Easier said than done right? OK, have sex when everything else makes sense… But when does everything else “makes sense?” Certainly, it’s subjective, but there are a few criteria one can use. It’s quite a boring —or predictable— list, I’m afraid, but one doesn’t want one’s relationship life to be wild and drama-filled, does one?
1. You love them or at least like them a heck of a lot.
Casual sex has its pros and cons. One of its cons can be that deep-down you just don’t really like the person. Sex is waay better when you do, obviously. And there can be times when you feel that casual sex is a much better option than no sex at all. But there are other times when you’ll feel that actually it’s not. Listen to your body and mind during these times and respect where you’re at. No judgment here. But listening to your body is important. When you go against it is when you have problems.
2. They’re available.
By available, I mean they’re single or have time for you or make time for you, etc. If you’re having sex with someone who’s not available, you need to be bluntly honest with yourself. Are you able to handle the potential hurt in getting involved with someone who cannot fully be there for you? They could be in an ‘open’ thing and not be cheating. But are you completely happy being ‘second’? Are you fully aware of what that means? Is this a pattern of yours? Maybe you’re OK with that because your schedule is full up the wazoo right now. But if you were completely honest with yourself, is there something you’re avoiding by choosing someone who’s not fully available? What are you trying to avoid? That you deserve to be someone’s first priority? That you’re (not) ready to open up and embrace a new relationship? That you’re terrified?
3. You’re not each other’s fetishes.
Hopefully you can like each other for who each other is and not some representation of who you think they are in your mind. In other words, if you particularly like Asian women or particularly like men with green hair, is this just another one that matches your ‘type’? Or do you really like them as an individual? It can be both. But once again, full honesty with yourself will get you much farther than pretending.
4. You’re ready to have some kind of a relationship with them.
Are you sleeping with them just because you’re horny? Or because you’re ready to try to build something with them? I’m not saying you need to know exactly what you’re doing when you start a sexual relationship with someone. But what makes sex great versus just casual is when you know you want to build something with the person. You’re excited. You want to. You’re ready. And they are too.
5. You’re communicating with each other.
Whatever level you’re at—casual or serious or friends with benefits— the most important thing out of all of this is that you’re communicating. We humans are far from perfect. But this is one thing we do —or at least, can do— better than all others in the animal kingdom. We can communicate impeccably. Many times we don’t. But we can and it’s an amazing skill to have. Try speaking up when it’s hard. Try to figure out what it is you’re feeling. Be honest with yourself. And then try to communicate that as honestly and fully as you can with the other person. I say try because that’s all we can ask for. You will get better with practice.