Yesterday, I started writing a response to this rather fabulous post by Brute Reason, and ended up scrapping it. Instead of it reading like an interesting response, it wound up reading like my genital resume. And I think it’s fair to say that nobody wants to know me in that kind of detail. However, this morning I came up with a different approach, because I really think the article raises a good point and want to contribute in whatever small way I can to promoting it, and the conversation.
The way that the media report on casual sex is funny. The tone is usually one of either a prim, Conservative person amazed that OMG PPL R HAVIN SECHS or a person who has casual sex talking about how awesome it is that they have casual sex. It’s often, as Brute Reason’s article points out, focussed on a single, white, affluent, intelligent, beautiful, anonymous woman of University age who simply doesn’t have time in the hurly burly of her life to engage in relationships and courtships, so instead focusses on need fulfillment. And honestly, that’s sort of creepy, when you really think about it. People of all ages and walks of life have had casual sex, but we only hear from one type of them.
Well, I’m one of them. Or at least I was when I was single. And I think we can all agree, I’m no white, affluent, intelligent, beautiful, anonymous woman of University age. I’m white, admittedly, anything but affluent, somewhat intelligent, sort of chud-like in appearance, old as the hills and male. Not really the different demographic that the article is commenting on, but a bit different for sure. So here’s how I sit on the subject:
Personally, I prefer sex within the confines of a monogamous relationship. I’m not good at sharesies, and I think that the more you know a person and care about them, the better the sex can be. I’m not talking just about tender love making while singing Ave Maria in her ear either, I mean all the sex there is under the sun. The more you know your partner physically and mentally, the better you can get at sexifying their sex parts. If you disagree with that, then I think you’re doing it wrong. You certainly can have repeated casual sexual encounters with someone, but I’m still of the opinion (and it is ONLY opinion) that it’s better when you are in tune in a romantic way.
But a boy needs sex. When my divorce ended, I became the Pictionary definition of stupid. I had this terrified brain telling me that I would NEVER EVER FIND LOVE AGAIN, which is patently ridiculous, but I was going through a bunch of stuff and it’s understandable that my brain was pickin’ on me. At that point in my life, I had never had casual sex, and my brain was wired to think that sex and relationships were tied together, even though I logically knew it wasn’t. So the ole’ biology was working against me, screaming in my head that I had to find that special someone as soon as was humanly possible.
As you can imagine, it didn’t go so well. At least two wonderful people fell victim to my insecurities as I attempted to leap headfirst into romance. In both cases, I came on way too strong and frightened them off. Not cool, Jim. Not cool at all.
And then one night a friend of mine came over. I hadn’t intended on anything, but we wound up having casual sex. And at that moment, it was like my head cleared and I could see clearly again. Things fell into perspective. I had been so tied up in knots trying to figure out how to get a relationship that it never occurred to me that what I really needed was plain old sex, and that panic would dissipate.
Casual sex became a method by which I could keep my head clear on the topic of relationships. Clearly, that is what I wanted and eventually found, but when I was between relationships, I could maintain an even keel and not get all stupid and panicky.
I’ve known lots of people who enjoyed casual sex, both inside and outside relationships. One notable couple that I knew a few years ago were swingers; they loved one another and had a life together, but both were completely good with going elsewhere for sexual experience. They were in their fifties and were successful, happy people who had a regular and wild sex life, but both were happy to dabble outside. They were honest with each other, and from what I understand were not interested in relationships outside the marriage. They just enjoyed casual sex.
We’ve definitely got a bit of a societal taboo around casual sex. It’s permissable for a young, upwardly mobile woman to engage in casual sex to satisfy her needs without the distraction of a relationship (and even then, it’s viewed almost like a sociological experiment), but for other women it still holds with it the stigma of slutcraft. Men, by contract, are allowed to do as they please. I must say, I found it very strange to witness people’s reactions. I never received any snide bullshit for having casual sex, but I often heard snide comments being made about the person I had had sex with, often from people who had also had casual sex with the person. I found that off-putting.
If the women I had sex with were sluts, then so was I. I was content to have meaningless sexual experiences with people outside the confines of a committed and lasting relationship when the mood suited me. I was discriminating in my tastes, of course, but nowhere near as discriminating as if I were looking for a relationship. It was just sex, so I suppose that makes me a slut. Or, at present, a reformed slut.
I don’t miss casual sex. While I certainly find other women attractive, I find my private fantasies filled to bursting with The Lovely Lady. I would gladly never have casual sex again if it meant that she and I could grow old together, dying in one another’s arms in our sleep. Of course, if she dies before me, I’ll tomcat around some more (as I would hope she would) and if I’m too old to tomcat, there’s always hookers. But I’d rather grow old with her.