Will Guys Think Less of Me If I Want to Stick With Casual Sex?

Will Guys Think Less of Me If I Want to Stick With Casual Sex

I read your article on male celibacy and it was a very good read. I’m a divorced 29 year old woman with two children. I met my ex-husband when I was 16 and we married two years later when I was 18, our marriage lasted 9 years so we were together for a total of 11 years. This is my first time being single in my adult life. However while dating in the past two years, I have met a couple of men that I was intimate with on a casual level. After dating for about a year the men started to ask me to label the situation and tell them what I want from them.

Every time a guy asks me to tell them what I want from them I get really anxious and tell them I’m not ready for a relationship – I just want to keep it casual. Many of my loved ones tell me I have low self-esteem and don’t value myself because I don’t mind the casual sex relationship with the particular guy that I may be seeing. Is there something wrong with me for living this way after such a long relationship so early on?

What do you think my sex partner’s opinion is of me since I’m not requiring a commitment from him or any dates or anything along those lines. I’m so confused about what I want and if I’m ready for a relationship again.


Your last line tells me a lot more than the previous three paragraphs.

“I’m so confused about what I want and if I’m ready for a relationship again.”

Until you figure this one out, Candace, there’s not much more that folks like me can tell you.

It’s like you’re getting in the car to go somewhere, but you don’t have an address or a GPS.

That’s fine if you really like driving, but you’re never gonna get anywhere.

Simply put: as long as you keep it casual, nobody can hurt you. And that’s just the way you like it.

It’s not my place to tell you that you have low self-esteem. If your loved ones are telling you that, you may want to consider it, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.

Some people can compartmentalize sex from a healthy place — and their promiscuity is not about low self-esteem. Others sleep around for validation and avoid intimacy, which is a bit unhealthier. If I were to tender a guess — not based on you — but, rather, based on all the women I’ve worked with, I’d tell you this:

Your past traumas (and I’m just projecting here) have caused you to try to protect yourself. So while you legitimately don’t feel attachment to these men — giving you the illusion that this is what you want — in fact, this is all a defense to prevent you from getting real and falling in love.

Simply put: as long as you keep it casual, nobody can hurt you. And that’s just the way you like it. Unfortunately, it’s not going to lead to a healthy long-term relationship (if that’s what you crave.)

If you’re an avoidant woman, the only men you’re going to get are:

    a. Avoidant men who also like to keep things casual to minimize real intimacy.
    b. Anxious men who are willing to put up with casual sex partners in the hopes that you one day change your mind and fall in love.

People who restrict themselves to casual sex rarely make for great life partners, as you can probably imagine.

Who will you not attract this way?

Healthy men who want both sex AND intimacy in the same partner.

Which is why I don’t remotely judge you for doing what you’re doing. But I would caution you against participating in this self-fulfilling prophecy.

Casual sex is fine, in and of itself. But people who restrict themselves to casual sex rarely make for great life partners, as you can probably imagine.

Hope I struck a nerve somewhere and that you figure out what’s right for you soon.

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  1. 1
    In Not Of

    Seems to me she was married and a mother so young she never found out what she really wanted. As some who’s been there, done that, the hormones really get in the way of figuring it out.

    1. 1.1

      There is nothing wrong with casual dating as long as she uses protection and minimizes risky behavior or risky situations when it comes to picking up random men or unwanted encounters.   Its great meeting new people, discovering new things and learning new things.   It kinda sucks being stuck with one person for a long time, being bored, not learning anything and just wasting away.   For women, its great meeting lots of successful, educated men instead of being stuck in a bad relationship.   Her female friends are worried about the dangers of promiscuity and pregnancy.   But why should the OP be stuck or forced to just date one man for the rest of her life.   Unless she’s lives in the religious bible belt, modern society is more accepting of women who want to socially interact with several men and stay independent.   She doesn’t need a LT boyfriend or husband to house her and feed her.   She can live her life independently and free.

