enjoy sex for sex’s sake. This does not mean they necessarily have low self-esteem; in fact, it might mean they have good self-esteem and self-concept. that they aren’t dependent on having a partner’s OK to feel confident. Women can be independent sexual creatures. We tend to see women as tolerating sex to get or keep a partner and men as having no control over their sex lives. That is absurd. I spent fifteen years in a sexless marriage because my husband did not like sex. I have interviewed experts and sexless couples — and often, it’s the husband who does not want to have sex. Can’t we move past this ridiculous posturing about gender and sex for once and for all??

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