One Night Stands: When (and Where) They're Okay

The Casualties of Casual SexThe Casualties of Casual Sex

Posted by Madeleine Harrington for

Casual sex: it's not our grandmothers' kind of intimacy, and perhaps with good reason. Whatever our age or level of sexual experience, there is an inevitable sense of disappointment or "emptiness" that always factors in to this sort of romantic entanglement. I'm not trying to put down the female gender, to paint us as naively romantic and benignly optimistic, pining by the un-ringing phone for days: I'm simply referring to blatant logic.

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Our bodies function, from personal experience and from what we have witnessed or learned throughout our budding sex lives, by the idea that physical intimacy is closely associated with emotional intimacy. And what is more physically intimate than sex? This leads me to that quizzical and semi-problematic phrase of "casual sex," and why if we choose to take part in it, we will always have that feeling, however minor or fleeting, that something is missing.

Related: The Casualties of Casual Sex

Perhaps this is all wrong, maybe by expecting emotional love after physical love, we really are being the waiting-by-the-phone sort of women that we try so hard to avoid. Maybe we should be stronger, and to teach our bodies to separate the two kinds of pleasures. But then again, I can't think of one good reason to distinguish the two, and I never thought I'd say this, but maybe our grandparents' generation knew best. After all, why would we ever ignore our own emotions?

There are plenty of reasons we have casual sex. We are newly single and want to explore the ins-and-outs of our liberated sexual selves, or we have been single for a while and are seeking physical company. There are also plenty of situations in which casual sex works. I initially intended to make this a bulleted list of factors that we should consider before commencing in the act, but I now realize that this concept is too situational, too layered, and too personal to summarize in such a format.

What I can say is that before you do, you should think about who is in control, whether you feel safe, and your mental state. If you're feeling depressed, forget about it. Last but not least, ask yourself why you're doing this. Chances are, if you give yourself a moment to think it over, you will be able to answer honestly. Because for every benefit you believe that casual sex offers, you can give that same thing to yourself. Yes, I am using my imagination and am assuming you are using yours, and yes, I still mean everything.

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Madeleine is a graduate of SUNY Purchase who believes that good writing starts with telling a story you feel uncomfortable talking about.