Robin Juliet explains how to have a healthy and honest NSA relationship without guilt or heartbreak
“That’s exactly what I want.” Emails like this from complete strangers pour in like a torrent sometimes. Young gangster thugs. Married guys. Men old enough to be my father. Cubs looking for their cougar. Out of town salesmen who’ve been on the road for years. Lonely singles. They express how a purely sexual relationship with the right woman would be a dream come true for them. They cannot believe their luck in finding me. Where have I been all their life? They wonder. Obviously, no two men are alike, but for those in the same place I am, my personal ads seem to ignite something in particular types of men.
My personal ads are pretty much all the same: I’m a sexually charged woman in my 40’s interested in a casual, no-strings-attached regular lover. I want to be able to get along in and out of the bedroom. A drink out here and there would be an ideal complement to a relationship that is more sexual than a friend but less constricting than a traditional boyfriend/girlfriend. I also flash my boobs.
Sometimes, the men come in droves. The ding, ding, ding from emails hitting my inbox become a slot machine jackpot. The majority of my potential suitors do not meet my standards—too young, too old, too skinny, too hairy, too creepy—but every time I place an ad, there are a few nuggets of gold.
Initiating a Casual Sexual Relationship
The men who stand out from the pack respond to my personal ad with warmth, authenticity and confidence. They are not the ones who say, “Hey baby! I am here to rock your world!” Rather, they are the guys who explain what appeals to them about a casual sexual relationship. They seem to be at least moderately attractive, and they are willing to go at my pace. For me, this means first meeting in public for a drink or a coffee to see if we hit it off.
I had a lover who answered one of my ads about a year ago. He told me his secret for these kinds of relationships is to never mention the sex first. He waits for the woman. “I don’t care if she’s pawing me up and down, I don’t open up the conversation about sex.” From my perspective, this approach works nicely because it gives me a chance to make up my mind about the situation and move forward within my comfort zone. There’s nothing worse than feeling as if I’m being pressured into sex. Backing off long enough for the woman to make the first move helps ease that tension.
Nurturing a Casual Sexual Relationship
I have two friends who have been lovers for years. They meet regularly for sex, spend the night together, and occasionally meet for a few drinks. When I ask them how they make it work, they explain that they respect each other as people and also respect the relationship for what it is. “I like it that our relationship is casual and there’s no pressure to change it,” my female friend confides. “If I want to start dating in earnest, I would tell him that I need a break, but I don’t want that right now. This is a good arrangement.”
Her lover concurs: “Sometimes, I worry that she’s too invested or interested in more, but every time I ask her she says that she’s good with the way it is. It’s nice that we can talk about it—check in to make sure we’re still okay with how things are going.”
Whether it is no-strings-attached sex, fuck buddies, or friends-with-benefits, the key to keeping the casual sexual relationship alive is acknowledging that it is, indeed, a relationship. I had a lover who wouldn’t respond to my texts when I invited him over for a rendezvous. He told me that he figured his silence got the point across. It most definitely did: he didn’t respect me. After I pointed out the flaw in his logic, he later declined invitations with a polite, but firm “Not tonight, sorry” instead of just ignoring me. That small tweak made all of the difference, and we were able to continue enjoying each other’s company for another six months.
Establishing boundaries and priorities may sound like a lot of effort for casual sex, but it pays off if you are sexually compatible and hope to continue seeing each other regularly. I had a friend-with-benefits relationship for a few years where we both insisted that the friendship had to take priority over the sex. For us, that meant that we preferred to meet in public to talk and flirt before heading to my apartment to fall into bed together. Adding a public element to the equation kept the friendship intact. Even though we are no longer lovers, we are still friends to this day.
Ending a Casual Sexual Relationship
Casual sexual relationships are notoriously short-lived. One of you falls in love with someone else. Jealousy creeps in and puts a strangle hold on what you share. A lover begins to feel used. While these scenarios cannot be avoided, they can be handled with honesty, openness and integrity.
“I just don’t want to have sex with her anymore, what can I say?”
“I’m ready to be in an exclusive relationship now, how do I tell him it’s over?”
“I don’t want to hurt her feelings.”
“I don’t want to make it uncomfortable when we run into each other.”
Just as you might suspect, being honest about your feelings is the best policy when ending a casual sexual relationship. The slow-fade is demoralizing. The blow-up is overly dramatic. The heart-to-heart is unnecessary.
While shooting off a quick text that says: We’re done. Good-bye, is not what I’m advocating here, being straightforward is. Depending on how you typically communicate—email or phone—succinctly thank your lover, state your needs, and wish him or her the best. Of course, there are degrees, but being direct without coming off as cold is the balance I think that works best.
Finding a lover who is “exactly what you want” takes some getting used to. Regular casual sex with the same partner is more than the physical bonds of your bodies. There are emotional connections as well. If you decide to engage in an ongoing casual sexual relationship, make sure the lines of communication are open and the intent is absolutely clear.
Sex—yes, even casual sex—can be a wonderful gateway to personal exploration where you lose your inhibitions and live out fantasies you never thought possible. Treating each other well, respecting the relationship, and being true to your needs (as well as your lover’s needs) keeps those doors open.
image credit: Flickr/je@n