About the Author

Honey's main interests are online dating, long distance dating, and long term relationships. She met her boyfriend on MySpace and they have been exclusive since their first date over three years ago. Currently they live in Tempe, Arizona. Honey graduated with her PhD in Composition and Rhetoric in May 2009. You can contact Honey via email here or online here.

Defining Casual Sex

So recently in the comments on his blog, Hammer accused me of having something against casual sex, and this got me to thinking.  I mean, I’ve certainly had plenty of it.  I’ve never kept a list of previous partners because I think that’s creepy (like, psycho creepy, ewwwww), but suffice it to say we’re not talking single digits here (though not triple digits, either).  So why do his posts engender an almost physical reaction of disgust, depression, and pity in me?

Well I guess in order to try and figure that out, we’re going to have to define casual sex. 

Traditionally, it seems to me that casual sex has meant sex outside of marriage, and then grown increasingly to mean sex outside of a committed, monogamous relationship.  However, with the entrance of the BF into my life, I think it’s grown to have another meaning for me, which is why I’ve had such a strong reaction to what Hammer writes.

Casual sex is when you treat the other person casually.  In other words, I accept the fact that in order to find someone truly compatible, you are going to have to take the risk and not only have sex outside of marriage, but probably before monogamy has been discussed (though, sweet Jesus, hopefully AFTER your most recent STD panel and the type of protection that has been used in sexual encounters since then has been discussed).  That’s fine.  I get it.  The BF and I slept together on our first date.

However, the older I have gotten, the less I can treat any part of my life casually.  This is not to say that I can’t or don’t have fun.  The BF and I experiment with taking photographs, having sex outside, the possibility that other people might walk in on us, watersports (oh yeah, I promised to post about that, didn’t I?).  We have sex before 7 a.m.  And beyond sex, we love to travel, gamble, smoke pot…we’re fun people.

But to me the term casual means something that you undertake without caring about the other parties involved or investing yourself in a particular result.  And increasingly, that’s something that I just can’t get behind.  It smacks to me of laziness, which is the one character trait that, out of all others, disgusts me and turns me off completely.  I want to live with gusto and purpose and surround myself with people who do the same.  I think that if I’m going to have satisfying sex with someone, then that means that I connect with them on a level beyond the physical.

I have a PhD.  I’m in Mensa.  I define myself by my intellect.  If I don’t have an intellectual connection with you, if I don’t feel like you can challenge me, excite me by getting me to consider a new perspective or otherwise introduce me to things I’ve never thought of, if you’re not intellectual, curious, open to new thoughts and new depths of insight and can’t make me feel the same way, well…

There is no way I am ever going to be even the slightest bit turned on by you.  Ever.

One of the things that I like and respect about Lance is that he’s all about giving value in order to get it.  There’s a saying you are what you eat…in the pickup world, I think you are who you sleep with.  If you don’t know a person well enough to respect them (and respect something specific about them, not just not hold it against them if they’re easy) then you’re not a person who commands respect, either.  If you’re sleeping with someone purely to get your rocks off, and not because you’re trying to factor in how pre-established intellectual and lifestyle compatibilities hold up to your potential sexual compatibility, then one of two things is going on:

  1. You will deeply regret this encounter later in your life, which is sad.
  2. You will never regret this encounter, which is even more sad.

I mean, do you think that if you sleep with a drunk girl in the bathroom at Hard Rock she’s going to look back on the encounter fondly and be grateful for the value that you added to your life?  Or do you think she’s going to feel depressed, and worthless, and get her ass in to the gyno ASAP?  And why on earth would you want to be the guy who made some girl feel that way?

Have I had casual sex, motivated only by my hormones?  Yes.  Certainly.  And I deeply regret every instance of it and feel a little sick inside whenever I think of it.  Have I had “casual sex” where I was testing for potential long-term compatibility even as soon as the first date, even if it didn’t turn out that that compatibility was there?  Yes.  Certainly.  And I am grateful every day that I had sex with the BF on our first date, because I don’t think we would have had a sustainable momentum to get through our first three months of dating (which was long-distance) without it.  But I think there’s a HUGE gulf between the two.  Thoughts?

After you’ve left your intellectual, thought-provoking, and deep insightful comment below, check out the following posts:

  • cellogirl

    So great to hear your comments on this. I’m newly stepping into the world of possible casual sex after years of not being available either because of being married, or being in exclusive relationships.

    I’ve tried venturing with the hook-up quick situation, and at first thought it was my lack of courage that kept me out, then realized it was just boredom. But start with a discussion of Kurt Vonnegut or Ian McEwan? My body warms up and melts into possibility. Add spirit to the mix? Mmmmm, that’s a night to remember.

