How best to meet girls for casual relationships?

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Post by reboot on Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:23 am

Hanging at home and doing "LTR/married" couple behavior is an even more mixed signal. Dating is early days and less serious since it is more out and about. Lounging around at home all the time strikes me as more settled and serious and kind of the thing you do before moving in together.

Of course a few stay in days are fine, but if it is the majority of the time....
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Post by eselle28 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:28 am

The Wisp wrote:
That's interesting. My first instinct would be to avoid date-like activities because that sets up a traditional relationship frame, and the other person would assume that I wanted more than I actually did; it's the first step on the relationship escalator. But I guess people don't make that assumption, or don't necessarily? I guess one could make their intentions clear pretty early with something like "I'm not looking for anything serious". But then, I wonder if that might come off as mixed signals if we're doing dinner and a movie but then keeping things non-committed and casual.

I'd say it's that anything more than a fuckbuddy who comes over late and leaves in the morning leaves room for the possibility your partner will misinterpret your intentions (and sometimes even then there are people who harbor hopes or are just a bit clueless!) There are plenty of mature relationships that consist of people hanging out in sweats and doing things one person likes too. All you can really do is clarify your intentions and occasionally check in with your partner.

When it comes to out of the house stuff, I might avoid dinner and a movie, if only because it's so expensive and cliche, but it doesn't hurt to suggest someone check out an exhibition or a show or grab coffee or food sometimes, or just to suggest the movie alone.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:00 pm

...Dammit, I really shouldn't have checked back on this thread right before work. It's bringing up all kinds of bad vibes. Sad

Alright, I have a lot of stuff to cover, will reply later this evening.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:49 am

Okay, I'm free to respond now.

Prajnaparamita wrote:...Does somebody else want to say it or should I...?

(Honestly I was waiting for esselle or reboot to say it, because they say it in a far more intelligent and articulate manner than I, but as nobody's said it yet I will.)

Don't refer to adult women as girls. It's creepy and insulting.

I am a woman around your age who is potentially interesting in casual sex, and if a guy was going around referring to me or other women as "girls" I would be giving a Side-eye and moving right along. So just don't.
...Of all the things I've heard in discussions about relationships, I've never heard the complaint that "girls" was an insulting term for adult women.  Neutral

Is this seriously a problem? Wouldn't this make the phrase "girls night out" insulting too? Keep in mind, I'm using it in the same spirit as "guys" for "men".

Dan_Brodribb wrote:This is a side-comment, but I wanted to note something I'm seeing on this thread, that I've seen before, namely, comments like:

The Wisp wrote:
I, too, am a risk-averse "kissless" virgin man with shut-in tendencies. I'm also not happy about it and would prefer a low-pressure casual relationship of the FWB or fuckbuddy variety.

BobTheNinja wrote:I also want to gain more experience socializing with girls and lose my virginity. I know that I want to start with a casual relationship (ideally friends with benefits) rather than a fully-committed romantic relationship

A lot of inexperienced guys seem to think a FWB relationship as an entry-level relationship. Like they'll get practice having sex and a little social practice and then they'll be able to move on to a "real" relationship.

First of all, this tends to read a little squicky. I can come back to that if you'd like, or maybe someone else gets the same feeling and would like to explain it.

But just from a more practical point of view, in my experience FWB and casual relationships require MORE, not less, amounts of social and sexual savvy to set up and maintain. They are a type of relationship that an inexperienced guy is LEAST likely to find opportunities for and one that requires the skills that he is least likely to possess.

When I hear guys talk about wanting to find a casual, low-pressure FWB situation to gain relationship skills, I'm reminded of the scene in Happy Gilmore where the beginning golfer decides instead of putting the work into learning to putt, he's just going to try and hit a hole-in-one every time.
Is it really THAT difficult? Because I've read online that FWB relationships are pretty common among young adults. And if it is more difficult compared to a standard committed relationship, why is that so?

Caffeinated wrote:
I was trying to find a way to say the same thing you just said. I love the Happy Gilmore example, that's spot on.

