I, Ari Eastman, hereby announce casual sex does not make me feel liberated, or satisfied, or like I’m Beyoncé on my grown-ass woman shit.
When I was younger, I was sure that feeling would evolve into something else. My first foray into meaningless sex had been less than satisfactory, but I figured it was something that came in time. I was 17, had just been devastated by my first ever break up, and a cute boy showed interest. I didn’t know what else I was supposed to do. I had only known sex to be beautiful and enjoyable, so I figured, what could this hurt? It’s got to be better than the lovesick heart ache I was nursing.
But all it did was teach me different kinds of sex exist. And they aren’t all experiences you run home and journal about.
“Maybe when I’m older,” I’d tell myself. As if my heart was really going to change with age.
I’ve never had a true one night stand, but even the casual sexual relationships I tried out later weren’t what I’d been promised. One night stands were supposed to be those fun and slightly taboo stories you gab with girlfriends about over eggs benedict and mimosas. And that’s not anything close to what I felt when I’d drive home after sleeping with someone I already knew wasn’t going to stick around longterm.
It wasn’t some series of flashy cosmopolitan nights with Carrie and the rest of the Sex and the City gang, complete with the glamour of New York and the mystery of kissing strangers in bars.
And hey, I don’t know, maybe that’s what it is for some. And to them, I say, Stella, you go girl. You get your groove back and you ride it all night long.
But that doesn’t mean it feels good to me.
I have tried to fake it (…literally) off and on thinking I’ve got to be missing something. Because sex? Oh sex is fan-fucking-tastic. That’s not in question here. If I could, I would marry the hell out of Sex and we’d honeymoon somewhere tropical and do it until our neighbors complained about all the moaning and banging. So you see, I’ve got nothing but love and appreciation for sex. But the act itself, I’ve found, isn’t enough.
Just Sex is not enough for me.
Sometimes I’m almost embarrassed to admit how badly I’d love to understand the appeal of hook up culture. I have friends who pick up men like they’re ordering their usual in the Starbucks drive-thru. I find myself envious. Not because I couldn’t go do the same thing, but because it feels like they are in a world I just can’t get myself to access. It’s like when everyone obsesses over going to the beach, how people can just look at the ocean for hours and hours. Why? What am I missing? It’s beautiful, sure, but I’ve seen it. I’m good now! I don’t need to stare. So this mentality ends up just adding to the frustration.
I’m really happy we’re at a time when sex positivity is at a forefront and we’re starting to talk about sexuality without it being considered so risqué. One of my best friends detailed her experience in a sex club and I was riveted! Is it something I want to ever try? OH HELL NO. But I loved hearing about it and hope society continues opening up more with accepting all sorts of dialogues. But just because I support my girlfriends going out and getting some doesn’t mean I want to. And I don’t want to feel like a pariah for it either.
It’s not that I expect to be madly in love with everyone I get intimate with, but there’s got to be something. Otherwise, I just end up feeling empty and lonely. I crawl back into my own bed and think about when it used to mean so much more, and like some melodramatic after-school special, I do my best to silently cry. And that’s not how sex should make you feel.
I don’t want to be young, wild, and free like every alcohol, clothing, whatever company campaign directed at EVERY GOD DAMN 20 SOMETHING wants me to be. The very idea of Vegas stresses me out! Kissing someone I barely know makes me think, “Ew, what if they have a germy mouth?” And none of these thoughts are very cool of me. None of them scream “FUN 23 YEAR OLD GIRL JUST LIVING IT UP” but why do I need them to anyways?
I don’t like casual sex. So what?