    Thanks for your clarifying thoughts on the subject. Love it.

  • http://hammer86blog.com Hammer

    You’re very judgmental. Just because you can’t enjoy sex with someone without having some intellectual connection, which sounds like a huge insecurity on your part, doesn’t mean others feel the same way. I’m an Ivy League graduate; 150 IQ, come from a great family, etc. Who are you to judge me?

    Hammer´s last blog post…Textcalation

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Everyone judges everyone, Hammer. I never assumed that my judgment was “The Truth About You.” It’s just how your writing makes me feel. We’re both equally entitled :-)

  • http://simonandcole.com Simon

    You two should throw down.

    Simon\´s last blog post…A Pitcher’s Count: I’m Down 0-2 by Simon

  • Me Thinks

    I understand the point you are making here. I myself have no desire to hook up with someone I have zero connection outside of the sexual. But I find the argument that it is or should be horribly regrettable if you don’t have a challenging intellectual connection with someone to be pretty self-righteous (and the Mensa and PhD mention is a little over the top). Its one thing to say Honey needs that but another to say everyone should or will regret it. True for Honey. Probably not true for most people. Especially for men.

    There has been a lot written about the impact of casual sex on women. This is a good article but there are tons on the web and books about this: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625092023.htm

    Biologically the majority women are affected at least somewhat negatively by casual sex. We are wired to need some kind of value added, how that need is defined is different for everyone. And certainly your values change over time like you stated. So your value need is intellectual stimulation, mine might be something else.

    I get what you are saying though, the larger point is that the flakey chick Hammer was hooking up with probably did regret it later and feel shitty about herself, but hell, judging from their exchange this is probably par for the course and I’d bet she just popped some Xanax and got over it. Hammer, on the other hand, probably just enjoyed it and then went on with the rest of his life. And therein lies the divide.

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Thanks for your insight, Me Thinks. I decided that I came off a little too saintly last week in my posts so I wanted to show an unlikeable side…we all have one, after all!

    It may be mainly women, but it’s certainly not all women, as you say (maybe the girl in the bathroom WAS fine with it…I can’t say for sure). And there are certainly men who aren’t cut out for casual sex. The BF has a stronger reaction to the idea of it than me, actually.

  • http://dadshouseblog.com dadshouse

    I can have casual sex with a woman, and have the experience be full of gusto. Just because the woman and I treat our “relationship” casually does not mean we put anything less into the sex. Some of the best sex I ever had was with a casual booty call partner in a non-committed relationship.

    Maybe the term “casual sex” should really be “sex in a casual relationship”?

    dadshouse’s last blog post..Marisa Tomei – Sexy Stripper, Single Mom

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Well, we did e-mail off site a little, Simon. He told me that I was letting my fear of contracting an STD create insecurity in the moment of casual encounters.

    Well, duh.

  • http://hammer86blog.com Hammer

    That’s true, but a study like that doesn’t factor in the sexual encounters that “don’t count” for most women. The ones where they get so caught up in it that it just happens almost as an outer body experience where they’re just playing out a fantasy. If you’ve ever seen the movie Don Juan DeMarco, the first scene in the restaurant is exactly this (you can youtube it).

    There is absolutely no way Flakey Israeli regretted anything. She had to drive an hour out of her way to meet up with me. That’s not exactly an impulse decision. I had her turned on going to bed the previous night. She also has a major thing for being really submissive in the BDSM sense (which, if you’ve ever read “My Secret Garden” would know usually manifests itself in the fantasies of women who were brought up in a sexually repressed way as a vehicle for getting around the guilt), which very few men know how to give her or have the balls to give her. Let’s just say she was very satisfied.

    Hammer\´s last blog post…Textcalation

  • http://www.used-tire.net Used Tires

    Yup I agree with Honey, everyone as human being judges. I heard from a famous speaker once, that in the first 4 seconds of an encounter you are judged on so many levels.

    Till then,


  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    Well, if you feel confident in that, then my opinion about the issue in general doesn’t apply. Which is fine! :-)

  • http://casualencounters.com/blog/ Janak

    Casual sex is disgusting, sinful, unholy, and fattening. You ought to feel ashamed of yourselves.

    Janak\´s last blog post…Best of 2008 sex humor

  • http://honeyandlance.com Honey

    THAT’S why I keep gaining weight the older I get?! I better get the BF to marry me up so I’m not casual anymore! 😉

  • http://www.thedateabledork.com The Dateable Dork

    Right on, Honey.