As for the squicky thing, I have thoughts on that. Basically, it can often sound like the guys saying these things are looking to get something for nothing. They want a young (and presumably attractive) woman to give them free access to her body for nothing. I hate looking at sex and dating and relationships in economic terms, but I feel like this calls for it. An attractive woman between the ages of, say 18 and 25, is desired by men of all ages. She has also been given cultural messages her whole life that the higher her "number" (of sexual partners), the lower her value as a potential partner (and as a human being, which makes the whole thing even squickier). Remember that Anna Faris movie a couple years ago? I think it was even called "The Number". The premise was this woman goes back through all her previous boyfriends hoping one of them is actually The One, because she can't afford to add any more to her Number.

So you have a situation where your hypothetical young attractive woman has many offers but a very restricted budget of how many she can accept before her value is reduced (squicky, I know). So, what exactly does she get out of any given encounter?

**One possibility is that she's already "lost all her value" (so squicky) and is selling her favors on the open market for hard currency. Typically, the guys looking for casual partners are aware that prostitution exists but have ruled it out.
I'm just going to put this out there right now, the concept that a woman's "value" is considered to be reduced by the number of partners she's had sex with is really goddamn messed up.

**Another possibility is she meets a man who she finds very attractive and she gets what anyone gets from an encounter with someone they're wildly attracted to. If you're posting on these forums, it's likely you don't consider yourself to be extremely physically attractive.
Not extremely, but I certainly don't think I'm ugly. I think I'm decently attractive, could look even better if I worked out more often.

**Another possibility is she meets a man who is fascinating, maybe he's an artist or a prominent figure in a field of interest to her or lives a glamorous lifestyle that she gets an exciting glimpse of. Again, if you're posting on these forums, it's likely you don't consider yourself to have this kind of fascinating persona that draws people in.

**Another possibility is she meets a man who exudes a warmth and friendliness that makes people feel good just being in his presence, and being around him makes her feel good about herself. This might be something you can work on, but again, posting on these forums suggests you don't feel you already possess this quality.

**Another possibility is she meets someone she clicks with and there's a chance of romance and true love. And here's the one that you're outright rejecting by insisting on a casual FWB basis rather than the possibility of an actual relationship.

So again, I would have to ask, what is this hypothetical woman going to get out of her encounter with you?

Also, there is nothing appealing about being asked if someone can use your body to grind out a few levels of XP before they move on to bigger and better things.
Prajnaparamita wrote:Look, as a woman when I read that (and yes, feel squicky as well) what I get is a message of "I want all of the sex and none of the work" which is a real turn off. I might be a little bit too harsh here, it could potentially be the case that the man in question has done a great deal of introspection about his relationship personality and feels he is aromantic or just not into the idea of closed relationships, which is totally cool but when it's the case that the person has also little to no relationship experience, and finds seeking out and cultivating relationships difficult or unpleasant it sounds like wanting sex without having to put any effort in.

This is extrapolating a bit further, (and please keep in mind that this is only how I personally read the situation--it isn't a comment on either of you, it's just an attempt to articulate how this makes me, and others, feel) but in my experience men who want sex without any effort are often one step away from those who believe they're entitled to sex.

I really don't want to say "you have to say you want this kind of relationship if you ever want to have sex", so please don't read it that way, I'm just trying to put my finger on why those lines just ping me the wrong way.
I'm assuming that there are women out there who would just want to enjoy ongoing sex without deep emotional entanglements. That's basically what I'm gunning for, so if our interests align on that point...why can't that work?

Let me be clear, I WANT to have sex, but I know it's not owed to me, nor would I approach a potential partner under the presumption that it is. It wouldn't be right, and I'd be very uncomfortable if anyone approached me assuming that I owed THEM sex.

But I'm not going to lie about my desires either. I'm just not keen on the idea of a committed, emotional relationship right now. I'd really prefer to keep it casual and just have fun.
The Mikey wrote:Bob-o, all I gotta say is this: a FWB deal* is not going to be what you expect with your lack of experience. I've not had a FWB thing before, but (and this is a huge butt) I know myself pretty gosh-darn well enough to know that I will get attached to this person emotionally if I sleep with them. I wouldn't want one until I knew what I was doing beforehand in an exclusive relationship.

In any event, if you're looking for a FWB deal, well, you're gonna need to accept and deal with the fact that you aren't going to be exclusive. There's the distinct possibility that she's may want to sleep with other dudes. This does NOT make her a bad person. In a FWB deal, this hypothetical woman understands that you too can also sleep with other women and she understands that you're not a bad person either for making that choice either.

