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Casual Sex – Can it Work?

30 January 2014 9 comments

Back in 1995 I started up a premium rate phone dating business that quickly morphed into an adult phone entertainment business turning over $1.5 million a month in Australia. One of the most popular ads we ran in local newspaper personal's was 'Hot horny housewives seek casual daytime sex'. At the time I never dreamed how popular this simple 3 line ad would be. In fact the ad was so successful we ran it in many national adult magazines with pictures of 'hot housewives'. There were a lot more people seeking casual sex compared to those seeking romance!

Can it work?Can it work?

These day's websites like,, and specialize in assisting adults find casual sex, whether it be swinging couples or sexy singles. And websites like these have almost killed off premium rate phone dating services.

Casual sex is often called No Strings Attached (NSA) Sex. It's because there's an expectation that the sex is totally commitment free.

The prevalence of casual sex amongst teenagers and young adults seems to be growing at an increasing rate. Maybe it's in part due to technological changes like smart phones (think sexting) and the Internet. It's also possibly due to the greater consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs...or maybe it's just a function of changing cultural attitudes in western societies. We all know however that casual sex is not just the domain of teenagers and young adults. Many adults today engage in casual sex!

A one night stand is considered casual sex, but what about sex with the same person once a month or every few weeks over a period of say a year or two. Is it still deemed casual sex or has it crossed the blurred lines of becoming a relationship? When does casual sex become a relationship? Maybe it's after having sex two or three times, or maybe it's after there's talk of rules like exclusivity where neither party is allowed to have sex with anyone else? Usually casual sex would mean there are neither rules nor commitments. If that's the case then I suppose, in theory, casual sex with the same partner could be long term. Practically however I think we'd all agree that this is simply not possible.

Why do some people love casual sex? This sounds an easy question however it's quite complex. Many people when they first come out of a long term relationship don't have the head space or the desire for emotional commitment however they want sex so they're comfortable with casual sex for a while. Then there are hard working professionals who have little time for the dating scene or for a relationship (which we all know can be demanding sometimes). Casual sex may make sense in this situation.

Swingers and those who indulge in threesomes are really just having casual sex, although I recognize these 'liaisons' can develop into some type of relationship.

And what about wandering husbands, or horny housewives, who don't get enough at home? Affairs start off as casual sex however they often develop into a fully fledged relationship. If they continued as nothing more than casual sex then they possibly wouldn't be as destructive or disruptive to marriages (note, I don't advocate affairs).

Can women really engage in casual sex long term, devoid of any emotional connection? Men have often complained to me that they unwittingly ended up in a problematic and resentful relationship with a woman even after they were honest enough upfront in telling them that they only wanted casual sex.

Casual liaisons are not without their pitfalls and problems! Jealousy issues can arise if one finds out the other is also having casual sex with others. Unprotected casual sex has the potential for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or even unwanted pregnancies. The lack of 'availability' of booty call potentials can be a problem. Because there is no commitment casual sex partners can change their mind at the last minute leaving the other person sexually frustrated. Of course it's generally the case that, as Dr Hook sang in one of their hits, "girls can get it anytime they want". A woman's list of booty call potentials is generally longer than a man's!

I suppose one of the pitfalls of having continued casual sex is that you might discontinue the search for a serious long term relationship (which in some instances may be fine anyway). It could be the case that someone simply engages in casual sex whilst they stay on the lookout for the 'right' relationship partner. Adults need sex, but finding Mr or Mrs Right can take what seems like an eternity. In the interim they often need an outlet (some would debate self loving is a better alternative to casual sex).

Most men would be happy to have casual sex with a woman long term without the emotional commitment and without the perceived drama of a relationship (we're hopeless sometimes). This normally can't work for a woman. Similarly most men could happily have emotional free sex with women they deem friends. The term 'friends with benefits' often works more so for men than women although some women like to adopt this approach from time to time. At the end of the day we all like, and need, some affection, attention and pleasuring.

If men want, or need, sex desperately (and they're not in a relationship) should they consider using an escort service? It's certainly one way to avoid the pitfalls of casual sex and it's great for time management. I personally think it's a good idea. It's not that easy for men to pick up women at a bar, or wherever, for NSA sex. Men generally need a booty list (regularly updated as women's situations, and desire for non-committal sex, can change quickly).

