Columns Lifestyle Relationships

Nice To Meet You, I’m A Slut!: Ask Me Anything!

How do you figure out if you want to be casual or serious in relationships, or stay entirely single?

Ah, yes, the age old question; we stare despairingly at ourselves in the mirror and demand to know “WHAT DO YOU WANT?”. With choices as limited as they are at the moment, it is even more difficult to work out what exactly it is we really want. Casual sex is pretty much off the table. Serious dating isn’t really possible either. Staying single seems like the most sensible thing to do during a pandemic, but that doesn’t help us work out what we want long-term.

When faced with complicated lifestyle choices, in which the decision-making is entirely based on emotional rather than empirical data, I like to make lists. Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, or maybe it’s the raging undiagnosed anxiety, but I find lists to be a therapeutic and effective way to sort my thoughts. It also forces you to ask yourself “what would I gain from casual relationships?”, “what sacrifices would I need to make for a relationship?”, “am I happy being single? If not, why not?”. It brings up all the questions that are so important to consider when determining future and present lifestyle changes!

What advice would you give someone with no experience of casual sex (or sex at all for that matter) in getting into a friends with benefits relationship with a fairly close friend?

Just like with any other kind of relationship: communication is key. In your case, as someone who is inexperienced, communication is especially key – but might also be especially scary. Normally I wouldn’t recommend FWB relationships since they so often complicate friendships, however a platonic foundation built on mutual trust might be a better place for you to start in exploring partnered sex! Communicating with friends should naturally be easier than communicating with strangers which will (hopefully) serve to reduce anxiety, confusion, or unpleasant sexual experiences.

Also, if your sexual experience is super limited, then it can be helpful to indulge in some solo sex (some serious wanking) so that you can get to know your own body a little better before entering into any new sexual relationships! I’ve found that sex becomes less daunting – and more enjoyable – when I have an understanding of what works and what doesn’t, because you can use this knowledge to assert yourself and your pleasure in the bedroom. Grab a mirror, cop a feel – don’t be shy!!

When talking to someone online, who always takes at least 3 working days to reply to messages, is it romantic suicide to simply reply straight away rather than join in the waiting game? My flatmates certainly think so.

As someone who is a Bad Texter myself, I don’t believe there’s any issue in replying immediately! It’s always best to assume that their 3-5 working day response time is down to them being genuinely very busy – not to do with waiting games. Although, I know what you mean; there is pressure to adhere to the unspoken rules of texting (particularly in the realm of dating). If they’re playing a game, that’s on them – you should simply reply as and when feels natural to you! It’s 2021; we shouldn’t still be worried about coming off as ‘desperate’ for prompt replies, double-texting, or any of the other texting no-nos.

If it helps: my slow replies are never a reflection on how I feel about the other person – they’re simply a symptom of my hectic life. The guy I’ve been seeing lately has always been a speedy replier – despite my own 12+ hour response times – but it never made me think ‘god, he has no life’, or ‘he’s desperate’. In fact, I just admired his ability to pick up the phone (it’s a green flag) whilst feeling a little guilty for my own snail-mail responses.

TLDR; don’t play the waiting game because life is short and we’re all too old for that shit now.

attempting casual sex with a flatmate and feeling ANXIOUS as fuck about it going wrong. Is it humanly possible to have a nice casual fling with someone you live with or no???

First year me would crucify anyone who started ~having relations~ with other people in college – let alone in their flat! However, times have changed – I’ve changed – and I understand that sleeping with someone in your flat does seem like the only Covid-safe gateway into sexual intimacy at the moment. I think if it’s bringing you a great deal of anxiety then it would be best not to, particularly because a casual sex relationship could complicate what might be a perfectly amicable housemate-relationship! I think, however, that it is humanly possible to have a casual fling with someone you live with so long as you are both to communicate clearly and honestly with each other as soon as things (feelings) crop up! However, proximity will likely make the relationship escalate faster than most casual relationships – and so you might find yourselves coming to a cross-roads sooner than you think. By ‘cross roads’ I mean the point casual relationships inevitably reach when you either stop before things ‘get messy’, or take the route down to a potentially more serious relationship.

First of all I adore your column haha!!!! Secondly, how do I not catch feelings. Like I don’t want to and know I shouldn’t and they definitely aren’t sat thinking about me constantly lmao. But I can’t help but over romanticise very casual sexual relationships.

First of all, THANK YOU! <3

I, too, am a chronic daydreamer. I’ll have sex with someone I vaguely like once and suddenly I’m envisioning what our kids might look like?! Honestly, I haven’t found suppressing my romantic thoughts and inclinations particularly helpful; it only makes me feel weirdly shameful about my overactive imagination and drastic long-term thinking. As soon as you identify that you are someone with a tendency to over-romanticise, or daydream, it becomes less scary when you catch yourself doing it about casual partners. I also find that, once the casual partner is out of my life, I quickly stop thinking about them – pretty much as though they never existed. This is because those daydreams, fantasies, and imaginary romantic rendezvous were all symptomatic of infatuation – not feelings per say. This doesn’t stop those feelings from seeming any less real at the time, but I think the distinction between infatuation and love is worth bearing in mind if you are worried!

With illustration by Emily Perkins (@emp3_art)

Alice Garnett

Alice is our resident sex columnist whose interests include pints, pink, and all things love-related. When she's not evangelising Singledom she's busy hyping up her East Midlands home town, demystifying bisexuality, and writing for other publications such as Lithium Magazine and Adolescent Content.