Just keep that in mind if and when you get a FWB thing going. TBH, it sounds like it's way more trouble than it might actually be worth.
I have no problem with that. As long as we're both honest about our expectations from the beginning, if my hypothetical partner wanted to have sex with other people, that's completely their prerogative. My main concern is simply being in the relationship to begin with.

*  *  *

Anyway, I just spent half my workday stuck in a really bad funk, thinking about sex, dating, and my lack of experience and agonizing over all of it. I actually broke down and cried a couple times in private, and my managers and coworkers noticed (and offered support as well).

In a nutshell, my entire problem is that the emotional part of my brain won't fucking listen to the logical part of my brain, which KNOWS intellectually that my situation isn't nearly as hopeless as I feel it is. I keep getting hung up on the fact that most guys my age have already had sex by now, a bit over 85% from ages 20-24 according to the CDC. I feel like I've missed out on an awesome party that most people have enjoyed (and are still enjoying!), all because I followed my risk-averse tendencies and spent most of my free time enjoying familiar personal hobbies in my dorm instead of getting out and mixing it up with the student population. I have zero experience and now feel like I'm trying to play catchup.

And now that I'm out of college, I no longer have an omnipresent, common environment/community where people my age congregate. I live on my own, and aside from my coworkers, I have no regular social groups that I spend time with, and I don't know where or how I'm best supposed to meet women who may be interested in me. And when I think about approaching attractive women, I become afraid that I'll fuck up and make a fool of myself, possibly offending or creeping them out in the process. I know that I should expect rejection even in the best of circumstances, but the idea of committing effort to something that could fail many times before I succeed is deeply unappealing (not unlike job-hunting, I hate that too). It's much easier for me to just fall back onto hentai, cybersex, and my own perverse imagination.

And then there's my supremely unhelpful perception of sex as being difficult to obtain. Here's some of my choice negative thoughts on that subject:

1. I could try and ask a girl out in person, but I risk rejection in person, and I'm uncomfortable approaching strangers in real life. Fuck!
2. Online dating! I could tailor a profile to find a compatible partner. But what if none of the ones I like message me back? Fuck! (I've actually been trying this, no luck so far.)
3. Casual sex matchup sites like AdultFriendFinder! That's a dead ringer for what I'm looking for! But many of them cost money and could be scams (or at least, many of the profiles can be fake). Fuck!
4. Sex clubs! But wait, sex clubs for singles are apparently non-existent, the vast majority cater to swinging couples, and single men are at a significant disadvantage in that lifestyle. Plus I don't think I'm ready for that kind of thing yet. Fuck!
5. Prostitution! I could just pay for it without all the fuss and drama of flirting or dating. Except that it's very expensive AND illegal! Fuck!
6. I could just directly ask an attractive woman "would you like to have sex with me?". Except that's never going to work, you can't just ASK people for sex out of the blue like that! They'll look at you like you grew a second head! FUCKING DAMMIT!!

All of this has led to some a really nasty pattern of self-reinforcing negative thoughts and feelings about the prospect of finding a partner and losing my virginity. Almost every time I think about making it happen for real, I just...get sucked into this black hole of fear, anger, self-pity, and hopelessness. It's so bad that I can barely think about the good and fun that could come of trying to flirt with women, starting a relationship, and having sex. I had an especially bad reaction when a close friend of mine called me a couple weeks ago and told me they had lost their virginity...by talking to a random girl they ran into in the park, a conversation which then led to them having sex in that same park less than an hour later. It felt like the universe had played a cruel joke on me. Seriously, what the fuck.

Yes, I realize that most of these negative thoughts are false and extremely counterproductive to my goal of actually gaining experience with women and losing my virginity. They continue to persist anyway. And I'm very much afraid that this negative black hole could fuck up any effort to actually go out and interact with women, even if I did actually work up the motivation to go out and meet them.

So...yeah. I'm not in a good headspace about that stuff right now. And I don't know how to fix it. My manager, who talked with me about the issue today, said that I'm overthinking the entire issue. He may be right, because I've spent a LONG time thinking about sex and my emotional baggage about it, and that hasn't really helped me. In fact many times it seems to make it worse.

Perhaps the solution is just to ignore all of that bullshit and get out of the house to do fun stuff, get out of my own head and just enjoy interacting with people...but I'm still afraid that all that negativity could bite me at the worst moment and cause me to self-sabotage.

