Casual sex refers to any sexual activity where those involved do not define it as romantic and where one does not view their sexual partner as a long-term or primary partner, or boyfriend. Other related terms include:
- No strings attached fun
- Fuck buddy
- One night stands
- Friends with benefits
- Anonymous sex
It can be a once-off encounter (as in a one night stand) or can be a spoken or unspoken agreement that can stretch over a longer period of time (as in fuck buddies). But in most instances, casual sex is without any long-term commitment, and can be with little or no romantic attachment.
Many find this appealing because of the excitement it offers. Others enjoy the idea of ‘uncomplicated fun’. And then there are those that find sexual variety very appealing. However, for most, it only offers a brief form of connection, which does not satisfy an underlying human desire for an ongoing emotional and physical connection. For them, feelings of emptiness and shame surface soon after the sexual encounter is over.
Online dating services have become a popular place to meet others and can be used to find suitable partners for casual sex, or it may follow a night out clubbing or chilling at a bar. In the latter contexts alcohol and drugs (look: Sexual Health > Alcohol and Substance Intake) will most likely be available. If so, remember that overindulgence in alcohol or drugs can lead to:
- an impairment in judgment,
- a decrease in inhibitions,
- an increase in sexual risk-taking,
- an increase in number of sexual partners, and
- an increase in the odds of engaging in unprotected sex.
Try to use substances responsibly. Know your limits in order to avoid making choices you wouldn’t otherwise make. Ask your best friend to look out for you. It is also very important to note that although exciting for many, casual sex does pose considerable risk because (1) the sexual histories of either sexual partner are often not known to each other (especially if a once-off encounter), and (2) because casual sex often implies having had a higher number of sexual partners (as in the case of hook-ups or one night stands). Know the risks and make the right choices for yourself (look: Safety Zone).