DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I was a bit of a late bloomer, and have only relatively recently given much thought about relationships and my sex life. Outside of a brief relationship (a few months) out of high-school, I have had much experience. I currently feel that where I am now, I’m not particularly interested in a long-term relationship, but I am open to something casual and even no strings attached hookups.
The problem I have, is that the country I live in has a very conservative attitude about sex and relationships. Most people here consider sex something to happen only within marriage, and people (both men and women, though not equally) are judged very harshly about premarital sex. There also isn’t much of a nightlife here (alcohol is available but highly restricted and expensive). As a result, I feel like it’s absolutely impossible for me to have a casual encounter where I am, even if I were to go out and socialize.
I hope you may have some insight or advice into my predicament. Your articles and videos are great, thanks for the work you do.
Eager But Stuck
DEAR EAGER BUT STUCK: The funny thing about sex: no matter what culture you come from or what laws they may have had about sex and sexuality… sex always wins in the end. People like to get freaky, bang the way they prefer to bang and with the people they prefer to bang out with. Laws restricting pre-marital sex or extramarital sex, laws prohibiting same-sex relationships, even masturbation and sex-toys have never kept people from f
king. It has only either driven it underground or lead to the discovery of some very creative loop-holes.
(Seriously: nobody has ever bought a sex toy for condom application practice, all those “neck massagers” aren’t going on necks and “for novelty use only” has never meant someone didn’t stick their junk in it or shove it inside themselves…)
So the odds are that there are far more people in your country and home town that are down with a little pre-marital action. It’s just a matter of finding them, which is going to involve some detective work on your part. As with folks trying to find the potential partners who’d be right for them,, a lot of what you’re going to need is to start looking for the places where the folks who are most likely to cool with casual sex are likely to hang out — virtually or physically. Dating apps are the most obvious answer. While people, especially women, are less likely to openly advertise that they’re interested in casual hook-ups or no-strings affairs because that’s frequently an invitation to turn their email into the end point of a dick conveyer belt, swipe apps like Tinder are hotbeds of people looking for some strange.
Similarly, you may want to look within social circles, rather than clubs or bars. While yes, a bar or club scene can help facilitate a no-strings hook-up, that’s not the only way, or even the best way. Alcohol may be a social lubricant, but it can also be the lubrication on a slippery slope of bad decisions. A lot of bar or club hook-ups end up being one-night stands because people’s judgement get impaired and they end up deciding to do things that they probably would’ve avoided under the cold light of sobriety.
Plus, there’s the trust and pleasure factor. One of the reasons why women are less likely to indulge in a casual fling is because the risks are high and the odds of the sex being any good are low. This is especially true when it comes to one-night stands and same-night hook-ups. Most men are all but guaranteed to orgasm during sex. Straight and bi women are far less likely… and the likelihood drops even further during a one-night stand. A lot of guys see one-night stands as all about their chance to get off, and simply don’t see the point in trying to bring their a-game to someone they think they’re not likely to see again. That turns a lot of women off the idea of casual sex entirely. Who wants to risk pregnancy, STIs and physical violence for a guy who thinks that monotonously pounding away like a fleshy jackhammer is the ne plus ultra of good f
This is why you’re more likely to find people who’d be open for a fling or a casual arrangement with people who they know and trust… especially if pre-marital sex is taboo. In a restrictive culture, people are more likely to keep similar arrangements in house, as it were. Even when there aren’t explicit laws on the matter, when there’s a lot of societal opprobrium, people are more likely to want to stay on the down low and stick to people they know or trust. Nobody wants to have their vulnerability and openness rewarded by shaming them or insulting them for doing the thing their partner asked for in the first place.
But regardless of where you meet people or how you meet them, you’re going to have to put in the work to be someone they’d be down for hooking up with. It won’t help if you discover the secret underground sex party full of writhing hottness if people think you’re someone who’s going to ruin the party for everyone else. Part of this entails making sure your style and presentation is on point. Part of this entails being somebody that women can trust, someone who is absolutely physically and emotionally safe, who focuses on enthusiastic consent and mutual pleasure and enjoyment. But the biggest and most important part of finding a casual partner is being a great casual partner. One of the single biggest barriers to casual relationships — especially for women — are the number of folks who think that being in a casual relationship means treating your partner casually. Far too many guys tend to think that if they show an ounce of kindness or friendliness to someone they’re only casually seeing, she’ll assume that this is more than it actually is. Not only is that insulting to the people they’re sleeping with, but it ends up being a justification for treating their partner like a living Fleshlight… which is a great way to ensure you’ll never sleep with them or anyone they know ever again.
So do your research and do your work, EBS. Connect with people, make friends and contacts. Be friendly, warm and flirty, but also be honest and up front about what you have to offer, what your limits are and what isn’t on the table for you. Be able to take refusals or rejection with grace and aplomb and acceptance with respect and care.
And if nothing else, when you meet someone who seems like they might be down for something casual, just ask yourself: what would Captain Jack Harkness do?
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org