Have you guys noticed yet that fear and anxiety are very pervasive emotions for me? You know, just wanted to be sure, I was afraid I hadn't made that perfectly clear.
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Post by The Wisp on Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:01 am

Ooof, this sounds really rough man. With a few minor details changed, I could have written everything you've written. The part about missing out on a huge party? Hits me right in the chest. *hugs*

First, I think it's awesome that your coworkers were compassionate about this rather than assholes, it shows you're in a good working environment.

Have you considered therapy? It sounds like you have a lot of emotional issues and are, as you said in your other post on this forum, stuck in a rut. It's a lower risk thing that you can do to get some momentum going in your life. If you do, I'd recommend trying a few therapists before settling on one, as the chemistry between client and therapist is important.

As for getting out more, are there things you want to do out of the house that have social components, were you not anxious and afraid? Would you still want to do this these things if you knew in advance that you wouldn't meet any sexual partners at them?

But yeah, it's hard to meet sexual partners if you don't either have a certain personality type or certain kind of friend group where casual sex is common.
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Post by Herr R on Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:24 am

Bob, I totally get you %100. I can definitely say that I share the same feelings you do regarding trying to get the proverbial albatross off of your shoulders and wondering of perhaps my best shot would be going for a fuckbuddy sort of relationship. And I'm at least 10 years older than you! So on top of that, I feel like I have this giant clock ticking down until my 40th birthday, in which by then, I feel, that if I haven't had a relationship by then or at least had sex, then my life will basically become the plot for a sequel to The 40-Year Old Virgin.

It also doesn't help that there is a lot of conflicting opinions on what is best for older sex/relationship n00bs. Casual mostly sex flings or trying to go for your first proper romantic relationship at an age where most people in your age group have already settled down long ago and already have kids entering high school? I was told that since people rarely lose their virginity to people they are in a serious relationship with, then it would be best to go for something casual. Yet, now I'm hearing that maybe it's best to go for a more romantic relationship and yet, for me, now that I think about it, it actually makes sense in a way. After all, despite my hating myself for it, deep down I'm really a sensitive and affectionate guy who ultimately yearns to find his female counterpart whom is equal parts as bitchy as I am an asshole and happens to share a lot of the same thoughts, interests and desires that I do. Yet somehow I want to play catch up as well and do all the crazy sex shit that I've always fantasized about before I get too old to enjoy sex properly.

But the fun part is that I kinda wrote off the possibility of getting into more emotional relationships because I've come to the conclusion that unless my insecurities and anxieties magically disappear, then any possible relationship will end as soon as it starts. People say therapy is the answer. But those same people know that I have issues with the mental health industry and Big Pharma. Then there is my job and living situation which basically makes any chance at trying to develop a social circle from scratch and developing any hobbies and social interests beyond more solitary pursuits a cruel joke (Your Friday is my Monday and my schedule is highly unpredictable). Catch-22's all around.

I just wonder how you're coworkers came to know about your predicament. I'm glad they seem to be understanding. But aside from my immediate family and some family friends, my virginity and perpetually single status is one that I would never willingly share with anyone in meatspace and I've actually found myself stretching the truth or outright lying how many people I've been with when asked by my coworkers.

Anyway, if I remember correctly, Dan_Brodribb got into the game in his 30's. Maybe he can tell us his experiences in how he managed to pull off sex and relationships with a late start.

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Post by Hirundo Bos on Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:56 am

I'm sorry to hear about breaking down at work. Agree with Wisp though, sounds like you have a good working environment.

About this thread, I can see how it would be overwhelming... there's a lot of information, a lot of discussion, and the gist seems to that everything is more complicated than it looks. And in one way, it didn't really answer your question about how to meet potential casual partners. Although, in another way, maybe it did... maybe some time spent reflecting on why you want one kind of relationship rather than another, what you want to give and what you want to receive in that relationship, and what complications might arise, will all help you get a clearer aim, which helps the how.

I'm saying this partly because I think it might be that way in my own case... I'm also looking mostly for casual, or FWB kinds of relationships. And while I do have some past experience with sex and relationships, I don't think many of those can be transferred to the life I'm living now. I didn't have a good grip on things then. Actually, getting one is what I've been busy with during these many years where I haven't had sex. So I believe I'm at a place of relative inexperience. And I've come to much the same conclusion as many others in these thread: Casual relationships aren't really the lower difficulty-verison of commited. Now, I'm not sure they will necessarily be harder, only that they will pose their own set of difficulties. Much like any kind of interpersonal relationship will do.

