No Strings Attached

Dorothy Black explores casual, NSA sex and believes it’s not a dish to everyone’s taste

Here’s something I can do. Are you ready? Are you sure? It’s something millions of women like myself are capable of, despite what we’ve been told for years. Ok, here goes: I can have no strings attached (NSA) sex. In other words: sex for fun. Sex for fun with men I don’t find particularly interesting outside of the bedroom or feel the need to cuddle with and make breakfast for. Crazy, right?

Look, it’s not a new idea. Research has been done and column inches sacrificed to the there and back again of our adventures between hook-up culture and ‘abstinence for love’ counterbalance. But these conversations are almost always from a ‘her’ POV – whether we really can have NSA sex, how our attitudes compare to men’s, why we’re doing it really really (because deep, deep down we want babies and stability so we’re manipulating men sexually to get our emotional needs met), etc etc.

Blah blah.

Is it too much to deal with, this acceptance that some woman can have casual sex as much as the next guy? It certainly seems a tight squeeze coming to terms with the wild notion that men have feelings too, that emotional vulnerability is not a domain lorded over solely by the fairer sex.

I’m drawing the parallel to point out an obvious fact: When it comes to casual, some can and some can’t – whatever the gender.

And whether you can or can’t can be a bit of a surprise.

So here’s a scenario. Mr Muscle and I connect over sex. It’s purely casual, NSA sex. It’s great sex, but we’re not doing pillow talk and there’s no emotional responsibility involved. It’s a good thing there’s no pillow talk cos Mr Muscle isn’t exactly much of a talker.

Anyway.

A few shags in he starts wanting to do dinner and movies, which totally throws me because this isn’t that kind of game.

(Fucking Django! Are you kidding me right now? That’s three hours of valuable shag time lost forever!) So I send an email outlining how a NSA ‘situation’ works for me: dinner yes, movies no; planning ahead yes, monogamy no; no frills, no spills, just what we outlined from the beginning – a rock up, a shag, a leave… nothing more, nothing less. Bump and buzz. Right?

Mr Muscle disappeared.

Turns out, coming face to face to a real NSA set-up was a little more than his emotional ego could handle. Well, that was my take. Dolce reckons that he was unable to come to terms with his unexpected emotional involvement with someone and chose to bolt instead of dealing with it. Whatever. Same difference.

Though, in truth, ‘no strings attached’ only works when your heart isn’t playing itself up as a puppet. And God knows that no matter how casual you want the NSA situation to be, once your heart starts getting involved you know you need to opt out.

Which is why NSA sex is never something you can do with an ex or someone you care for. When Dolce told me she was attempting ‘casual sex’ with her ex I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and ask her what she had done with her usually large stash of common sense.

Her list of expectations from the new situation with the old relationship was too contrary to the very tenets of casual: monogamy, emotional responsibility and accountability. These are all the ‘strings’ NSA is supposed to be without.

Which is why very few people can do it successfully. And even fewer can do it for an extended period of time. Being human means that, for most, NSA casual sex isn’t sustainable. It’s not a long-term game plan. We need to be hugged and cared for; we need to be seen and appreciated; we want someone to care about what we think and feel.

This is something I can get behind. At least, in between bouts of casual sex. Ha ha.

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2014-06-18 09:59
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