Can You Pursue Love But Still Keep Having Unattached Sex?

Can You Pursue Love But Still Keep Having Unattached Sex?

I recently got an email from a former client of mine who is in her early 40's and very serious about finding true love. What complicates things is that this client has two big things going against her: 1) she's drawn to bad boys and 2) she's incredibly sexy. Put those elements together and you have a lot of short-term, passionate flings that burn out after a few weeks.

And although she's tried to put her bad-boy tendencies in the rear-view mirror, she's finding that holding out for a decent man who is committed to a future with her is, well, more difficult than she thought. In other words, she misses her affairs, misses having sex with a hot, unstable guy, and wants to know if she can do this while also pursuing something long-term. You may have wondered the same thing: what if I want BOTH things? Can I have them both? Does sleeping with a younger guy stop me from falling in love with an older guy? It's a fair enough question.

Let me begin by saying that rules are rules for a reason. You can choose to live by them, or you can choose to break them, but, for the most part, the results they produce are going to be somewhat predictable. So, as a rule, will men take you seriously if you “go there” right from the beginning? No, they will not. That’s why I recommend you don't sleep with any guy until he’s your boyfriend.

Men are usually sexual hypocrites who push you to have sex quickly and judge you for having sex quickly. Indulge them and you are unlikely to inspire confidence that you are “different” and that you don’t do this with “every” guy. I’m not saying it’s fair or right. I’m saying it’s real.

However, you probably already know that. What you’re concerned with is strictly feeding the beast that is your own libido. And frankly, I’m all for it. There is absolutely no contradiction between wanting to have some exciting, hot sex and wanting to find true, everlasting love. Both desires live within you and shouldn’t be ignored. I hooked up with a LOT of people on my way to marriage; some turned out to be girlfriends, most turned out to be random. I would never judge you for doing the exact same thing I did for ten years. BUT, (oh, come on, you knew there was going to be a ‘but’,) there are two things that merit your attention:

Every second you’re investing in the wrong guy is a second you’re not looking for the right guy. It’s not that there’s anything bad about playing around on the side while you pursue a relationship, it’s that if you’re juggling one or two booty calls on Tuesday and Saturday nights, when exactly are you making time for the potential keepers? That’s right: you’re not. The time and effort you put into pure sexual relationships could potentially be channeled into something that is, in the long-run, more productive.

You may want to be able to handle meaningless sex more than you’re actually able to handle it. It’s easy to theoretically have meaningless sex. It’s different when you’re intoxicated by the presence of a man, when you crave his touch and his attention, when you’re under the influence of oxytocin, which chemically bonds you to a man after intercourse. These are very real, very biological reasons that makes it far more difficult for women to sleep around. If you think you’re immune to these feelings, look back on your life at your more promiscuous days.

Were you happier?

Were you feeling better about yourself?

Did you end up falling for some of those guys in spite of yourself?

History tends to repeat itself, and only you can answer whether you’d actually like it to. All I can tell you is this: if you have an itch and you need to scratch it, go ahead. But if you keep scratching that itch over and over, eventually, it’s going to start to hurt.

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Take care of your libido, but don’t lose sight of your emotions in the process.