In my own case, realizing this has made me reexamine what kind of relationship I want, and I've still ended up with much the same conclusion: For the time being, I'm mostly looking for the casual-to-FWB kind. But laying the belief that it would be easier aside, I've discovered certain other reasons for why this would be my preference. Which brings me back to my point: Examining my preferences has probably given me a better aim. I know more about what potential partners to look for, more about what to tell them if we meet. And I'm more likely to end up happy with what I find.
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Post by Enail on Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:01 pm

BobTheNinja wrote:...Of all the things I've heard in discussions about relationships, I've never heard the complaint that "girls" was an insulting term for adult women.  Neutral

Is this seriously a problem? Wouldn't this make the phrase "girls night out" insulting too? Keep in mind, I'm using it in the same spirit as "guys" for "men".

Some people mind it, because it's not really a true equivalent for 'guys' so much as for 'boys,' which is rather infantalizing. Some people don't mind it, and some it depends on context. If you don't know what the people you're around prefer, it's generally safer to go with "women." (And never use "girls" in professional or otherwise non-casual situations - if you'd use "men" rather than "guys," definitely use "women" rather than "girls")


For the rest of it, it sounds to me like your best bet would be your last idea, to try and go have fun socializing with people. Especially try to find a situation you can enjoy even if you don't hit it off with anyone, and one that does have women around. Since it sounds like you're quite anxious both about rejection and about being able to enjoy yourself socializing without negativity bringing you down, and since you don't have much of a social circle atm, I'd suggest spending a little while just getting comfortable being friendly with different people, including women, without putting pressure on yourself to ask anyone out or find a sex partner until you've got a bit more comfort navigating the social world more generally. Sometimes trying to rush yourself just lands up slowing you down!
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Post by BobTheNinja on Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:37 pm

Herr R wrote:Bob, I totally get you %100. I can definitely say that I share the same feelings you do regarding trying to get the proverbial albatross off of your shoulders and wondering of perhaps my best shot would be going for a fuckbuddy sort of relationship. And I'm at least 10 years older than you! So on top of that, I feel like I have this giant clock ticking down until my 40th birthday, in which by then, I feel, that if I haven't had a relationship by then or at least had sex, then my life will basically become the plot for a sequel to The 40-Year Old Virgin.

It also doesn't help that there is a lot of conflicting opinions on what is best for older sex/relationship n00bs. Casual mostly sex flings or trying to go for your first proper romantic relationship at an age where most people in your age group have already settled down long ago and already have kids entering high school? I was told that since people rarely lose their virginity to people they are in a serious relationship with, then it would be best to go for something casual. Yet, now I'm hearing that maybe it's best to go for a more romantic relationship and yet, for me, now that I think about it, it actually makes sense in a way. After all, despite my hating myself for it, deep down I'm really a sensitive and affectionate guy who ultimately yearns to find his female counterpart whom is equal parts as bitchy as I am an asshole and happens to share a lot of the same thoughts, interests and desires that I do. Yet somehow I want to play catch up as well and do all the crazy sex shit that I've always fantasized about before I get too old to enjoy sex properly.
I'm sorry that you're having some of the same troubles Herr, I hope we both find what we're looking for.  Smile

I just wonder how you're coworkers came to know about your predicament. I'm glad they seem to be understanding. But aside from my immediate family and some family friends, my virginity and perpetually single status is one that I would never willingly share with anyone in meatspace and I've actually found myself stretching the truth or outright lying how many people I've been with when asked by my coworkers.
The areas under/around my eyes get kinda red and puffy after crying, it wasn't hard for them to notice something was wrong. So far I've only spoken to one of my managers about it, but all of them offered support. The job itself is kinda rinky-dink, but I have wonderful coworkers and bosses. They're good people who genuinely care, and I'm grateful for that.

Hirundo Bos wrote:I'm sorry to hear about breaking down at work. Agree with Wisp though, sounds like you have a good working environment.

