Sex is all I needed at the time, so sex was all I was going to allow myself to get.
After the emotional rollercoaster that was the four-and-a-half-year relationship with the Big to my Carrie, I was absolutely over being with someone — but I was not over being under them.
Towards the end, I told him I wanted to just be f*ck buddies, but he wanted all of me. I should have been happy he didn't just want my body, but being with him had taken such a toll on me that I really just needed someone to pleasure my physical side while I focused on fixing the mental side.
The one major life lesson I took from my time with him was learning how to date like a man: no emotions necessary. They were inconsistent and they confused things; I wasn't able to see clearly and make rational decisions when they were involved, which is what led me to take a year off relationships and focus solely on casual sex.
The whole concept of casual sex has actually always baffled me, since I feel there is nothing more intimate — and not casual at all — than sex. But sex is all I needed at the time, so sex was all I was going to allow myself to get. Here's what I learned.
1. My body is perfect just the way it is.
For years I truly believed men only wanted skinny, tall model-types. Other women used to compliment me on my Marilyn Monroe-style body, but I used to be ashamed of my curves and my lack of height. But in my year of casual sex, I learned how to love myself in my own skin and stop caring what men thought. After all, the only thing they really cared about was how I used my body to their advantage.
2. Sex is more fun when it's spontaneous.
Whenever I've been in a relationship, I've found out how easy it is for things to get stale. All of a sudden, I find myself rolling my eyes when my man asks for sex (because I've stopped kissing him, legs wide open, with nothing but his T-shirt on), while opening my diary to schedule a 15-minute quickie on a Saturday morning, because then I've got the rest of the weekend to "get real sh*t done."
Losing spontaneity could result in losing a great catch; googling "spontaneous sex ideas" and releasing inhibitions will go a long way in helping prevent that from happening.
3. Experimenting is not something to be ashamed of.
Knowing I'd probably never see that one-night stand ever again was strangely liberating. Men on the search for casual sex are pretty much up for anything, so it presented the perfect opportunity to try some kinky stuff, and I allowed guys the same courtesy. I gave most things a go, and I kept the great things in my repertoire to use again in the future.
4. Long-term partners should be appreciated.
I'm lucky enough to never have gone more than three months without a sexual encounter, but some of my less-fortunate friends have gone longer than three years. Something I've learned from them is that, when you've nabbed a good lover, you should hold on to them for as long as you can.
5. Don't rely on others to get you off.
When I've been in healthy relationships, the guy has never let me leave without climaxing, even if he finished long before. There isn't as much patience in casual sex encounters, which brings me to my final and most important lesson: the only person you can rely on in life, and in sex, is yourself. Explore your body and know what gets you off. That knowledge will help on lonely winter nights.
Arie Fontana is all about love, sex and crazy #lifegoals. Though she currently lives in Sydney, she feels most at home in New York City, and will sleep with whoever she needs to to get there. Follow Arie onTwitter.
This article was originally published at SheSaid. Reprinted with permission from the author.