sex

"I was a serial monogamist for 6 years. Here's what I learnt from having casual sex."

I'm one of those people who fall into relationships far too quickly. 

In the past I've leapt between boyfriends like it was a sport, until all of a sudden I was plunged into a four-month lockdown just weeks after being broken up with, and suddenly distracting myself with a new relationship wasn't an option. 

Over that time — as painful as it was — I learned lots about myself and came out the other side with a new understanding of singlehood. 

Watch: How to have better sex. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

You see, romantic relationships aren't everything. In fact, there's a whole big world of casual sex and freedom I'd been missing out on thanks to my habit for monogamy. 

... And half a year down the track, it's taught me a thing or two.

Here's what I know now.

1. Exclusive relationships shouldn't be my immediate default.

As it so happens, most of the things I sought out in exclusive relationships can be found elsewhere, and I probably settled for less because I was too scared to work that out earlier.

For most of my adult life, I have had one exclusive partner (at a time) who I would default to for most things.

From date nights, to plus ones at family events, beach days, sex, someone to run errands with, and everything in between: my partner would fill a hole that meant I never had to experience "being alone".

But being alone isn't so bad! 

Since my breakup, I've invested in my friendships. I've met people I'd never have met. I've tried things I wouldn't have tried. 

There are a whole bunch of benefits to being single, and this time around I'm not letting a committed relationship be my automatic response to uncomfortable emotions.

2. One-night-stands are the least intimate thing.

I know, I know. This sounds very obvious. But hear me out.

I used to think sex was the definition of intimacy. But in recent months I've come to realise how un-intimate sex can be, and that has a whole list of pros and cons of its own. 

Listen to Mamamia's podcast for Gen Z, The Undone. Post continues below.


Intimacy is incompatible with casual or one-time arrangements. At least it is for me. 

As someone who has a fearful avoidant attachment style (have a read on what that means over here), sex means very little. 

It's the sleeping over, the late-night chats, the kisses, and breakfast the next morning that induces a palpable, sweat-inducing anxiety within me — because that's where the feelings come in. 

ADVERTISEMENT

That being said, no-strings-attached, casual, intimacy-free sex has been some of my best. Free of intimacy, but certainly not void of pleasure.

Which leads me to...

3. Casual sex is like a beat-up old ute... and that can be a good thing.

A psychologist I saw before I entered my last relationship explained why casual sex can feel so much more fun than it might when you're seeing someone you really like, and it involves a very fitting motor vehicle metaphor (bear with me!).

Casual sex with someone you're physically attracted to, but not so mentally attracted to is like driving a beat-up manual ute because you're not too afraid of damaging it. 

There's less at stake. You can take more risks. (Think: speeding ...or exploring BDSM if you're so inclined.)

When you're in a relationship with someone you care about, in the beginning for some, it can be like driving a Lamborghini. 

There's a lot more risk involved, so you're a bit more careful.

Of course, that's not to say people in relationship have the bad end of the deal (I'm sure there are plenty of you having the best sex of your life and I'm happy for you!) but this metaphor made a whole lot of sense to me and to my single situation.

4. Not every relationship has to be "something more".

When you're a "serial monogamist" it's hard to get out of the headspace of dating to find a partner. But once you do, it's a whole lot more fulfilling.

Late last year, I started viewing dating as a numbers game. It was less about finding 'the one' and more about learning what I loved and what I didn't in a future partner. 

I got to know people before I had sex with them, or afterward, or sometimes not at all. And I left each experience feeling good because of it. 

No love lost if you weren't searching for it in the first place. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

5. Setting boundaries isn't needy. It's necessary.

The most fulfilling casual experiences I've had were all thanks to clear communication in and out of the bedroom.

They've been with people who asked me what I wanted, and who I felt comfortable vocalising it to. And most of all, they've been in situations where "what we are" was understood from start to finish.

Sure, there were a few duds here and there. Games were played, communication was lost, and I left feeling fairly s**tty. 

But setting and sticking to boundaries is a sure-fire way to "win" at casual sex. 

6. Proceed with caution.

All that being said: proceed with caution.

Casual sex isn't for everyone. No matter how hard you try, feelings will get involved every-so-often and they can be really difficult to navigate, so tread lightly. 

Remember: this is meant to be fun and if you feel like you're getting the short end of the stick, you probably are. 

Good thing casual arrangements are so much easier to end, am I right? 

...But that's a story for next time.

For more from Emma, you can follow her on Instagram.

Feature Image: Supplied.