10 Important Things I Learned About Myself From A String Of Casual Encounters

I used to swear by casual encounters. After all, what’s not to love about them? You find someone attractive, experience pleasure without too many questions, and then leave whenever you want — no strings attached, no drama. Recently, my perspective has started to shift and I’ve realized some important things about myself and my approach to intimacy and relationships.

Casual encounters gave me a false sense of superiority.

At clubs and bars, there are dozens of attractive people to choose from. I used to think of hookups like competition — it was me against all the others. Every time I brought someone home, I felt like I’d won something. Casual encounters made me feel like I was better than everyone else and it wasn’t until recently that I realized this is absolutely not true. In fact, I was probably the stupid one who picked up people just to boost my low self-esteem. I needed to work on the way I saw myself and sleeping with a stranger wasn’t going to help at all.

I need to be smarter about my health. 

Casual encounters are very animalistic. I’d lock eyes with someone across the crowded dance floor and next thing I knew, we were awkwardly doing it in the bathroom until the bouncer kicked us out. As you can imagine, using protection was the last thing on my mind in this situation. As my level of maturity rose (thankfully), I realized the importance of reproductive health and I vowed to never again be caught without protection.

I do like emotional attachment, after all. 

The beauty of casual encounters is that I didn’t have to invest any emotions. But what’s so wrong with emotions? Why is it bad that I get butterflies in my stomach every time I see someone I like? We tend to see feelings as something that makes us weaker, but in fact, they make us human. Negating my feelings reduces my chances of happiness and I won’t do it anymore.

Random sleeping around diminished my self-esteem. 

There are two sides to every casual encounter — one dominates the whole thing and the other feels used. It may have felt great when I was the one initiating a hookup, but when it was the other person’s idea and they left me at 5 a.m. like a used Kleenex, I couldn’t help but feel worthless. When casual encounters started making me feel used, I knew it was time to stop.

I don’t really like sleeping alone. 

I like to snuggle — who doesn’t? I also like to wake up next to someone and go get brunch. We don’t have to be crazy in love, but I do enjoy the company. Casual encounters could never give me that. After all, their whole purpose was to never have to see that person’s face again. In my mid-twenties, I’d like to wake up next to someone who makes me feel good and won’t bolt in the middle of the night.

I need a partner, not just a quick lay. 

To me, relationships are like business partnerships with the added bonus of pleasant emotions. My ideal partner has ambition, is a good negotiator and a self-starter. I like leaders because I strive to be one. Yes, intimacy is important, but what’s more important to me is to have strong support in my daily life. I’d like to encourage my partner to reach his goals and receive equal treatment. I’m not an animal, so I need a relationship with purpose, not just a quick lay.

Emotions make for better love-making.

I’ve never enjoyed sex with a casual encounter as much as I do with an S.O. Rolling on autopilot, I was hooking up with randoms out of boredom or to make sure I still had “it.” To be honest, the best intimacy I’ve ever had was with people I’ve dated. They say that practice makes perfect and it’s true. With time, I learn what my partner likes and the other way around, so we can bring ultimate pleasure to each other. It also feels good to know that someone cares about me when he touches me. I want a partner who misses me even when they’re not turned on.

I can be super cold and I don’t like it. 

My first rule for casual encounters is to never show any emotion. I abide by it so strictly that sometimes I can become super cold. Seriously, I wouldn’t even look at the person the next morning when they were picking their things off the floor after a casual encounter. I could be a true savage and I resent myself for it. I’m normally a very warm, caring person and this intimacy-obsessed chick wasn’t me.

I was pretending to be something I’m not. 

On top of being cold, casual encounters also made me super indifferent, arrogant and sarcastic. I put on a show to show the guy who’s boss. It was an attempt to hide my vulnerability and definitely not how I would normally behave. When you stop feeling like yourself, it’s time to change the way you do things.

Casual encounters took me farther away from my goal.

Casual encounters can be fun, but they have an expiration date. I want to find a compatible partner and feel happy with him. What casual encounters did to me was distract me from this ultimate target. Every time I took a stranger home, I was moving farther away from someone I might really hit it off with. Now, I choose to stop wasting my time and begin going after my real goal.

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