Casual sex isn't for everyone! Many people are against the idea for religious, moral or other reasons. Whilst I don't necessarily advocate it, I believe in some instances casual sex can work for some people. And here are my tips on how it might work:

  • Understand it for what it is – Remember it's just casual sex. There are pitfalls and there is a risk you will suffer emotionally. Women can struggle with thoughts of being used as nothing more than a sex object and this can create emotional issues from hating or distrusting men to even having body image negativity. Unfortunately casual sex means that effectively both parties are merely sex objects. You need to have that open and frank discussion before you both engage in sex ie. that it probably won't ever being anything more. I suppose the problem is that adults are often disingenuous when they're about to jump into bed with someone for the first time– they often tell them what they want to hear rather than the truth. I'm sure most guys wouldn't want to tell a woman up front that they're only looking for casual no strings attached sex – so inevitably they tell them what they want to hear (which is more along the lines that they see a future rather than a relationship that might be only bound for the bedroom).
  • Remember the need for safe sex – No one needs an unwanted pregnancy or an STD. Whilst using condoms isn't always welcomed it's mandatory with casual sex. The fact that you're not in a committed relationship with your sexual 'partner' means they will, and do, tell you anything ie. that you're the only one they're having sex with and they're disease free. Many sexually transmitted diseases have no visible symptoms. Often people who engage in casual sex are also having sex with a number of other people. Obviously the risk of catching an STD is heightened in this case. You need to protect yourself so insist on safe sex.
  • Don't put up with dramas or issues – Given it's a casual arrangement there is no need to put up with what you otherwise would in a relationship. Remember you only want the benefits and not the burdens. You want the time you spend together to be all about you, not about their problems or their bad day at work or anything else. It's your time to be a little bit selfish!
  • Mutual pleasure and respect – Men particularly need to show respect and not treat a woman any other way than a lady. This way they have half a chance of getting another call back (booty call). Remember this can only work if you're passionate and you're both trying to pleasure each other as well as yourselves. No one really wants mechanical self centered sex (certainly not a second time anyway).
  • Be wary of 'after sex' talk – Again remember this is casual sex and nothing more. If you're really looking for something more then go ahead and speak freely. If not then cut the small talk afterwards and either just discuss the sexual experience or maybe how you could make it better next time. Perhaps even discuss sexual fantasies and what else you'd like to do with each other and/or other people. Obviously the risk here is that you start developing feelings for the other person - which is totally cool if that's what you want (in contrast to NSA sex).
  • Swingers and those that participate in threesomes – Generally swingers don't end up in relationships with other couples. Similarly 'third wheels' in threesomes generally don't end up in a relationship with a couple. In saying that I have seen swingers develop friendships and relationships with other couples and I've also seen 'third wheels' become more involved with a couple. There are certainly ambiguities and blurred lines when it comes to defining the boundaries of just sex versus a relationship when it comes to those who indulge in swinging, threesomes and moresomes. I personally don't see any problem with relationships developing in these situations providing they don't adversely impact the relationship of the couple, or couples, involved.
  • Dinners and dates outside of the bedroom – Anyone who believes they're simply having NSA sex but goes on dates with that person is kidding themselves that it's just casual. The more they talk about themselves and listen to the other person talk about non sexual things the more they're heading down the path of developing feelings and an emotional connection. This is fine if they're comfortable with the transition from what they currently think they have together to a relationship, however if it's not a relationship they want then they should forget about dates outside of the bedroom.
  • Don't buy each other gifts – I'm sure a few men have fallen into the trap of thinking they're just having casual sex with a woman but then they start sending her flowers or buying her gifts like handbags, dresses etc. The trap is they start falling for her! Again that's fine if that's what they want – but if they only want casual sex then I suggest they only buy her lingerie, sex toys, satin sheets or anything else to heighten their sexual adventures.
  • Be wary of emotional entrapment – I think this really applies to men more than women. As a general rule women don't want casual sex. Of course they want great sex but normally they want it accompanied with affection, love, passion, romance etc (most men will sigh at this point). Adults will play all sorts of games (sometimes childish) to get want they want – even to the point of letting the other person believe it's just casual sex they want when the reality is they want more. And I'm sure many men started having casual sex with a woman only to realise a few months later that they were in a relationship.
  • Can it be long term? – I don't really know however the longer someone engages in casual sex with the same person the closer they become to crossing over into some form of a relationship. I've met couples for instance who will only play with another couple once for fear of developing an emotional connection or to avoid jealousy issues.
  • Sleeping over – If there was a general rule I think it'd be that casual sex partners shouldn't sleep at each other's homes although I can see how this rule could be easily broken. No one likes rolling out of bed after a great sex session and putting their clothes back on to go home. Sleeping at a hotel together might be fine but again if it's too often and a pattern emerges you're probably heading down the relationship road.
  • Sexual fantasies – I do have male friends who over the years have confided in me that they're having casual sex outside of their marriage in order to live out their sexual fantasies. Obviously in the first instance I counsel them to start being honest with their partner about their fantasies but I usually find their response is that they either can't be honest or when they have been its caused issues within their marriage. I certainly don't advocate sex outsider a relationship or marriage unless it's been discussed and mutually agreed. Open relationships can work for some couples.

