If you have, at some point, found yourself wishing that you had someone you could be physically intimate with minus the emotional complications, you are not alone.
A survey conducted last year by a national magazine revealed that 28 per cent of the urban youth surveyed in India indulged in casual sex, often with multiple partners. But, it’s a tricky trap. For starters (and this might be the most important question, really), how do you find someone who wants the same things as you?
GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE
You have to choose someone you are comfortable with. That’s the first step, says Ananth Padmanabhan, author of Play With Me, and India’s first male author of erotica. “Any relationship,” he says, “goes through three stages: knowing your partner, getting comfortable around them, and finally, getting comfortable in their physical space. Even if you are looking for a casual, physical relationship alone, you will have to travel these three stages anyway,” he says. You can’t walk up to a stranger to check if they’ll jump into bed with you. Once the stage is set, he suggests you test the waters by having a casual chat about your idea of a relationship.
If s/he is looking for a committed engagement at that point, you’ll be able to tell from their body language and tone. If not, be clear about what you are looking for. Ambiguity is no good. There should be no “let’s see where this goes” if you have no plans of pursuing a committed relationship. Padmanabhan says, Indians continue to associate taboos with sexuality. “If we shake it off, we will realise that sex is something that the body needs in order to feel good, and that it’s only natural. Therefore, asking yourself what you want isn’t such a bad thing,” he adds.
REMINDER: THIS IS CASUAL
It’s easy to slip into a comfort zone if this unfolds in the work space. He’s ready for a romp when you are, flirts with you through the day, drops you off after work. But remember, it’s working because it’s casual. The second either of you gets serious, and the other doesn’t, this heads south and not in the good way.
Fortunately, there are little details you can train your attention to that will ensure neither of you gets too serious. For starters, don’t date each other — no dinners, concerts, movies. Meet up at your place or his. Contact each other at a specific time, say, after both of you get done from work. Don’t start talking about your lives, friends, family. There is little point in getting to ‘know’ each other inside out. And most importantly, don’t sleep over.
DEALING WITH COMPLICATIONS
You may not be in it anymore, but s/he is. How do you tell them that even though you continue to enjoy their company, that’s about it. Padmanabhan advises diplomacy.
“You can forget people, but you never forget how they made you feel. Tell them you are happy that you were together at a point, and that you felt good about it.” However, make sure that they realise that you don’t feel the same way anymore.
If you are in a sex-only relationship with someone, the assumption is that they are mature enough to see the relationship for what it is. Neither will be seeking exclusivity, says Padmanabhan. “Therefore, if one of you finds someone else and wants to move on to another partner, convey it honestly,” he adds.
“That this conversation is unfolding is itself a reflection of the fact that you two are not on the same page, physically or emotionally,” he says.
This is a rule most tend to forget. Casual sex, is in the end, about having fun. “It’s about celebrating sensory pleasures,” says Padmanabhan, adding once you sign up for this sort of a relationship, nothing should stop you from pursuing sensory enjoyment devoid of judgment.
GOOD FOR HEALTH
According to new research, casual sex may not be such a bad thing. “If you want to have casual sex, you definitely should. If you do not want to have casual sex, you should not,” researchers from New York University and Cornell University said. For the study, the researchers chose a group of students who kept a weekly diary over three months, jotting down details of their casual sex encounters and the effect on their overall well-being. The team say they found that socio-sexually unrestricted students reported higher well-being after having casual sex compared to not having sex. The research appeared in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science.