It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I can’t do casual sex. In college, when I read The Ethical Slut, a book advocating safe, consensual promiscuity as a lifestyle, I thought the philosophy of free love sounded revolutionary, noble even. But after I had my share of casual hookups, I realized they usually left me unhappy that I didn’t have something more, something deeper.
I’m not saying that nobody should have casual sex. I can certainly see the appeal. But unfortunately, for me and many others, it’s just not a good idea. These are the struggles we face as a result of that difficult realization.
1. Being mislabeled as asexual, demisexual, or just not very sexual.
2. Resisting physical temptation because, despite popular belief, we have as high a sex drive as anyone else.
3. Explaining to love interests that not being ready to hook up with them now doesn’t mean we don’t want to at some future point.
4. If you’re a man, being afraid people will think there’s something fundamentally wrong with you.
5. If you’re a woman, being afraid of confirming stereotypes that women can’t do casual sex, even though plenty can and plenty of men can’t.
6. People assuming we’re more promiscuous than we actually are if we openly discuss the sex lives we’ve experienced in relationships.
7. Feeling inexperienced because most of the people we know have higher “numbers” than us, even if we’ve had more sex total.
8. Feeling inadequate in bed because most of our lovers also seem more experienced than us.
9. Wondering if we really would have more fun if we loosened our grips a little.
10. Acting on this curiosity, then feeling like we’ve betrayed ourselves the next day.
11. But then wondering if maybe we just went into it with the wrong mentality.
12. Repeating the process all over again.
13. Debating whether we really can’t do casual sex or we’ve just internalized society’s slut-shaming.
14. Defending ourselves against accusations of internalizing slut-shaming.
15. Feeling guilty for making our partners wait until we’re comfortable enough to become intimate.
16. Concealing sexual desires we don’t want to act on yet to avoid leading anyone on.
17. Drawing the line between what we can and can’t do casually: Can we kiss casually? Cuddle casually?
18. Having months- or even years-long dry spells because we need to wait until that moment when it feels right and reminding ourselves that this moment will be worth it when it comes. No pun intended.