    The Dateable Dork\´s last blog post…It’s official: I am awesome

  • http://www.thedateabledork.com The Dateable Dork

    I think I’d define casual sex as sex with someone who you have no intention of ever actually dating. For example, I go on a couple of dates with a guy, we both know it’s not going work out, but we have sex anyway, just for the fun of it. If I’m actually dating someone (whether or not it’s exclusive), I don’t consider that casual sex.

    My opinion of casual sex changed dramatically after I caught an STD from someone I was actually dating. Before, it was all good. Now, I’m worried. Is it really worth the risk to sleep with some dude who I will probably never see again? Probably not!

    Also, no offense Hammer, but I would never, ever, EVER sleep with a random stranger in a men’s bathroom at a bar. That sounds about as dangerous as walking into oncoming traffic.

    The Dateable Dork\´s last blog post…It’s official: I am awesome

  • Jonsi

    I’m a dude more aligned with your thoughts, Honey, but of course I am also a self absorbed, self righteous PhD who prefers the value of an intellectual or visceral emotional connection. People who feel that way aren’t prudes or inhibited. Most have arrived there after sexual experiences where that greater value was lacking.

    Men get into pickup for different reasons with different goals. Some want to date models, some want to sleep with 3 girls at a time, some want to pick up a girl at a club and fuck her that night and some would rather go to an art walk and talk over some wine and fuck after several dates. You do not have more value if you prefer and are successful at one of those than someone who has different goals or preferences.

    I want to fuck someone and her to feel that the reason we are sleeping together is because there is something about her that I find valuable and compelling. If that criteria is met, I don’t believe the sex is casual, because my interest in who she is as a woman is not casual, even if I have little or no intention of a relationship.

    For me, casual sex in the way you describe is neutral. I’ll do it, but it adds no value, though I do recognize that it tends to occur when I’m actively putting myself in social situations. So I do get value from the experience, but not necessarily from the outcome.

  • http://www.awakeningfromthedream.blogspot.com Erika

    What synchronicity, we just had a big discussion about this on my blog: http://awakeningfromthedream.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-early-to-have-sex-challenging.html

    I’m with you … casual sex feels icky to me. I probably would be more willing to have sex earlier if I was certain that the relationship would become long-term. I haven’t always been able to tell ahead of time though.

    I’d love to connect with you more. We seem to be among very few female bloggers in this community.


    Erika\´s last blog post…Postscript to the "Saying No" Article

  • http://20-forty.com lisaq

    I completely agree with pretty much everything you’ve said Honey. Casual sex is really something that I know just doesn’t work for me. That’s not saying I’ve never had it or even that I’ve never enjoyed it. But mostly, it leaves me feeling empty. I think you summed it well for me when you said, “Casual sex is when you treat the other person casually.”

  • Me Thinks

    Sexual encounters that “don’t count”? It all counts. Some more than others. Maybe they are doing it wrong? LOL.

    And just because she was playing out a fantasy doesn’t mean she would never have regret later.

    Seems there is a disagreement on how it is defined. I would define casual sex as getting it on when you are not in a relationship. Nothing is wrong with it but I think a lot of people do not enjoy it, the majority of those people are women and there is a biological reason for that, our bodies are wired differently.

  • http://casualencounters.com/blog/ Janak

    Just kidding: it’s the bomb! You get all the fun and none of the gross, trappy, girly emotional stuff. Get squicking, kids.

    Janak\´s last blog post…Best of 2008 sex humor

  • http://honeyandlance.com Lance

    Great discussion. Honey, it sounds to me like you’re not into “dirty hookups,” which is what I’d term a bathroom lay at a club. I’m not super into that, but I’d still do it if it were the right opportunity. I definitely wouldn’t get into a situation where me fucking some chick made her feel bad afterwards.

    I never use the term casual sex because there’s nothing really casual about it. I’m totally into fuck buddies, friend sex, having sex while just dating, and hell, drunken hookup sex at a bar or party.

  • http://www.itsaboutmakingbabies.com/ Brad K.

    Hammer, when Honey mentions treating your partner as “casual”, that doesn’t apply to all your posts. From what I see, you are living out a porn lifestyle, whereas other people are living lives that happen to have sex in them.

    There is a market for you and what you write. The question I ask, is “does it make better babies?” If your partner wouldn’t be a good life-mate prospect, and co-parent prospect, how can you afford to spend the time with them?

    Being with someone unsuitable for a life-mate makes you unavailable for someone that might be.

    Brad K.´s last blog post…The family, the child, and the culture of the home