I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure out what I want out of polyamory. I think I’ve gotten one step closer by ruling out one thing I don’t want – casual sex.
With my new “sex positive” outlook on life, it was hard for me to determine exactly what it was about that phrase that bothered me. I didn’t have a problem with phrases like “no strings attached” or “no expectations” or “no promises” – it was just the word “casual” that made me uneasy.
“I’m looking for a casual, open relationship,” a young man I met on Tinder messaged me a few weeks ago. “When I speak of being casual, I’m very serious about it. I’m not looking for any sort of serious commitment.”
I appreciated his honesty, and told him that was perfect, because I wasn’t looking for any “serious commitment” either.
“With that said, I would love to make love to you,” he immediately followed up.
Wow, I thought. I couldn’t quite decide how I felt about the proposition. In a way I admired the frankness and forwardness. But as he re-asserted his intentions multiple times over the next couple of days leading up to our date – asking me to send “sexy pictures” of myself (which I do not own) and pressing me to give him an idea of what his chances were – I quickly became annoyed.
I backed out just hours before the date, telling him I couldn’t go through with it and messaged the not-pushy, shy Southerner, as I’ve been referring to him. I think from now on I’ll call him “Appalachia” or “Mountain Man.” I’d made tentative plans with Appalachia for that same Thursday night, but had left him hanging for Mr. Casual.
“I know this is so rude to ask you this so last minute, but are you still free tonight?” I asked Appalachia. He gracefully accepted my plea to salvage my evening off of baby duty, and we had a really nice time – no expectations, no strings attached.
Appalachia and I were supposed to go out a second time last Thursday, but he got really sick, so we’re going to try again next week. We both happen to be going camping – separately – this weekend and were text messaging about it tonight. I told him I didn’t know how fun my camping trip would be because the only place to bathe there is a lake.
“I can think of all kinds of fun things to do with you in a lake,” he wrote.
“You’re probably much better at camping than I am,” I replied, overlooking the “with you” part the first time I read it.
“Maybe…. but I’m real good at wet, naked, pretty women,” he said.
“Ha!” I said out loud, caught totally off-guard by his sudden boldness. Up until that point I’d barely been able to get two polite words out of him at a time. But unlike with Mr. Casual, I was totally not offended by Appalachia’s suggestive comments. In fact, they had me smiling all evening.
What was the difference between what he said and what Mr. Casual said? Basically, Appalachia knew something about me and Mr. Casual knew nothing. Appalachia had at least been curious enough to read my blog, while Mr. Casual said nothing about it. Appalachia had the guts to invite me out on a real date, instead of trying to divert me straight to his bedroom. Appalachia met me in person, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, and had a real conversation with me, as opposed to sending me a picture of his penis. We had real chemistry, not imagined, virtual chemistry. And not once has he told me how serious he is about being casual.
Like me, he seems open to whatever may come from our meeting. It may be just a second date – it may be a third. It may be one wild night – it may be a spontaneous connection whenever we cross paths. But I’ll tell you one thing it’s not going to be – it’s not going to be casual.
The dictionary defines “casual” as “done without much thought, effort or concern” or “seeming to be indifferent to what is happening, apathetic.” Defined that way, I can’t see why anyone would want to have “casual” sex. Who would want to unite body and soul with someone who wasn’t giving it “much thought, effort or concern” or who was “indifferent” to what was happening?
To me, sex is a sacred, mystical, magical act that should be engaged in passionately and wholeheartedly, whether it is with your wife or with a stranger you may never see again. It doesn’t have to be serious or solemn. It can be fun and playful. But not casual. Because to me “casual” seems like nothing, like flipping through magazine pages in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, like something you don’t really care about, like something you’re doing just for the sake of doing.
So, I’m still not sure exactly what I want, but I’m pretty sure it’s the opposite of casual.