The Bachelorette isn’t the only one having casual sex!
Casual dating can lead to casual sex.
If you're a Bachelor nation fan, then you probably saw the drama unfold on The Bachelorette over the past two weeks when Kaitlyn Bristowe slept with a contestant, Nick, prior to the fantasy suite dates (because we all know what really happens on those overnight dates)!
For those of you who do not share my guilty pleasure, the basic premise is that 25 men sign up to date one woman. Though you may never be in a real life situation where you have to juggle that many suitors, the reality is that many people choose to date casually.
How do you handle intimacy when you're not in an exclusive relationship? Do you have an obligation to tell your partners that you're dating, and potentially sleeping with other people?
The thing is, not all relationships are going to progress at the same speed, which means you may be ready to take it to the next level with one person, but not the other.
Due to Kaitlyn's "indiscretion," The Bachelorette is switching things up this season—typically the couples go on hometown dates to meet the parents prior to having any "off camera" (aka hook up) time.
However, in real life, people have often slept together before introducing each other to their future in-laws. You can't judge the timeline in a relationship unless you're the one in it. It should feel comfortable for both partners.
In this day and age, hook up culture is the norm. With online dating, it's easy to have a constant flow of matches and be tempted to explore your options. Whether "exploring" means engaging in physical intimacy, that's for you to decide because sexual activity is a very personal preference.
If Kaitlyn fesses up to the other men about her intimacy with Nick, then it's their choice to decide if they want to continue dating her.
I believe that nothing is wrong with testing out your physical relationship—in fact, affection, such as kissing, caressing, and working your way around the bases is a natural part of developing a healthy relationship.
A successful partnership requires both emotional and physical intimacy, which creates a strong connection.
The issue with dating and potentially sleeping with multiple partners at the same time—besides the risk of spreading STDs—is hurting them. Once sex is involved, people can get more attached and feel more emotionally invested and vulnerable.
In casual dating relationships, opinions vary about sexual etiquette and when it's ok to sleep with someone. Let's review a few of your options:
The monogamist only dates one person at a time, which means there is only sex with one person at a given time
The Serial Dater
The serial dater dates multiple people at a time. You can date multiple people until you're ready to be sexually active with only one. Then either end the other relationships or put them on hold (knowing these people may walk away) while you explore sexually with just one partner.
If you're already having sex with one partner, but decide that you'd like to be intimate with someone else, end the sexual relationship with the first person (then get tested)! If you're sleeping with multiple people at the same time, use protection and be honest and upfront that you're having sex someone else.
Here are some basic guidelines to follow when being intimate with multiple people:
- Be safe. Use condoms and birth control methods.
- Do not tell your partner that he or she is the only one if that's not true.
- Get on the same page—if you're not ready to be exclusive, but you're ready to have sex, talk this idea through with your partner first. He or she might not be cool with it, in which case you have to respect his or her opinion, or be prepared to define the relationship.
- Never assume that the person you are dating is not seeing other people unless you have directly discussed and agreed upon exclusivity
At the end of the day, people are in different stages of dating and are looking for different things—some want a carefree fling, while others are looking for marriage material to settle down.
For dating to remain fun for everyone, it's important to be honest, talk about how you're feeling before engaging in sexual activity, and make sure you're in agreement about a casual or exclusive relationship.
Samantha Burns tackles all things love—breaking up, dating, how to be a happy couple, and coping with infidelity. Read more love blogs and get personal support from Samantha at www.lovesuccessfully.com and follow her on Facebook or Instagram.