(404) 874-8536 johnballew@gmail.com

Casual Sex

You try to behave.  You’re boyfriend is a handsome guy, and reasonably good in bed.  The sex you’re having is pretty good.  You keep telling yourself to behave like a responsible guy and not get into trouble.  But you can’t get this blond guy from the gym out of your mind….

Or you’re single and you’ve decided that this time you’re going to keep your pants on until you find the right guy.  But you still find yourself drawn to cruising online, looking for that perfect next encounter – or at least a fun way to spend a few hours.  You wonder: is it fun, boredom or a bad habit?

Casual sex, sport sex, sex with strangers.  Whatever you call it, the appeal of it is undeniable for many guys, even those who are drawn to relationships.  This has led some people to decide that all men are pigs.

It’s not fair to call us pigs, but it is reasonable to call us animals.  Part of the reason casual sex can be so enjoyable may be our genetic programming.  For the evolutionary success of a species, it’s good to have as much reproduction as possible.  Some sexologists have speculated that this is the reason why many men have the urge to spread their genetic code (in the form of sperm) as widely as possible.  New partners really do bring out the animal in us!

When we first connect with someone new, our brains produce a chemical stew that includes dopamine, norepinephrin and phenylethylalamine.  That’s a potent high, producing a rush that makes many of us feel energized and more alive.  The novelty of seeing a guy naked for the first time, of feeling his body and experiencing his touch, creates a powerful sexual rush.

Biology impacts our sexuality, no doubt about it.  Just the same, human beings are not dogs in heat – at least not all the time.  Psychological stuff has at least as much impact as biology when it comes to our sexual motivations.

Casual sex can be a way of seeking to connect with another person in a way that’s reassuring, comfortable and fun.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of wanting contact with another warm body.  Touch is important, and sex is one way men touch each other.

The gay male community has a history of valuing sex as one way we affirm our identity.  Gay Pride parades with shirtless hunks and leather-clad bad boys are often celebrations of our sexual selves.  When gay sex was illegal in many states of the US, there was a way in which having sex with another man was a sort of political act.

The sexual outlaw is something of an icon in our community.  John Rechy even wrote a book with that title.  The search for sex in public or semi-public places is something many of us have done.  The element of danger can become a powerful aphrodisiac, adding another hormonal hit to the stew inside our bodies.

Sometimes the urge for no-strings sex isn’t so simple.  To say that something is natural isn’t the same thing as saying it is good for you.  The urge for sex can become dangerous and self-defeating. Men who find themselves having sex mostly when they are intoxicated in one way or another are probably having bad sex – and are risking their physical health, too.  It’s easy to make bad decisions when you’re high or drunk.  A lot of HIV infection happens while the participants are messed up on alcohol or party drugs.  If being sexual only while in an altered state of consciousness becomes a pattern, there may be underlying guilt or shame about sex or having sex with men.  Getting high or drunk masks those feelings so that sex can happen.  Guys in this situation will be happier if they root out the underlying problems rather than rely on beer or X to distract them.

Men who have lots of sex because the secretly feel inadequate, lonely or anxious are also setting themselves up for long-term unhappiness.  If what you really want is to feel good about yourself, a blowjob is a poor substitute.  You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.

Sex and intimacy aren’t the same thing, although they are often confused in our culture.  Sex play is a poor stand-in for getting to know someone well.  A preference for casual sex can be a way of avoiding the terror that comes with settling down with one guy.

Really good sex requires us to figure out what we want and not get distracted, even when the distractions are really attractive.

About John

I have been  licensed by the State of Georgia as a professional counselor for more than 25 years.  My areas of specialty are relationships, intimacy, sexuality, anxiety and depression.  My passion is helping people build happier lives and stronger relationships. 

I know it isn’t always easy to talk about problems.  My approach to counseling is nonjudgmental and compassionate.  If you have questions, I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about working together.

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Whether you've worked with a therapist before or are exploring counseling for the first time, you probably have questions.  It is important to have the information you need to make a good decision when selecting a therapist.  I welcome your questions -- about your specific situation, about me or about my approach to therapy. Making things better can start with an email, or you can call me at (404) 874-8536.