How Relationship Sex Differs From Casual Sex

Casual sex might not be for everyone but it has a lot of advantages. It’s no-strings-attached fun and it can improve your self-esteem, which is good if you’re not looking for anything serious. But relationship sex is different in many ways. Here’s how.

  1. It’s on a whole new level of intimacy. Sex is very intimate, except when you’re doing it with someone who you have no feelings for. Even though it might be hot and exciting, there’s rarely a connection between two complete strangers. Relationship sex is more than pleasure, it’s about the emotional side too. There’s the eye contact, the “I love you’s” and the familiarity that you wouldn’t have with a stranger.
  2. There’s less awkwardness and embarrassment. Let’s be honest, having sex with someone new for the first time is awkward AF, especially if you don’t know each other very well. There’s usually a lot of fumbling and painfully agonizing silences while you both look each other up and down and decide whether you like what you see. That’s usually how it goes, anyway. When you have sex with your long-term partner, it feels completely natural. All of the embarrassing stuff is out of the way so you don’t have to worry or feel self-conscious about how you look. Your partner knows your body inside and out and you know theirs – that’s what makes it so much more intimate.
  3. They genuinely care about your pleasure. Chances are, when you have sex with a stranger they really don’t care if you leave feeling unfulfilled. If they got what they wanted, then why would they worry about you? After all, it’s not like there are any feelings there. When it comes to sex in a relationship, your partner cares about you and they want to make you happy. They’ll make the effort to make sure you’re satisfied at the end of it, instead of leaving you feeling deflated.
  4. After a while, nothing is too embarrassing. When you’re having sex with a stranger, things like the condom splitting or coming off can be painfully awkward and it almost makes you want to stop, run out of there and hope that you never see them ever again. With a long-term partner, you’ve probably experienced every awkward situation you could possibly have during sex. You’ve grown so comfortable with each other that literally nothing you do could scare them away.
  5. Sex is better when it’s with someone you care about. Don’t get me wrong, casual sex can be amazing if there’s already a connection there but most of the time it’s a one-time thing and you never see that person again. Having sex with someone you’re in love with is one of the best feelings. It’s passionate, emotional and the chemistry is on a whole new level.
  6. You don’t compare. If you regularly have casual sex, you’ll probably find yourself comparing one person to another and rating their performance. You might not intend to do it but you’ll also start criticizing yourself as well, wondering why the sex was better with person A than person B. In a relationship there’s no need to compare as you only have that one person to think about and to be honest, that’s what makes it so great.
  7. Sex isn’t the most important thing in a relationship. Sure, sex is really important and it can make or break a relationship but it’s not the only thing keeping you together. When you have something casual, you meet up with the sole purpose of having sex. There’s no deep conversations or “how was your day?” and sitting down to eat together, it’s just about the release of emotions. If you meet your FWB and don’t have sex, you’d feel like there was something wrong and you’d probably never see them again. In a relationship, you could go a few days without having sex and not even think twice about it.
  8. The sex just keeps getting better and better. Even though sex in a long-term relationship can get repetitive and you might find that you haven’t had sex in over a week, it doesn’t have to be like that. The great thing about relationship sex is that you get to try different things with each other, experiment, find new positions – you grow with that person and learn new things about them.
  9. You don’t have to worry about getting emotionally attached. A lot of people avoid casual sex because they’re afraid of getting feelings for someone they’re not supposed to. If the agreement is “no strings attached” then it’s unlikely to change and getting attached would be setting yourself up for disappointment. But sex is intimate, so there’s a chance that you might find yourself getting too emotionally invested in your FWB and when that happens, you’re screwed.
  10. Sex is more than just an activity. With casual sex, that’s all it is – casual. That usually means no talking, no cuddling and no staying around after. Sure, it’s fun and you both get what you want out of it but sometimes, you crave intimacy with someone familiar. That’s why relationship sex is so great – you don’t part ways after a quickie, you lay there cuddling, listening to the sound of their heartbeat and talking about future plans. It makes sex more meaningful.
Coralle is a freelance writer with an interest in relationships, women's health and parenting. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching new Netflix shows and spending time with family.