Debunking myths about casual sex

Casual sex is riddled with misconceptions and delusions. Let’s talk about what it actually looks like.

Did you come to NYU thinking that casual sex would be like Friends with Benefits or No Commitment? You thought casual sex was all about drunken one-night stands, taking the dorm route of shame, and eventually showing your feelings? Well, me too.

Having been immersed in casual sex in New York City for almost three years, I have encountered a lot of sex negativity and slut-shaming. Along the way, however, I developed a determination to combat misconceptions about casual sex wherever they appeared. So let’s debunk six myths surrounding casual sex.

Casual sex equals disrespect

Casual sex can command respect just like any other sexual situation. “Casual” doesn’t mean the encounter has to be insensitive or thoughtless. Setting boundaries, checking in regularly, offering water, giving your partner the chance to tell you what they want, and making sure they get home safely are just a few of the many challenges that casual sex partners face. can consider creating a respectful and safe environment for each other. Showing mutual respect and honoring established boundaries is the essence of a great everyday experience.

Casual sex is pointless

Students who engage in casual sex are often seeking to satisfy their sexual needs and learn more about themselves. Other reasons may include relieving stress, exploring sexual freedom, and increasing self-confidence. Just because these sexual experiences may not happen with an intimate partner doesn’t mean they should be ignored.

“Casual sex taught me not to be codependent, helped me connect with others, and allowed me to be more confident, both physically and mentally,” said Bella, a sophomore at Tisch who asked to be identified only by her first name. “I used to be a big relationship person, but now that I have experience with casual sex, I’m happy to be single and explore my independence.”

People have casual sex because they don’t respect themselves

Young people who engage in casual sex are often harshly criticized for their choices. They’re told it’s dangerous, it’s lewd, it’s not the “right” kind of sex, it’s pointless, and so on. But a healthy casual sex life is an intentional choice. Responsible “whores”, myself included, proudly own their sexual desires and use casual sex as a means to fulfill them.

It’s important to keep in mind that casual sex can be a toxic experience if not handled carefully. Make sure your motivations are aligned with your mental and physical health, and that casual sex actually adds positivity to your life, rather than becoming a way to seek validation. If you know it’s not for you, that’s totally fine.

Casual sex is not safe

Intentional casual sex comes with the responsibility of seeking safer sex. Sleeping with multiple people can be associated with the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections or the threat of pregnancy, but there are certain steps you can take to reduce the chances of bad outcomes. Casual sex is not inherently dangerous. There are many ways you can stay protected during casual encounters, including getting routine STI tests and discussing whether pre-exposure prophylaxis, an antiviral medication to reduce your risk of HIV infection, is right for you at the New Student Health Center -York University.

Free condoms, lube and dental dams are available in the Student Health Center and some NYU residence hall resource centers, so you can make sure you have a supply. Adequate birth control is another important detail to consider when practicing safe sex. Appointments with sex experts, sex education workshops and birth control consultations available at the center if you are new to casual sex or have any health or pleasure related issues.

There can be no intimacy in casual relationships

You can feel closeness and tenderness in your casual interactions. Casual sex can take many forms, and you need to decide which type best satisfies your sexual and intimate desires. I’ve found that the best way to find intimacy in random experiences is to ask for it without apology. You should be able to identify what you consider intimate and communicate this to your casual sexual partners. Time-wise, intense intimacy may not be possible for short, casual experiences like one-night stands, but eye contact and cuddling are always good options to achieve the desired intimacy.

Casual sex means penetrative sex

Sex doesn’t always have to mean penetration. This definition does not include the LGBTQ+ community and may limit us to seeking pleasure only through penetration. Sex is all about pleasure and can include anything from rubbing your clit to leaving a hickey on your partner’s chest. NYU’s LGBTQ+ Center offers a wide range of educational and community support if you want to explore more queer-focused dialogues about sexuality. If the act brought you the desired sexual satisfaction, congratulations – you just had sex!

To send us questions or experiences, fill out this form. Contact Shreya Tomar at [email protected]

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