I firmly believe the best sex someone can have is with their partner whom they've been in a committed relationship long enough to develop an emotional connection and long enough to understand what turns them on and what pushes their buttons. These important factors are usually missing in casual sex situations but I recognise that casual sex can be exciting and it can work for some people depending upon where they're at in life.

I'm no expert on casual sex so if you have any comments please share them with me and other readers. And if you have any ideas on what I can post about please let me know.

Delivering passion and pleasure.


Anon 30 January 2014 at 8:32 pm
I love reading your blogs Mal, they are very insightful, honest and educating, much like your good self. Thank you !
Kate 30 January 2014 at 8:51 pm
Loving your blogs Mal! Interesting and many a great table debate we have had! I've loved this one as its given me a better idea of the definitions of casual/booty and just what really it is all about. I've been with my partner for 20 years and while we have fun I've always wondered just what I could be missing. Reading your blogs gives me this insight!
Em 31 January 2014 at 5:23 am
Hi Mal, very interesting post!! I'm now in a long term relationship with my partner (and getting married in 2 weeks!) but your post reminded me of my single days and early 20s. I was in, as it was defined to me by the guy, a NSA arrangement. I was fine with this. The guy was a LOT older and I wasn't really after anything serious with him. Reading your post made me think back to the dynamics if the arrangement with fresh (and a much more mature) perspective. although HE claimed it was "just sex between friends", there were more dates and time spent together OUTSIDE of the bedroom. this naturally led me to develop feelings as the lines were blurred and the whole arrangement, in substance, felt more like bf/gf. needless to say, drama ensued, especially after I found out I wasn't his only "friend". I guess what I'm saying is that it's not always the females who blur the lines and cause the dramas. as you say I your post, both parties need to be super honest and clear not only with each other, but with themselves, about what the arrangement is really all about.
Anon 31 January 2014 at 7:26 am
Women are perfectly capable of having casual sex long term. I have had a few casual partners that have lasted for over 6 years and I have absolutely no desire to commit to them. We have conversations, sleepovers happen, casual meals happen. Plus, you can have an emotional connection without wanting to have a relationship with a person!! As long as there is respect and honesty (and of course great sex) it is totally possible to be fond of someone without wanting to make it serious.Also, just because a woman might have a longer list of potentials, it doesn't mean that they are quality potentials!
Danni 31 January 2014 at 10:15 am
This is the biggest load of codswallop! As a woman I am VERY capable of managing ongoing NSA partners without wanting relationships with them! The way you have written this article reminds me strongly of the bad old days when "the little woman" was purely driven by her "hysterical emotions" and therefor needed a "big strong man to take her in hand". For Heaven's sake! I have currently got 4 guys I have enjoyed ten years worth of NSA with and one budding relationship where sex hasn't happened yet. Talking with other women of my generation I am a long way from an anomaly!
Just me 31 January 2014 at 6:44 pm
HiI must agree with Danni. I too have several NSA men in my life, the only difference I see in my situation is that they all know absolutely everything about my situation and each other.If anyone has emotional issues it is in most cases of the the men :-)Men seem to want a NSA partner but are mostly unable to sustain it for any great length of time. It's seems a woman who will willing, wanting and able to offer NSA sex is attractive until bedded, then becomes a challenge. Now I have experienced this from men in their twenties right through to their sixties so if anyone knows a sure fire way to maintain long tern NSA I would be happy to know.Mal, as always a great readThanks
Kate 31 January 2014 at 9:14 pm
Casual sex with the same guy for I've forgotten how many years. 5? More? There are rules - we don't use condoms and he does use them with any others as he would not take the risk of infecting his wife (who came along part way through this) or myself. I do want a long term settled relationship now but haven't found the right man and enjoy what I have but don't want more from him. I have some great sex with a friend and benefits of sex with someone who knows me and my body well. You can't always pigeon hole things. All people are different.
Danni 6 February 2014 at 7:31 pm
Hi :-) just thought I'd let you know. My guys all know about each other and we have had dinners etc together as well. I only believe (for myself and my life) in open and honest non monogamy. And I include NSA in that.Cheers Danni
anne 4 March 2014 at 7:09 pm
Women can have causal sex & not get involved. Can men? I sure some can. Be very careful getting having casual sex with someone you are fairly close friends with &Even though they say no strings attached. I was in a sexual no string relationship for about 18mth some years ago with a close friend When I fond a meaningful relationship and ended the casual sex relationship he was very jealous and I realised he was quit emotionally attached That sadly ended the friendship. So yes it was good while it lasted but was 18mths great sex worth losing a good friend over?? I'm not sure.
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