      1. 1.1.1

        ..she calls it casual sex, yet, she has seen the man for one year….I am confused..


        1. citizenElle

          Nothing confusing about it to me. She’s having sex with men without wanting to have a relationship with them. That’s casual as I see it.

    2. 1.2

      “the hormones really get in the way of figuring it out,” I agree! I’ve been ‘celibate’ for five years! I am also a youngish (early 30s) single mom and I sometimes feel I don’t know what I want either. I haven’t known a lot of stable, stand-up types of guys – and the ones I have thought to be that way were acting like they were, but they were not really trustworthy. Maybe I haven’t met the right one for me. In my experience in dating a few years ago – I try to give the situation a chance but if I realize there isn’t a legit future with us together, I have one single time tried to just let it be physical. I had been celibate for a few years at that time (a couple yrs ago) and my hormones were raging and I told the guy I didn’t want anything serious (I knew he wasn’t rigr me long term) and I consciously decided to try this friends with benefits or physical thing only. I told him I didn’t want a relationship or anything serious at all – just enjoy ourselves and have fun, etc. and he agreed. We kissed and made out and almost lost my celibacy (but stopped) and he became intensely attached and clingy. My plan failed and he didn’t judge me I guess…I don’t really have any advice as it’s a confusing topic. I would say not to let family judgement influence you – it’s your life – and if they bother you, don’t tell them the intimate details…tell a girl friend. Good luck. I think Evan gave some nice advice. Also, I do know the type of guy I want but just haven’t met him yet – or a non-married him yet…good luck!

  2. 2

    Evan has offered an incredibly insightful and smart response. If  Candace is avoiding intimacy and avoiding hurt,   therapy might be a great option to explore this deeper.







  3. 3

    Disclaimer: I’ve never been in such situation – married for 9 years since being a teenager, with no prior relationship experience.

    However if I imagined myself getting out of a marriage at 27 with no real dating experience whatsoever and possibly no clue about who I am and what I want from life because I got married so young, I’d either jump into another serious relationship (which would probably fail since I would not have had time to figure myself out beforehand) or do what the Letter Writer is doing, satisfying my sexual needs by having fun, which will naturally lead to exploring what’s out there, people and possibilities… and either get tired of casual after a while or decide that commitment is not for her at all.

    Basically I do not find the Letter Writer’s behavior or confusion strange or unhealthy two years post divorce given her circumstances. To me it sounds like she is simply reliving her 16-22 year old time period, in a more typical way. If she is still avoiding any more serious involvement in two years, that would become cause for concern, or at least need deeper exploration. At this point: I’d say enjoy being 20 again!

    1. 3.1

      Fusee – that is some sound advice! 🙂 I love it!

  4. 4

    The OP asks the question “What do you think my sex partner’s opinion is of me since I’m not requiring a commitment from him or any dates or anything along those lines.”

    The only real answer is…..ask the sex partner- and hope for an honest answer; anything else is a guess.


  5. 5

    Nothing wrong with a woman sowing some wild oats and keeping her options open, men do it all the time.   She got married young, probably too young and has two young children.   By keeping it casual and light until she is sure of what she wants, I say go for it!

    1. 5.1

      Sophia,fuse and sunflower added more light. but still casual or long term relationships…she has to into consideration who is willing to live with her and her two kids

  6. 6
    Karmic Equation

    I agree with Fusee and Sunflower.

    I did the exact same thing at 46, after having been seriously partnered up from 20-46 (consisting of 3 LTRs one of which was a marriage).

    It’s ok to sow oats, particularly is she hadn’t sown any before, like me.

    What I would advise the LW is to NOT worry about what her “casual” men think. She should not define her actions based on what they think. Live to please herself (while, of course, taking care of her children appropriately) until she figures out what she wants.

    There is nothing wrong with being casual for as long as she wants to be, as long as she’s happy.

    And FTR, it doesn’t sound like she’s having casual sex willy-nilly. It sounds as if she’s had serial lovers and then she or them bailing once her lover wants to “put a label” on their relationship.

