Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me about casual sex.
“People talk about it being like sex without the sense of intimacy, but that doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s like talking about something being blue without being blue.”
I thought about it, and I thought about my own journey from being uncomfortable with casual sex to being comfortable with it. In retrospect, I think it was mostly a process of getting out of the habit of thinking of sex as being defined by the way I experience it in serious relationships. It took me a while to stop thinking, “This doesn’t feel at all like sex, so something must be wrong.”, to thinking, “No, not wrong, just really different.”
And then a silly analogy came to mind, which is basically why I am writing this post.
It’s like if you spent your entire life eating only food with meat in it, and then suddenly started trying things that were vegetarian. For a while, your whole reaction to vegetarian food is just, “Holy crap, there is seriously no meat in this!”. Every time you try something vegetarian, it’s just this visceral experience of the not-meat-ness of it. It’s weird. Something is missing; something that fundamentally defines your idea of food.
But you keep experimenting, because, hey, you’re in college. Eventually, your reaction evolves. After a while, you start noticing the other flavors. “Oh, I remember having this before. It had more beans in it the last time. Maybe I should add some more.” Over time, the lack of meat becomes much like the addition or subtraction of any other flavor. You can still objectively observe that this food has meat in it and that food does not, but it isn’t an overpowering or over-important awareness. It’s just another flavor. Maybe one that you really like, but not one that you need, and not one that is so fundamentally important that you can’t see things without it as food.
And that, dear readers, is roughly how I look back on my own journey to being comfortable with casual sex.