Is Casual Sex Ever Casual?


“I really want you to leave, but I don’t know what to say without being a dick”. And so is the opening scene of Bridesmaids with what most of us know as the booty call. Casual sex isn’t something new. But I must admit it is getting kind of old. I cringed as I watched Annie (Kristen Wiig) pretend like she wasn’t bothered by her bonk buddy’s nonchalance. Not because I think I’m better than her but because I’ve been there. It might start off as something fun and light but it wrecks havoc with your self esteem. Especially for women. Well at least most women I know. It’s not fun or empowering to be a masturbation device. Having a one night stand should be exactly that – one night. Not two. Or three. Or better yet avoid them all together unless the object of your affection is extremely good looking but has the personality of a neglected pot plant.

Most women have been led to believe that we can have sex like men. And perhaps some of us can. Good for you. But for most of us it’s a little more tricky. We go into it thinking we can have sex like men and it works, well, the first time at least. Going back for seconds is where it becomes high risk behaviour. Generally, the guys don’t care – in their mind they’re thinking “sweet, I don’t have to have a relationship and this chick is so cool”. Newflash. You’re right she IS cool, thanks for noticing but don’t use her for sex. Nobody has sex for free. There is always a price to pay. You might be having sex with a stranger to get over your ex or to make your ex take notice of you. Bad. It’s a quick fix that felt so right the night before but alcohol will make even the taxi driver look fair game. Then you wake up in the morning and you realise you’re in bed with a douchebag. And Mr Douchebag ain’t so hot in the morning. He’s just an asshole.

I may have done my research on this. You’re welcome.

During these flighty relationships when we are single-and-looking-for-more-than-a-mingle, we find ourselves in bed, or somewhere else less desirable, being twisted and contorted in ways to help him to reach an orgasm more quickly. Her enjoyment factor? Not even a consideration. You try to slow him down. He goes faster. You try to tell him what you like. He does it for half a minute or less and then gives up. Whatta Man! And sometimes, just like Annie, we go back for more. Why? As Annie’s best friend Lillian says in the movie, “you hate yourself after you see him. Everytime. And then we go through this and you feel like shit”. The truth is your girlfriends know exactly how your pattern works and they’ll bring it up over breakfast to remind you that you can’t change a man. But unfortunately as much as we whinge about our non-existant love lives, you’re never going to find Mr Right while you’re still bonking Mr Dud.

We’ve all had a dud. He texts at like 11:23pm on a Friday night asking “R U out?”. You look at the text like half a million times and try and construct a witty, yet casual reply back. It never works. You can’t be casual when you’re trying to act casual. It doesn’t work like that. If you’re out and had a few drinks you think ‘what’s the harm? It’s just a bit of fun’. Wrong. Never drink and text. Especially texts like ‘I miss you’ or ‘I love you’. All bad. The subtext of that text is he’ll think you’re crazy or even worse he’ll use your vulnerability to get you in a cab and back to his place pronto. Not cool. Don’t be vulnerable – be strong. Yeah it’s hard being single but it’s even harder when you continue to put up with boys who don’t give a shit and treat you like shit. And that’s what they are – boys. Go find a Man. Or Woman. Whatever floats your boat. Just don’t put up with anything less than what you deserve.

About a month ago I deleted the numbers of people in my phone who I no longer wanted to associate myself with. Texts; phone numbers – the lot. There’s no longer the possibility of accidentally sending a drunk text message or leaving a less-than-cool voicemail. Why? Because I want something better. I don’t want to have to decipher his text messages unless he’s actually worth it. I don’t want to engage in banter with a bloke that I don’t really respect, much less like. I want to save all that for someone in my future who knows how to treat a girl with respect – and actually, you know, respects themselves too. Because that’s much more empowering than trying to have sex like a man. If you’ve got it, flaunt it – but if you don’t it’s not a good idea to fake it. You’re only hurting yourself and that’s just silly. Being empowered is about staying true to yourself; it’s not about trying to be who someone else wants you to be. Well, that’s the feminism I stand up for.

Have you ever had casual sex? Do you think it can work? Do you believe women can have sex like men?

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  • Tamsin Howse

    I’ve never had casual sex (surprise!) and if I’m honest I don’t know how anyone could. Never seems to work out…

    • Rose Russo

      You’re not missing out on much T. It’s all a bit fumbly but passes the time I guess!

  • Mel

    Rose, are you in my head?! Lol. Brilliant!

    • Rose Russo

      I should’ve put a disclaimer: I’m dedicating this post to Mel, she gets it !!

  • Porgie

    As one of the women who knows how to have casual sex I found this article pretty interesting, but was a little sadened to hear you generalise women so much. We are all so different and that is what makes us so amazing.

    I think a lot of women who try to have casual sex but end up getting hurt forget that there needs to be a mutual trust and respect, you need to be on the same page as each other and always be completely honest. If, as a woman, you feel like you’re becoming emotionally attached then it’s time to end the “relationship”. You can’t have casual sex when the power is imbalanced and you’re being treated like sh*t and called at ridiculous hours to fulfill his needs, as I said before it is mutual and has to be about both of your needs – but I think that comes down to the woman not respecting herself enough to stand up for herself and set boundaries in the beginning.

    I don’t sleep around and I am a big fan of “recycling” so have had enough experience with sex-only relationships to know that it works, for me, as well as most of my female friends.

    Maybe if other women considered setting boundaries to make sure they are always comfortable with the situation, and do not lower their standards (as some do, and end up being even more disappointed) just because it’s sex, then it would work for them.

    • Tamsin Howse


      Among those I’ve known, I’ve found its equally the women and the men who seem to get attached and it all falls apart, not one gender more than the other.

      Have you found that any of the men get attached to you?

      • Porgie

        I agree that it’s more balanced between men and women, and not just women who are the ones who get attached.

        It’s funny you ask that, as I’ve found that because I take a stronger role and try to keep things balanced, the man does tend to get attached and I am the one who ends it. In saying that though, the 2 relationships that I have had, which were both for over 3 years, both began as casual sex.

        I just think that, like in any situation, you have to make sure you come first (excuse the pun!), and stay in control of your emotions.

        • Rose Russo

          Is there such a thing as staying in control of your emotions? I’ve had casual sex with guys who I respect but I don’t see a future with so my emotions have stayed in check. But every so often one guy will come along and throw a spanner in the works.

          I guess this is when you would end it but I just wonder whether always keeping our emotions in check actually makes us a bit jaded and maybe we’ll miss out on love.

    • Rose Russo

      Hi Porgie,
      Thanks for reading and your reply! Like I said in the article “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” and if you can do it every time without getting hurt or having feelings involved than I really envy you. Truly.

      I hear what you’re saying about generalising women – I have a habit of doing this, but this post is based on my own experiences and not for all women. I talk to all kinds of women about sex (I’m writing a book about it) so I get that women all handle casual sex differently. Some go into it hoping for a relationship and others just lose their way.

      I agree with what you’ve said about respect, mutual trust and communication but in most cases these guys would have to be friends first… how can you really respect a stranger? Plenty of men and women have sex with strangers.

      You’ve definitely given me food for thought though so thank you for taking the time to reply