The upside to casual sex

Apr 3, 2015, 10:16 IST

For too long now, casual sex has been made out to be the villain, banished from fairytales that gush about happily-ever-afters. But Rajashree Balaram finds that a no-strings-attached session in the sack has all of the thrill of good sex with none of the drama of ‘true love'.


Animals are happily oblivious to the concept of casual sex. For them, sex is just another urgent biological need. We, on the other hand, have dressed up sexual pleasure with all the fripperies we could find on the road to evolution. We made sanctity and emotional investment mandatory to the act. In Indian society, sex that doesn’t include the aforementioned social and psychological check-in baggage is scorned upon. Sex without the attendant fairytale of ‘forever’ gets derisively labelled as casual sex. Men who practise it are playboys and women who do deserve every bad thing that comes to them. And yet we are still going at it like unrepentant bunnies.

Says photographer Rekha Sharma, “When I am hooking we are not expecting anything else from each other, so saying or doing the right thing outside of the bedroom doesn’t weigh on our minds. There is no room for argument over personal choices, career goals, bills, ego dyanmics, etc, like you would in a committed relationship. So you are a lot less constrained.”

While each one of us is entitled to choose what works best for us when it comes to intimacy, it is also true that richer personal growth is shaped by being open to new perspectives. A recent paper published by New York University claims that a one-night stand can leave people quite richly rewarded. Volunteers who participated in the study kept a 12-week diary on how they felt after casual sex. The findings revealed lower stress and higher self-esteem and satisfaction with life.

Closer home, too, there are women who root for the pros of casual sex.“It’s the sense of pure abandon and absence of any judgement. In no strings attached equation, I don’t feel any inhibitions when it comes to exploring my sexual fantasies,” says engineering student Reena Sharma.

Graphic designer Nishka Kumar has renewed respect for casual sex though she has spent a lifetime condemning it. “I hooked up with a friend one night. He was on his way to the US and I was nursing my wounds after my boyfriend called off a four-year relationship. I felt like a slut the next day. But after the frenzy of self-agellation subsided, I realised I had enjoyed everything we did. I had felt desired because I remembered how he couldn’t have enough of me.” Nishka and her friend got into a friends-with-benefits arrangement for a few weeks, during which she entertained the idea of a relationship.“But I also realised that I was trying to cast our sexual energy into a mould that was dictated by society and not something that I wanted for myself.”

In her book Flirt Fearlessly, author Rachel DeAlto says an honest assessment of your needs and beliefs can play a decisive role in what you reap out of a casual affair: “To make the most out of casual sex, you need trust, reasonable expectations and clear communication.You need to know that the experiences will stay between the two of you and that you are in a safe zone.” Go into the experience fully aware of your actions and not drunk, so there is no scope for a potential blame game. And above all, never let that one warning sign in your head fade no matter how unbearable your passion—use protection.