What is it about casual sex that gets us so worked up? Why are there so many people looking for sex without the usual commitments of a relationship? And why is there so much judgement about casual hookups as being a shameful thing to look for?
There are a lot of complex answers to all of these questions. Traditional relationships, especially monogamous ones, usually include a lot of controlling restrictions that make people feel limited and unfulfilled. At the same time, few couples have enough trust and communication skills to really talk about what each person truly wants. Is it any wonder that these relationships aren't exciting for people?
And so with that backdrop, it's no wonder people love the idea of a relationship that has none of the restrictions and responsibilities, but all of the fun and pleasure. And it's also not surprising that others judge this type of connection: they've been programmed to believe that you shouldn't be able to have the good parts without also committing to the less-than-fun parts.
There are lots of ways to improve a committed relationship, all starting with building a foundation of trust, as well as open and direct communication channels. This may lead to tweaking a monogamous relationship so more of your needs are being met, or maybe you'll go so far as to open your marriage. But just because there are ways to make your committed relationship better doesn't mean that casual encounters aren't also a valid way to meet your needs.
One of the biggest misconceptions about casual sex is that you can only get it through one-night stands and with people you hardly know. While this is a valid option, it's far from the only way, and isn't the model that most people prefer. There is a solid middle ground between near-anonymous encounters and full-fledged enmeshed relationships: ongoing connections with people who you enjoy spending time with, who become good friends, and where you also have incredible physical chemistry.
In other words, friends with benefits. For some reason, it's common to downplay the "friends" part of this kind of relationship, but it's quite common for people to build up a great collection of friends who they also have sex with. These friendships come with none of the restrictions or obligations of a traditional relationship, but are also not one-night stands where you hardly know the other person's name.
For many people, friends with benefits are the ideal way to have all the casual sex they want. Friends with benefits can have a lot of affection, caring, and even love for each other, but these feelings do not mean the two people end up living together, getting married, or combining their lives together in any other way. They may do things together that aren't just sexual--sharing a meal at a restaurant, going to a sporting event, or even traveling together. But there remains no obligation to otherwise change the trajectory of your life for your friend's sake.
So when you're out there seeking casual encounters, keep in mind that your best chance of having amazing, ongoing casual sex is by finding people who you can really become friends with. Imagine what your sex life could be like if you had a whole bunch of wonderfully compatible, hot, sexy friends.