There's Casual Sex, And Then There's Casual Sex

Tracy Clark-Flory has an interesting piece on Salon today responding to the rash of pro-abstinence books hitting the bookshelves this summer. She defends what she calls her casual sex life against the hordes of abstinence-advocates who say you won't ever get a boyfriend if you sleep with men on the first date (in addition to losing all respect for yourself, etc). Clark-Flory argues that having casual sex — or, in her case, more like semi-casual sex — has helped her figure out what she wants out of both sex and relationships and get into a good relationship with a good man. But in her defense of her "casual sex" lifestyle, I'd argue that she's not exactly the stereotypical casual sex-haver.

As Clark-Flory describes it, her casual sex partners were people with whom she had relationships — short ones, perhaps, with men she didn't call her boyfriend or intend to bring home to her family — but what she's describing is casual relationship sex. Most of the pundits with whom she's disagreeing aren't hyping up the sexual behavior of serial monogamists like her (though, since she's not in it for the Ring, they'd probably still oppose her lifestyle), they're trying to slut-shame and ring-bait the women who aren't even in it for tomorrow morning.

I've gone through phases in my life where I bounce between serial monogramy, Very Serious Relationships and extremely casual sex. I've slept next to guys on the first date, had sex on the first date, allowed no more than a cheek kiss, dispensed with the date-concept all together after kissing the guy on the way to his car, fucked a couple of close friends and, more rarely, slept with a guy I didn't care if I ever saw again. Are any of these the reason I'm not in a relationship? Probably not. I'm mostly not in a relationship right now because I haven't met someone that care to be that involved with. And, at this age, if some guy doesn't care for my behavior or my past, well, that's all on him. If you want to date someone who would read (and agree) with a book like Sexless in the City or Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both, you and your blue balls shouldn't be buying me that drink.

Clark-Flory, on the other hand, well, she sounds like a fun person to have a drink with. Actually, that might be why I'm single — I'd rather have a drink or 5 with a cool person than sit around picking at a nice dinner with the marriage-minded guy my mom would like who bores me to tears. Call me crazy.

In Defense of Casual Sex [Salon]