Evan Marc Katz, a respected American women’s dating coach, recently posted an article entitled The End of Friends with Benefits.
The main thread of the piece is that women enter into casual sex relationships with men, even though they aren’t entirely comfortable with it, and ultimately seek a more fulfilling relationship.
It’s an interesting read, and his message to women is clear. If you are not happy with casual sex, stop sleeping with men who aren’t your boyfriend.
Is casual sex really so bad?
I agree with his advice, and feel it applies to men as fell as women.
I’m all for someone engaging in casual sex, whether that be a one night stand or having a fuck buddy or friend with benefits situation going on.
I strongly believe people should be left to engage in whatever form of relationship they want, and not be chastised or vilified for it.
Because we are social creatures, I also believe most people want to find one special person with whom they can have a deeper more intimate relationship with, one that includes sex, but is not defined by it.
If we are all searching for that special person, does it mean we should be unsatisfied by casual sex?
If you are having casual sex for the wrong reasons, then you should perhaps rethink.
You could be doing it to get over an ex, because you are bored in other areas of your life, because you are trying to prove yourself as a man, because you resent the opposite sex and want to hold power over them.
These are all the wrong reasons.
However, if you see it for what it is, and go into it with no expectations, then why not?
Imagine your dream is to visit a beautiful island on the other side of the world, but you don’t have the resources to get there yet. You will one day, but don’t know when.
You still need a holiday, so you book a weekend away to a fun city in a neighbouring country.
Should you cancel the city break because it isn’t the dream island? If visiting the city makes you feel depressed because all you are thinking about is the island, you need to either work on yourself, or not go.
However, if you go in thinking “Sure, it’s not the beautiful island, but I know I’ll have fun and when I get back I can continue on my quest” then go for it.
The same is true of relationships.
The monogamous vs non-monogamous debate
One thing I continually wrestle with is whether women appear less interested in casual sex due to biology OR social conditioning.
One the one hand we have the argument that the optimal mating strategy for men is to impregnate as many women as possible (hence the love of casual sex), but for women it is to find a man who has resources to ensure a baby has every chance of survival growing up (hence the drive to form an emotional connection).
The authors of Sex at Dawn, however, argue that prior to 10,000 years ago we lived in matriarchal tribes, and sex was seen as an important way to build social bonds (I accept there are criticisms levied at the book, hence my flip-flopping. See here and here). Non-monogamous sex was the norm, and actively practised and encouraged by both men and women. If this second hypothesis holds, then the reason women don’t like casual sex is primarily due to conditional influenced by how we have constructed society.
I don’t know which is true, but I’ve met plenty of highly sexual women who want great sex and are not currently in a relationship. Some want it for the wrong reasons, and those I avoid. Others just want sex for no other reason than pleasure, and perhaps a night of connecting at SOME emotional level with a fellow human being.
Investigate your wants and needs
I encourage everyone to do whatever feels right to them.
Think deeply on it. Ask yourself what you really want, and if what you are doing right now sits well with you.
It’s fine to want casual sex whilst also seeking out that partner to spend your life with. Likewise, it’s fine to say no to an offer of sex on a first date if you don’t feel comfortable with that.
What is not acceptable or healthy is to vent at your partner or date for wanting something different to you. You have no right to be angry with them for expressing their views, unless they are deliberately misleading you in some way (e.g. you have specifically agreed to be exclusive and then one partner cheats).
I can’t see the debate about gender differences going away anytime soon, especially when talking about such an emotionally fuelled subject as sex.
So in the meantime, keep living your life authentically, the way you want to live it, whilst being accepting and understanding of how others wish to live theirs.