Neither Casual Nor Serious

I have abandoned the binary framing of relationships that most men present to me. So if I don’t want Casual or Serious, what’s left?

First, let’s break this down. Most people describe what they’re looking for as either Casual or Serious, and these are presented as mutually exclusive. (Sometimes they reach for Poly as a way to do both. I have other thoughts and opinions about Poly, but that’s another story.)

Casual, meaning “not emotionally present or invested, maybe just for one night, just for fun.”

Serious, meaning “emotionally present and invested, while simultaneously judging your fitness for life-partnership.”

“Casual” becomes “Careless.”

“Serious” becomes “Confining.”

Instead, I’ve come to frame my interest in terms of what I require.

My requirements for engaging in intimacy are:

  1. Fun / Pleasure
  2. Respect
  3. Presence

These must be mutual. I and my partner must be having fun and experiencing pleasure. There must be mutual respect. We must both be present for the experience.

Presence is what makes emotional connection possible. Without it, you’re just masturbating with someone else’s body.

Fulfillment of these requirements means that each person must possess a measure of personal awareness, personal responsibility, and willing communication.

I have had glorious and satisfying sexual experiences with people I have known for a very short period of time. We enjoy and release each other, each feeling better off. No harm emotionally or physically.

It’s like magic.

This is only possible when my requirements are met.

A few years ago, I would not have believed such a thing was possible. I had been taught and bought into the Binary Framework: Casual (fun, but high risk and shallow) or Serious (less fun, more confining, but with the promise of long-term emotional connection and care).

My new way of relating is worlds better.

There are so many women I know who want a lot of satisfying physical experiences. They want delicious fucking, and they might not even want a long term serious relationship. They might enjoy you throughly and breathlessly tonight, and not really want to see you again once their appetite is satisfied. (Or, they may want to keep you as a pleasure partner and explore even more!)

I know many men who also feel the same way.

Both men and women lose out when they buy the Binary myth of Relating, rather than simply finding clarity about what they want and communicating it when it feels safe to do so.

Making the shift requires navigating a swamp of shame and cultural messaging about what “good girls” and “good boys” like and ask for.

It’s been wonderful discovering this new approach to relating. I’ve learned that when I share it with men, they often feel more relaxed around me and can safely open up about what they’re truly looking for — what mix of physical and emotional would feel good for them. And then we can either explore more deeply together, or we can high-five and wish each other well in our search for satisfying partnership with others.

Incidentally, these requirements are also true of people who are friends.

Essentially, it’s how I most enjoy being with others.

Even if we’re negotiating something kinky, these remain foundational.

When you feel safe, then you can explore the range of erotic nature and sensual pleasures, which might feel kind of edgy sometimes. It can be thrilling, yes.

But I’ve found it only truly exists beyond the binary of Casual or Serious.