Does hook up culture have to suck?

Casual ≠ treating someone casually.

Just because someone you're casual with voices a need/desire/expectation that would cause you to put in more effort than just showing up with your genitals, doesn't mean they are crazy/too serious/drama/trying to date you. 

We see this language a lot of dating app profiles: 'no drama', 'looking for someone easy going', 'not here to be your boyfriend'. This implies that there is a competition of needs that we have assigned as only valid in relationships and needs that are acceptable in relationships. It's not so easy - figure out what affirms both of you and if you aren't on the same page or willing to be, move along. 

Traditionally, cis men's profiles contain a lot of this language because patriarchy has shaped masculinity with whorephobia, slut shaming and sexual objectification of sexual partners. We can do better, right?

It means they have the confidence to create the conditions to maximize their pleasure too. 

This is good news! You'd don't have to guess, 'play games' or feel uneasy that there's information that you're missing. This makes consent conversations more authentic. It makes conversations about desires, fantasies and sexy activities more likely to satisfy everyone's needs. It also allows both of you to be informed about the emotional and physical conditions you need to co-create to be safe. This doesn't mean you're meeting parents, buying joint birthday gifts or even swapping last names - it means you're leading with your pleasure instead of your genitals. 

 

Thank them for communicating their emotional or physical needs.

It is really hard and often scary to say what we want, need and desire.  We are all operating in toxic ways under patriarchy with our sexual communication.

Men are expected to live up to toxic masculine standards that discourage communication and to see sex as one-dimensional and penis-centric. Women have been socialized to communicate in ways that are non-threatening, have often faced gas-lighting and intimidation or coercion when they do speak about their needs.  Thank you the person for communicating their needs. Empathy is hot as fuck and it gives you permission to speak up about your needs too.

Then take some time to reflect on whether you want to meet this need, whether you have the emotional or physical resources to meet this need and how this impacts your boundaries.

You might not like their needs or have no interest in meeting their needs - and that is ok! Communication doesn't mean obligation. Do you want to meet this need? Does it cross a boundary of yours? Does it involve more time or energy? Does it feel too vulnerable?

What defines casual sex isn't the casual treatment of people, it's the agreement that the only expectations are mutual respect.

Example of needs that respect someone else's humanity:

  • Hey, I am down for casual sex. What makes sex hot for me is someone who is sexually likeminded and that I enjoy their personality. What kinds of sexy and non-sexy things are you into?
  • That's sexy you're feeling horny for coming over tonight, but I'm not comfortable with that. I'd want to video chat and get a sense of our vibe, and then set up a night to hang out. What do you think about that?
  • I had a super sexy time with you and am down to do it again sometime. I'm not great in keeping in touch, but if you're cool with chatting in a couple of weeks and seeing where we are at?
  • I have been texting a lot because it's sexy for me to build up chemistry before we meet up, but I get that can be a lot. How about I save the sexting for the day of or the night before to get us in a sexy headspace?

Casual sex can include emotions but not an emotional investment. 

Casual sex can be hotter if people are likeminded and enjoy each other's company.  The terms and conditions of casual sex can be re-negotiated at any time. 

Examples:

I'm having a great time with you, I want to check in to make sure we're still on the same page about what we need and want out of hanging out together. 

Can I tell you something that would make me more comfortable during sex? I would really like to cuddle after because it helps me come down from all our hottness and return to normal. 

Casual sex doesn't automatically mean:
  • You don't have care about the other person's pleasure
  • You ignore the needs for someone to feel safe.
  • You get to treat them like a fuck sock* (*unless that's hot for both of you.)

None of these things eliminates the possibilities of quickies or one-night stands or friends with benefits. It actually makes things hotter when you have enough information to confidently create conditions for someone's pleasure and your own. Knowing how to make your partner feel desires, safe and free to be themselves is a skill - and you don't have to save it for a long-term relationship. 

Lots of casual sex ends up feeling unsatisfying because we are intentionally blocking out 'feelings' for fear that we will become 'attached' to someone. If that happens, you can learn to navigate that. You can also learn to reclaim those feelings as expressions of your own eroticism - so that you attach to all the pleasure possibilities YOU bring and that no one can take from you. Things like kink, BDSM and sensuality are full of feelings - emotions infuse our erotic imagination and in turn, our bodies! Think about what happens in your body when you think of something sexy.....just rubbing your crotch on a sofa while thinking about your laundry list probably isn't getting you off. Unless you have a laundry fetish. 

Let's stop calling it casual sex if really we are just masturbating using another person. 

Your pleasure matters.

Consent isn't just about saying no, it's about owning our yesses too. Think about what makes for a satisfying sexual experience for you. Ask yourself

  • What you need to feel sexy?
  • What feels good for you?
  • What emotional and physical safety conditions need to be present?
  • How do you want to feel before, during and after this experience?

The answers to these questions will help you hone in on when situations are less than optimal for your pleasure. You can then make informed-decisions for yourself. For many of us, this is really tough - and saying yes isn't the same as consent. Our communication about our needs gets murky from people pleasing, going along to get a long, trauma and previous sexual partners that bullied, coerced or gaslit us into serving their sexual needs instead of our own. It can help give you a feeling of groundedness to check in with yourself about your needs from the start of the conversation - do you feel this person is interested in your needs as much as their own?

What you need isn't too much or unreasonable, but it may not be what is available.
You deserve to receive pleasure in ways that feel emotionally and physically safe, full and rich. It's ok to ask for what you want. It's also ok to feel disappointed when those needs can't or won't be met. You have choices on how to respond to that observation. You get to prioritize your pleasure mindfully. 

Over time, raising your standards helps you create trust in yourself. You'll benefit from feeling like you belong in your sexual experiences in safe and fulfilling ways. You'll be an empathetic partner to others. You'll have more fun and less focus on performing for others benefit!

Raise your standards.

Want to work on your sexual confidence skills? Book an online, one-on-one Pleasure Coaching Session with Luna or take a confidence building webinar. 

 

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