How to Have Casual Sex (Without Hurting People’s Feelings)

In the era of mobile apps, you can order food or a taxi with a tap of a finger. You can also use mobile apps, as many people do, for dating culture — and, ultimately, sex.

But while the popularity of mobile-based linking for hook-ups has exploded in recent years, it’s just another way (albeit incredibly convenient) to meet people.

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People still meet people in a variety of different ways, and although spontaneously meeting someone in real life (IRL) may not be as common as decades prior, dating apps provide a gateway to an eventual meet-up.

The ease and accessibility of “someone new” on the other end of mobile apps has given rise to “fewer f*cks given” attitudes towards">casual sex, which also gives rise to the potential for being callous towards a particular casual partner. “It’s just casual,” you may say. “It’s nothing serious.”

While it may be “nothing serious” for you, without healthy communication, casual sex could (potentially) bring out the worst in you — intentionally or unintentionally. The following are some tips on how to have casual sex without being a dick:

1. Communicate

Feelings. Let’s talk about them. We all have them and are all tapped into — or aren’t tapped into — our own, to varying degrees.

With casual sex — and any sex, really — can come the feels, and knowing how to navigate the feelings you and your partner have is the key to fun, healthy casual sex. Not being considerate of your partner’s feelings? You’re being a dick. Only thinking about your own needs and not those of your partner? You’re being a dick. The fundamental bedrock to a fulfilling life of casual sex with you and your partner(s) is through">communication and consideration.

Stating your needs, wants and intentions upfront in an honest way is not only extremely gentlemanly, it helps set the tone for your casual sex interactions. Playing games is draining and toxic and is a waste of everyone’s time. If you’re looking for no strings attached, why not say so? This way, you’re hopefully aligning with — and finding partners who — want the same thing as you.

Nothing is worse than lying just to get in someone’s pants. Be intentional with your desires and explain you’re not looking to invest emotionally. Or if you are, state that, too. Strong communication is super mature and helps avoid any pitfalls down the road.

2. Respect Your Partner(s)

Speaking of communication, just as you’ll want to be above-board with your partner(s) with your preferences, if you’re seeing other people, etc. — to avoid unnecessary drama and being perceived as a dick, you’ll also want to respect your partner in the same way you would a serious relationship.

Why? For one, your casual sex partner could">turn into a serious relationship in certain situations, so it’s a bad look/being a dick to badmouth a casual partner and then date them seriously. Two, being respectful breeds more respectful dudes in the world, which the universe needs more of.

Just because you’re not exclusive doesn’t give you free rein to be an asshole. Talk highly of your partner(s) — unless they’re being dangerous, life-threatening, or abusive — and honor and appreciate them and the moments you share together.

Being respectful also means not (consciously) trying to make a partner jealous, and appreciating your partner(s) as a human, not a sex object, even if all you’re doing is having sex.

It also means being straight-up about anything important a partner (casual or not) would want to know, e.g. if you’re already in a relationship with someone, for instance. And it leads us to the next tip:

3. Take Care of Your Body

Having lots of sex sometimes leads to catching sexually transmitted infections, but if you’re having casual sex with a bunch of people, you should be using condoms and">getting tested so you don’t spread anything.

If you do catch an STI and a partner asks you about it, don’t lie. Not only is that gross and disrespectful, but in certain states like California, it can be illegal depending on the STI.

In more pedestrian terms, taking care of your body also means maintaining yourself and your private regions. If you’re looking for fun, fulfilling casual sex, you get what you put out there. Make sure you’re maintaining hygienic looking privates and expect the same level of cleanliness in return.

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(Unless of course hygiene is not important to you, in which case, just communicate that to your partner(s)).

4. Don’t Send Mixed Signals

Closely linked to communication is not sending mixed signals and being true to your desires when pursuing casual sex.

Don’t do things that would be signals of greater intimacy if that’s not what you’re looking for. While inviting a partner to meet your parents — and vice versa — can be fun, don’t do it unless you’ve talked about what it means to each of you.

If you’re just doing it to be nice but your partner wants more, this could be seen as leading them on and being a dick if you too do not want more. If being above board and clear with what you want pushes a casual partner away, then they probably weren’t the right person to have casual sex with for you.

5. Have Fun! It’s Casual Sex

Someone is choosing to sleep with you just as much as you’re choosing to sleep with them, so enjoy it and have fun. But — unless you’ve communicated it up front — don’t just expect to hook up and that’s it. Talk, enjoy each other’s company. You’re having casual sex! Keep it light and fun. If you don’t want to talk and don’t enjoy each other’s company, why have sex in the first place?

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