Saturday, June 4, 2011

Is Relationship Sex Better For You Than Casual Sex?

I've been wondering for a while the benefits of relationship sex versus casual sex because it seems that a lot of people lean toward one or the other as a "right" sort of choice. Is relationship sex (or rather, sex in which emotional or romantic attraction is involved) better for you than casual sex? Is it more healthy, more respectful, better for your emotional, sexual, and romantic life?

There are many arguments against casual sex, one of them being that the aspect of 'love' is not in the act. Many believe that if there is no emotional connection with the person one is having sex with, then the act is immoral or at least less valuable than sex done with emotional or romantic attachment. That concept comes from the assumption that purely lustful sex done only for pleasure and not for some biological, evolutionary, or emotional motive is wrong. From a strictly pro/con stance, I can understand where those people are coming from. Having sex with your boyfriend(s) or girlfriend(s) can be extremely fulfilling on multiple levels, if you have good sexual and emotional relationships with each other. On the other hand, casual sex is fulfilling only in a sexual way because the emotional or romantic feelings are not intended to be there. Though the casual sex may be more enjoyable than the relationship sex, the other fulfilling requirements are enough to make the bad sex seem like a moot point.

Yet another argument against casual sex is that there is no such thing as friends with benefits, fuck buddies, or even a "successful" one-night stand that ends in having fun and then forgetting completely about that person, not regretting the decision to not keep in touch with that person at all. Because of that, casual sex cannot possibly be an option, because sooner or later you will fall in love with your friend with benefits or you'll regret your one-night stand. In addition, the mentality of "using" someone for sexual purposes may lower one's self-worth, whereas if one was in a relationship, that self-worth would be increased.

Both of these arguments against casual sex are wrong because they're blanket arguments that include everybody. Someone may not have good experiences with it because of emotional issues but someone who is not looking for a relationship, is not looking for a romantic connection, would do very well in a casual sex situation. To assume that a person is going to react a certain way without knowing them at all is not just extremely rude, it's wrong. Not everyone develops feelings after one-night stands, not everyone falls in love with their fuck buddy, and not everyone has fulfilling relationship sex. In fact, relationship sex can be as "unhealthy" for you as casual sex--for example, one could be in an abusive or unsatisfying relationship and he could justify his staying in it because of the sex. Staying in a relationship when you don't really want to is a sure-fire way of lowering your self-respect rather than having sex with someone who not only satisfies your sexual desires but also doesn't let you down on an emotional level.

Relationship sex is not necessarily "better" for you. It could be worse for you. Obviously, it has to do with what you want at the moment and what your desires for sexual, emotional, and romantic connection are. If you don't want to be in a relationship but you want to have sex, then you'll have a satisfying experience, provided the person you're having it with isn't horrible in bed. If you want to be in a relationship, be in a relationship. If you don't want to have sex, then don't. What's best for you is doing what you want and taking it from there. And finally, a quote that I find very fitting and extremely well articulated from the amazing Greta Christina:

Sometimes sex is just sex: pleasurable, delightful, orgasmic, and just plain old good clean dirty fun. And that’s wonderful. That, just by itself, is entirely worthwhile and valuable. Being disappointed in yourself and in each other when sex isn’t an intense intimate connection . . . that’s an almost ironclad guarantee that the intense intimate connection isn’t going to happen. Being willing to enjoy the pure, animal pleasures of sex — and being willing to share that pleasure and experience it together — is one of the ways we can make ourselves ready for those moments of intense connection to sneak up on us without warning.

from blog.blowfish.com/culture/on-intimacy/1262

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