    In other words, it sounds like she’s having FWB relationships where the F wants to be more than an F.

  7. 7

    I agree with Karmic Equation.   The letter writer’s current behavior is very common after divorce.   Having married her high school sweetheart, it is only natural for her to want to experiment sexually.   Plus after a serious relationship, most people go through an exploratory phase.   However LW, unlike many other people, recognizes that she doesn’t want anything serious.

    My advice is to ignore her family and not worry what others think.   She should also make sure she has gotten therapy to get over her divorce if she feels she has developed an avoidant relationship style.   As long as she does that, then I think LW will know when she is ready for a real relationship.   It takes a long time to get to that point, some people longer than others, and she doesn’t have to be ready or stick herself in a real relationship when she isn’t ready for one simply to validate the fact that she needs sex in her life.

  8. 8

    My thoughts on it, speaking from a guy’s perspective.
    I never dated, the first time I dated, kissed, held hands (anything) was at 19 yrs old.
    We dated, then got pregnant a couple years later, and married when I was 22, became a father one month before I turned 23.
    We were married for 14 years.   I went through hell, was treated like crap for the 14 years.
    I have 3 children I love dearly, but the 14 years with their mother, was complete hell for me.
    So I left.
    And for me I have no desire at this time to marry, my divorce was finalized just a couple weeks ago…..and it has cost me so much money, but I am free and for once in my life I am happy with where I am at, although I do miss the time with my kids.
    I am in a relationship with someone right now and we enjoy each other very much and have a wonderful time together.   She is also just recently divorced, and is not looking to marry either.

    So we are exclusive and we just enjoy what we have.

    I encourage the writer to do what she likes and enjoy.

    You only have one life to live, better to enjoy it as much as you can.

  9. 9

    Will you know who the father is? I just don’t get it. If you are willing to have sex outside of marriage don’t blame the men who had sex with you. If a guy gets you pregnant and he runs off you can’t really blame him. He will assume he is not the only guy you had casual sex with.

    With many men they say you can’t make a whore into a house wife. You can’t expect a high quality man to take you seriously when you’re having casual sex.

    Tom Leykis talks about a woman he dated. He lived with her, it’s funny how she was emailing this other woman. The guy in the company is a rich man who had sex with her and promised her that she would be the only person to marry. Well they never married however he found out that he married some other woman who didn’t have casual sex with him.

    The reason Tom Leykis knew this is because he read the email. It was his computer and the email was right there up on the screen. I guess she forgot to close the window.

    Btw guys talk about easy women. Guys know which women are willing have cause sex. Personally I am not into it.

    Guys also like to brag who they scored with. Btw I am not calling women whores for having casual sex. It is what it is.

    1. 9.1

        “If a guy gets you pregnant and he runs off you can’t really blame him”

      Who can he blame, then? His condomless penis? Lmao

      1. 9.1.1

        Touche` Noemi!

        Excuse my ignorance, but last time I checked a woman can’t get herself pregnant.

      2. 9.1.2

        Because she is likely having sex with multiple men.   That what he will think.

        1. pat

          This isn’t the Middle Ages, where we don’t fully understand where babies come from and have no way of identifying the father.   We have paternity testing.   And yes, we can absolutely blame a man for bailing on the woman he helped knock up – it’s truly alarming that you don’t think these guys should exercise any personal responsibility.

          Equally alarming is anyone who listens to Tom Leykis for advice on women.   The guy has been divorced FOUR TIMES.   He could probably give you expert advice on how to break up your marriage and how to resent women.   If you want advice on successful relationships, you’re better off asking someone who got it right the first time and is happily married (like Evan).

