Casual sex usually gets a bad rap, though it doesn’t necessarily deserve its bad reputation. We are often told that casual sex is wrong and inappropriate, especially if you're a woman. Don't even think about being a woman with multiple partners, then you really earn a scarlet letter. When people think of casual sex, they think of endless partners, hotel encounters, and one-night stands. Yet, this isn't what casual sex always looks like.

Exploring casual sex is perfectly ok. While some people are cautious about it, many find it to be sexually gratifying. One of the great benefits of casual sex is that it allows you to discover what you like and what you don’t like. It also helps you figure out what works for you. When we have sex, it boosts our endorphins, which are our feel-good hormones. When we have sex with a new partner, there can be physical and emotional risks. The last thing you want to do is make a decision that will compromise your health and overall well-being. Here are five precautions to take if you’re having casual sex.

Safe Sex

Protection is a must. One of the biggest threats to having casual sex is unwanted diseases. You must protect yourself, stay safe and healthy. We know that know sex is ever 100 percent safe, but there are things you can do to put yourself in the safest situation possible. There are several options when it comes to protection from STDs and STIs. These include condoms and female condoms. They are recognized as barrier protection, as they keep you and your partner’s bodily fluids from getting in contact by creating a physical barrier between them. According to the National Health Service, when used correctly, every time you have sex, male condoms are 98 percent effective. You should talk about contraception with your partners. You don’t want to end up with any surprises for sure. This is why communicating about contraception methods with casual partners is a must. Always have condoms on hand so that if the moment calls for a little excitement, you’re prepared.

Be Aware

Be aware of your surroundings. You also shouldn’t go anywhere unprepared. Before you step out to go on your date and meet up with the person you plan to hook up with, make sure that you know where you’re going, and you let someone else know as well. If you’re traveling to meet up with someone, it may be a wise idea to schedule check-ins via text or phone. Share your location with them. This way, if someone doesn’t hear from you, they can give your location. It’s probably a good idea to meet in a public place and go on a few dates before you decide to hook up with this person. This way, you get to know the person a little better. You must be staying safe in all ways.

Get Tested Regularly

If you’re hooking up with multiple partners, you must be getting tested regularly. A good practice is setting up a regular testing schedule. This helps you stay on top of your health while also protecting the person you’re hooking up with. You’d be surprised how many people you’ll meet who don’t get tested often or never get tested at all. Also, make sure the person you’re hooking up with actively gets tested too. It’s important that you’re comfortable having the conversation about testing, even with the person you’re having casual sex with. If something bad does happen, at least you can take the proper steps to ensure that you recover with as few consequences as possible.

Be Mindful of Alcohol Consumption

It’s common to have a drink when you meet up with a hookup to relax, unwind, or even have some fun. It’s super important that you are careful and mindful of your consumption, particularly when you’re drinking with someone you’re not familiar with. Drinking too much can expose you to unnecessary risks. Know your limits, and don’t get past them. We’ve all heard if a bartender or server doesn’t hand you a drink directly, think twice about it. That’s for a good reason. It’s for your safety. If you don’t see the person making your drink, it’s very easy for something to get slipped in it without you even realizing it. Sexual assault is a real thing you have to be on guard of. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced sexual or physical assault from an intimate partner.

Take Care of Yourself

You must be taking care of your emotional and physical health. Casual sex can tell you a lot about your wants and needs. For some people, they find casual sex to be a form of sexual expression. Others struggle with more casual hookups. You must check in with yourself, not only before sex but also during and after sex. Be sure that you are making the right decisions for you. If anything makes you uncomfortable in the process, take a step back. These decisions are consensual ones, which also make you feel happy, confident, and fulfilled. If you’re feeling anything other than the three words listed, casual sex may not be a good decision for you.

Casual sex and casual relationships are normal. They work for those who are not looking for a ton of commitment or the demands of a long-term relationship. They also work for those who have incredibly busy lives. Many people who engage in casual sex, particularly as young adults, will eventually move to long-term partnerships and marriages later in adult life. Yet, casual sex isn't off-limits for older adults. Many mature men and women find comfort in these sorts of relationships. If you are not interested in a long-term, committed relationship right now, a casual relationship can fulfill your need for sexual pleasure and intimacy. Consider where you are physically, mentally, and emotionally to determine if a casual relationship is right for you.

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