Monday, May 10, 2010

Let's Get Physical (But No Attachments, Please)

In playing the dating game, conventional wisdom has dictated that it isn't possible for women to have sex without forming an emotional attachment to their partner -- unlike men who can do it freely, separating the act from the emotion. And generally, even for myself, I'll admit that I more or less accepted this as a reality in dating. Not to say that I assume love is the next step after intimacy. However, I'd be lying if I said that in one or two specific cases when I started actively dating, I wasn't a bit disappointed with how things turned out -- it being not much more than a good time. I was late to the lesson that sex doesn't equal relationship. But once I learned it, I kind of nailed it down into my brain never to be forgotten again.

Anyway, I bring this up because just this weekend, I spent a bit of time catching up with Laurie, a friend and old colleague of mine. I hadn't seen her in a while and she was giving me the download on the latest in her life: a guy she'd met with whom she felt there would be no promise of long-term... But with whom she'd decided to just sleep with instead. "Since I know he's not the one for me," she'd said, "I don't see why I just can't have fun with it."

Now this one made me think a bit. Truth is, that while both men and women engage in sex without running down the altar all the time, does it mean we should? 

That depends. If you can be realistic about what sex is, have a clear understanding of the feelings you and other person do and don't have on each other AND not impose meanings on it other than those of the moment, then I don't see why not. That requires being in tune with your partner and the situation to avoid any possible disappointments.

But really, should we?  

What I've Learned: Sex has the importance you impose upon it. So, if the feelings are real, then sex will undoubtedly be more than just a physical act. However, that said... When you're doing the dating thing, I don't think there's anything wrong with just enjoying the act itself if you have the chemistry and enjoy the other person's company.

No doubt that sex is complicated enough without all physical and emotional things that come into play. Personally, I like to take the approach of selective fun. That is, getting to know a guy a bit, consider the head space I'm in (relationship mode, fun, etc.) and act that way. I guess it gives me a chance to examine my own feelings and make every effort I can to check myself. And, it's something I work on whenever I start dating someone new.

But, either way, what matters most is weighing the pros and cons -- then, make the final call yourself.

Photo Credit: PhotoXpress/


  1. You present an interesting question "should men and women engage in sex without running to the alter?" There are other factors to consider in this including religious beliefs, etc. I agree that if you are going to enter to a relationship based on sex both people should understand what exactly that means. Many people are met with disappointment because they try to turn sexual relationships into more than sex.

  2. Hi Bianca,

    You raise a point about factors to consider. However, at the end of the day, if one chooses to engage in sex alone, then they should deal with all that comes with it and not confuse the lust for the love. Hard, I know and agree, but that could be the case for not having casual sex -- avoiding the possible complications that could arise....

  3. "...conventional wisdom has dictated that it isn't possible for women to have sex without forming an emotional attachment to their partner..." Is that conventional wisdom or an inconvenient truth? All women aren't alike, no. Equally, not all women are entirely honest with themselves. I know lots of guys who are honest with a girl up front about what he will and will not give. As a guy this isn't anything to brag about, but truthfully some guys do this because we know saying hey you can't have me is catnip to a women who has the mindset that we can be changed. Guess how many women enter into these sex only relationships upon being told its going to be sex only? Quit a few actually. In most of these instances I am personally aware of, they almost all have feelings in the end that in truth they probably had at the beginning but thought they could ignore.

    A very close friend of mine was in such a relationship for a few years. I would tell any girl if you feel the need to keep discussing the status of a sex only relationship, you clearly can't handle it. This was the case with my friend and she still ended up hurt. She said its only because they had this relationship for so long but if you're tallying time in a sex only relationship again, it's probably not for you.

    We all fail at telling the future and in many instances these types of relationship are nothing more than an attempt to tell the future. This brings us to your question, 'Should we be having sex outside of marriage?' A lot of people would say that this question overly complicates a simple arrangement. That simple arrangement however often ends in the same types of complex and life changing consequences as a failed marriage; namely children, finances/property, the blending of families while often jeopardizing educational and career goals. Who knows maybe the addition of cake, champagne, a ring and a dress might help it go down better.

    People who go to alter are actually outlining for themselves what they have to gain and loose. The 'booty call crew' have all the same things on the line only they refuse to admit it and even when the sex is free of feelings on the part of both parties, when the consequences go beyond what either party signed on for, you can bet there will be strong feelings on both sides..

  4. @Aurelius --> You raise a valid point with this statement: "...I would tell any girl if you feel the need to keep discussing the status of a sex only relationship, you clearly can't handle it.... [i]f you're tallying time in a sex only relationship again, it's probably not for you."

    This is a very valid comment and one that should be examined closely. Oftentimes, it's when we're uncertain about something and find ourselves discussing it ad nauseum that we realize only then that we're not as prepared to handle it but that we're indeed doubting our decisions to enter into such an arrangement.

    Essentially, I think we all like to convince ourselves that we're strong enough to handle whatever comes out of a particular situation or arrangement. However, we soon find out that it may not always be the case.

    It's funny you raise this because I was just recently having this discussion, which prompted me to think about the defense mechanisms we activate in dating so we don't get hurt. And this situation is, arguably one of them.

    Feelings are often an inevitable part of the equation. But it's how we manage them that makes the difference.

  5. What if the girl said that she doesnt want a relation ship but treats you like ber husband with sex and no attachment.

  6. Please help me understand her !!!!!!!!!!!.

  7. Sex is mechanical. And it is what it is to the individual. For both sexes it can be without attachment, or it can be a mad dash into bliss... It happens equally and it largely is due to how you were raised and your moral compass. If you are like most, it is mechanical and easily separated; Ie can go home in the morning without a second thought. People who are religious however put more weight on things and this isn't likely to happen early or at all until marriage. I have a very long scribe about this but can't get into it here for time and space.