      3. 9.1.3

        !!! yes he is not accountable for his sperm and his actions in partaking in sex without wedlock – just the woman is responsible for not only her actions, but HIS and his future children – she is all to blame! WOW! how lovely

    2. 9.2

      let those without sin cast the first stone – this is one of the worst comments i’ve seen on here

    3. 9.3

      Oh the horror of not becoming a “housewife”! Thank goodness many of us already own our homes and have the luxury to value true companionship over the mere provisioning of basic necessities. The plight of the successful female is indeed the choice to want an equal.

      1. 9.3.1
        Karmic Equation

        It’s ok to want.

        But most men aren’t looking for THEIR equals.

        They’re looking for sexy, sweet, and supportive.

        Women who are “smart, strong, and successful” can also be “sexy, sweet, and supportive.” Those two sets of qualities aren’t mutually exclusive EXCEPT that most smart, strong, successful women equate being  “sweet and supportive” with being weak or feeding men’s egos, and for some reason, refuse (or perhaps are incapable of) being sweet and supportive of men, even while they can be sweet and supportive of friends and family.

        Away from the office, women don’t need to be “smart, strong, successful”. So save those qualities for work and concentrate on being sexy, sweet, and supportive when away from work.

        It’s so much easier to attract men with our sweetness than our strength.

        Don’t get me wrong, men APPRECIATE our smarts and strength once they get to know us. But don’t delude yourselves into thinking that it was your  smarts and strength that attracted him to you in the first place. (BTW, your bf /husband  WILL tell you that it was your strength and smarts that attracted him if you ask him, but that’s because he’s telling you what he knows you want to hear. So don’t bother asking :))


  10. 10

    Both people have legit reasons for their position. I suggest breaking up and both date other people locally for a year, but leave the door open to possibly getting back together. It will either be “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and willing to compromise, or “out of sight, out of mind.” If either person finds and keeps someone else, it wasn’t meant to be.

    1. 10.1

      but what if she loves both, maybe not quite according to the topic

  11. 11
    Karl R

    I took a look at the math.   18 years old + 9 years of marriage + 2 one-year casual relationships = 29 years old.   And if you subtract out the 2 years she dated her husband before marriage, Candace has been in a relationship (casual, committed or marriage) non-stop since she was 16.

    She has been divorced for 2 years, and she still hasn’t taken a break to be single.


    Candace said:

    “I’m so confused about what I want and if I’m ready for a relationship again.”

    If you want to figure out who you are when you’re single, and figure out what you want when you’re single, you’ll need to spend some time being single.

    That includes casual dating/sex.


    Candace asked:

    “What do you think my sex partner’s opinion is of me since I’m not requiring a commitment from him or any dates or anything along those lines.”

    Why do you care?   You’re not planning to marry your casual sex partners.   At least not right now.


    I seriously don’t understand why women have this concern.   It’s not just you.   My wife and I had this conversation too.   (We had sex after dating for one week … and months before there was any commitment.)

    My wife: “I was kind of mad at myself for sleeping with you so soon.”

    Me: “Why?”

    My wife: “I didn’t want you to think I was that kind of girl.”

    Me: (shrugging) “Well … apparently you are that kind of girl … and I’m that kind of of guy.   So what’s the big deal?”


    Your sex partners aren’t requiring any commitment from you or any dates either.   If any of them hold that against you, they’re hypocrites.   Good riddance.

    1. 11.1

      You so nailed it sire

  12. 12

    In my opinion for a woman to fully enjoy sex and her sexuality she has to date and sleep with at least a few men.   If you have only been with one man that’s all you know.   I would say around age 30 I came into my sexuality and all my partners helped me with that.   She has the right to explore if she needs to do that.   My friends that have divorced both men and women tell me it takes a solid two years to grieve that loss and be ready to date.   During that time many enjoy the company of the opposite sex but simply are not ready for love, their heart is closed.   So yes I’m sure she does have intimacy issues but they are unlikely to be permanent.   They are normal at this point.   Maybe she will meet someone whom she will open up to, maybe not but at least she is being honest.   If the men judge her later down the road those are not the men for her.   Plenty of men do this post divorce.    Maybe she should look for another divorced man?

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