Recently, I realized I’d never had casual sex.
Let me clarify: I’ve had a lot of sex with people I didn’t have an intimate or committed relationship with. At the time, I would have called it casual. But something nagged at me. Most of those experiences felt unfulfilling, often boundary-violating, and left me emotionally hungry. In short, I just didn’t feel casual about it.
I’m far from the only one who’s struggled with the notion of casual sex. “It’s really, really difficult for me to have casual sex, because there’s nothing casual to me about experiencing intimacy with someone,” says Sexuality Doula and author Ev’Yan Whitney. When they were in their 20s, they felt bad about this lack of desire for casual sex.
These days, Whitney has come to celebrate what they actually want — not what society has told her to want. As a Sexuality Doula, she helps others affirm their own needs and desires, as well.* “There’s something really powerful about staking claim into what you want,” Whitney says. That includes your desire (or lack thereof) for sex outside of committed relationships.
Casual sex can be fraught for many of us. It requires us to examine our true intimacy needs while sorting through contradictory societal messages. Regardless of your sexuality or relationship status, this process of reflection can help bring you closer to your most committed sexual partner — yourself.