Casual Sex: The Pros & Cons

Most people have experienced casual sex in one form or another. Whether it’s a one-night stand or dating possibility, most of us engage in casual sex for a variety of reasons. If you’ve thought about having casual sex, but just don’t know how it will affect you and your sexual future, here’s a list that can be informative on whether you want to engage in this type of sexual activity.

Casual sex might fulfill (or not) a certain sexual desire

You never know how casual sex is going to go. It’s pretty much a 50/50 type situation that it will be a great experience that you would like to do again, especially if it fulfilled a particular desire that you wanted to experience. Now, if it did not fulfill a sexual desire, you leave the experience still with a sense of lack and curiosity that might lead you to seek and engage in casual sex again.

Since finding desire is part of finding our sexuality, I vote this is as a PRO.

Casual sex gives you less time to sexually prepare.

If you’re just meeting someone for the first time and you decide to have sex or maybe you’ve known them for a moment and the sexual situation seems promising, this gives you less time to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. You never know how the person is going to act or react to something you do and lack of mental preparation could potentially be harmful. As far as emotionally, you could possibly trigger something in them or in you that isn’t favorable in a sexual situation (such as trauma or feelings of love). As far as physically, if one of you has a sexually transmitted disease (or don’t know if you have one) and you engage in fluid-bonding, this can be problematic. It might result in consequences that you have to take on by yourself if you find that you don’t have any more contact with the person you had casual sex with.

As a control freak, I vote this as a CON.

Casual sex may or may not prepare you for your sexual future.

When you engage in casual sex knowing that you’re going to come out of the situation learning something about yourself, it might already be a win. You can figure out what you liked or didn’t like in the sexual situation and whether you can bring what you learned from this experience to your future sexual experiences. If you can bring a new move to someone you’re more interested in, this just might be the ticket to help your case in the dating game.

I vote this is as a PRO.

Casual sex provides brief intimacy.

Whether you want the intimacy or not, casual sex does provide a sort of intimacy that can either be detrimental or instrumental. If you are not seeking intimacy, you may end up crossing a boundary that you don’t want to be crossed. For instance, if you are a person who only kisses serious dating partners, the experience of a casual partner’s kiss might have you feeling a sense of displeasure and disgust. However, because of this type of intimacy can also be instrumental, it’s important to note that it can help with the release of several hormones and pheromones, which will inherently help you to attract other people. But then again, so can a nice, long, loving hug.

I vote this as a CON.

You need to ask yourself some serious questions before you engage in casual sex.

As you can see, I find that there are both benefits and consequences to having casual sex. Some of them with more weight than others, so it’s up to you to decide if it’s truly the decision for you. I suggest taking a serious moment and answering these questions for yourself to decide if casual sex is for you or not.

​1) What do I find enticing about having casual sex? Is this a good reason to engage in it? Why or why not?

​2) Do I have any personal expectations when I engage with someone sexually? If I do, what are they?

​3) If I’m in a situation where lust has taken over, would I be okay with “accidents,” such as fluid-bonding? Am I okay with dealing with the possible consequences of getting an STD?

​4) Am I okay with connecting temporarily and possibly falling in love with someone I might not see again?

​5) Do I have a particular goal, desire or fantasy that I want to fulfill when I’m involved in a particular sexual experience? And am I willing to act on it, despite the consequences?

​6) Would I be okay communicating certain sexual needs during the interaction in order to fulfill my own sexual needs? Would I be okay if my partner had selfish motives?

​7) Am I okay with having an awesome sexual experience and having the ability to not hold other lovers to this particular standard?

Good luck on your casual sex journey!

xoxo, Marla


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Marla Stewart
Marla Renee Stewart, MA is a professional sex, intimacy and relationship coach and sex educator. Not only is she a lecturer at Clayton State University, she is also the co-founder of the Sex Down South Conference and the Sexual Liberation Collective. Gaining her reputation for being "The Sex Architect", she created Velvet Lips to empower people of all ages to embrace, educate and enjoy their sexuality and their sexual lives. She has studied human sexuality for more than 16 years at San Francisco State University and Georgia State University, respectively, and has expert knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. She has published academic articles and continues to do sexuality research. She has conducted workshops at conferences, not-for-profit and private organizations, as well as universities in the Atlanta area. She has been featured on many radio shows, documentaries, books, magazines and has been invited to speak at Universities around the country. She also sits on the board for the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition and SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!