Can Casual Sex Turn Into Love? A Guide To Navigating Your Feelings

a year ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Hookup apps such as Tinder make it so easy to find casual sex. Many singles are looking for more than something casual, though - some are looking for love. Can those casual hookups turn into something long lasting and romantic?

Why does casual sex feel so great?

“When we orgasm, we release an amazing cocktail of hormones. The male cocktail leans more in the direction of Serotonin which makes them feel really awesome! Women on the other hand, have quite an Oxytocin heavy cocktail. This is the hormone for deeper love and connection.” Louella York, Escort

When surveyed, 73% of Winq voters believed casual sex can turn into love. 76% of those who voted yes were women.

“Casual sex can very easily lead to feelings of bonding and love, and the desire for something more long term. Even making out and cuddling can cause a person to fall in love in this way. So, in terms of chemical changes in the brain, intercourse is rarely simply casual in its emotional effects.” David Bennett, Dating Coach

The difference between a long term relationship and casual sex

Casual sex with that hot friend or workmate can be very different from the experience of having a relationship with the same person. Casual sex might feel thrilling because it is new or because it feels risky (do you indulge in NSFW activities in the office bathrooms, for example?). But, can you see yourself snuggling on the couch with this person? Would you like to browse the veg aisle of the supermarket with them of a Sunday? How would you feel about sharing your emotions or your aspirations with them? If, after considering these questions you realise you like them more for their body and for the sex, it may be best to keep things casual.

The difference between sex and intimacy

Many couples would agree that sex and intimacy are not the same thing. Whilst a successful long term relationship almost always involves high degrees of trust and intimacy, you can have the hottest casual sex ever but never feel emotionally intimate with your partner. On the other hand, casual sex can also feel incredibly intimate. All that matters here is being aware of the distinction between the two. How would you feel about being emotionally intimate with the person you are having casual sex with?

“Even as a sex worker I have had some pretty emotionally moving moments whilst having sex with clients. Intense and strong, heart opening and beautiful moments of connection and erotic bliss.” Louella York, Escort

The importance of honesty

Avoid making assumptions about what your hookup is thinking. The fact that you have great sex might automatically make you think you'd be wonderful together as a romantic couple. Your casual sex partner might not think the same thing. If you are ready to see if they want to make the transition from casual sex to relationships, meet to chat with them somewhere neutral. Be honest about how you are feeling and encourage them to be honest too. Discuss what you want in the future, how you feel about where you both are now, and whether you would both like to become a long term item. Respect their opinion and make it clear that they should respect yours.

“I make a practice of cultivating and enjoying and sharing that beautiful open hearted, sexually fulfilled, yummy glow with others around me. I do not project my internal experience of feeling love onto the casual sex partner. I just enjoy it as a gift for myself. That is all.” Louella York, Escort

What to do after you've discussed the matter

If you decide to be in a relationship - good luck! A long term relationship will require you making this person more fully part of your emotional life than they have been. If you decide you do not want to be in a relationship, there are two main options. You can keep things casual, though this may be hard if one of you wanted a relationship and the other didn't. Or, you can decide to end the casual sex then and there, appreciating it for the beautiful and fleeting thing that it once was. You may end up becoming firm friends for life.

Decide what you want

Navigating the world of casual sex is all about knowing what you want, being honest about your desires and thoughts, maintaining boundaries, respecting others and accepting nothing short of total respect from them. Transitioning to a relationship will involve shifting some boundaries, but honesty and respect remain crucial.

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