About this thread, I can see how it would be overwhelming... there's a lot of information, a lot of discussion, and the gist seems to that everything is more complicated than it looks. And in one way, it didn't really answer your question about how to meet potential casual partners. Although, in another way, maybe it did... maybe some time spent reflecting on why you want one kind of relationship rather than another, what you want to give and what you want to receive in that relationship, and what complications might arise, will all help you get a clearer aim, which helps the how.

I'm saying this partly because I think it might be that way in my own case... I'm also looking mostly for casual, or FWB kinds of relationships. And while I do have some past experience with sex and relationships, I don't think many of those can be transferred to the life I'm living now. I didn't have a good grip on things then. Actually, getting one is what I've been busy with during these many years where I haven't had sex. So I believe I'm at a place of relative inexperience. And I've come to much the same conclusion as many others in these thread: Casual relationships aren't really the lower difficulty-verison of commited. Now, I'm not sure they will necessarily be harder, only that they will pose their own set of difficulties. Much like any kind of interpersonal relationship will do.

In my own case, realizing this has made me reexamine what kind of relationship I want, and I've still ended up with much the same conclusion: For the time being, I'm mostly looking for the casual-to-FWB kind. But laying the belief that it would be easier aside, I've discovered certain other reasons for why this would be my preference. Which brings me back to my point: Examining my preferences has probably given me a better aim. I know more about what potential partners to look for, more about what to tell them if we meet. And I'm more likely to end up happy with what I find.
Honestly, I've already been thinking about what kind of relationship I want most for a while now, and yet while I think an FWB or sex buddy situation would be ideal, the assertion that it can be even more difficult to manage than a regular committed relationship is rather discouraging. I think that going for a one-night stand would be easier, but also less rewarding than being with someone who actually likes me and wants to enjoy mutual interests and have sex on an ongoing basis. On the other hand, while I want to have sex without deep emotional attachments, I also don't want to shoot myself in the foot by trying to forge a type of relationship that's definitely more challenging than I can currently handle.

Enail wrote:
BobTheNinja wrote:...Of all the things I've heard in discussions about relationships, I've never heard the complaint that "girls" was an insulting term for adult women.  Neutral

Is this seriously a problem? Wouldn't this make the phrase "girls night out" insulting too? Keep in mind, I'm using it in the same spirit as "guys" for "men".

Some people mind it, because it's not really a true equivalent for 'guys' so much as for 'boys,' which is rather infantalizing. Some people don't mind it, and some it depends on context. If you don't know what the people you're around prefer, it's generally safer to go with "women." (And never use "girls" in professional or otherwise non-casual situations - if you'd use "men" rather than "guys," definitely use "women" rather than "girls")
Makes sense, I'll keep that in mind.

For the rest of it, it sounds to me like your best bet would be your last idea, to try and go have fun socializing with people. Especially try to find a situation you can enjoy even if you don't hit it off with anyone, and one that does have women around. Since it sounds like you're quite anxious both about rejection and about being able to enjoy yourself socializing without negativity bringing you down, and since you don't have much of a social circle atm, I'd suggest spending a little while just getting comfortable being friendly with different people, including women, without putting pressure on yourself to ask anyone out or find a sex partner until you've got a bit more comfort navigating the social world more generally. Sometimes trying to rush yourself just lands up slowing you down!
Sounds good, but then I have another problem. "If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain." So now the question is, which mountain? There are many different paths for meeting women, but I want to find the best one for what I'm specifically looking for. I've been told a few times now that bars are the best way to meet women for casual encounters, but they also come with their own problems. Apparently there are many women who go to bars just to take advantage of men for drinks, and then there's the issue of transportation if I'm drinking as well. If a designated driver isn't present, I'd have to use Uber or something like that, which could expensive over time. I also don't drink that often myself, only when I go out with my coworkers, so I'm still new to that environment.

Any thoughts on that?

EDIT: Also, I notice you're a fan of Legend of Korra, excellent choice. Grin
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Post by reboundstudent on Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:02 pm

BobTheNinja wrote:
Is it really THAT difficult? Because I've read online that FWB relationships are pretty common among young adults. And if it is more difficult compared to a standard committed relationship, why is that so?

I've had both casual and committed relationships, and I'd say that as a less experienced, more socially awkward person, casual relationships are WAY more difficult.

Committed relationships usually have the benefit of more or less following a script, at least at the beginning. Casual relationships, on the other hand, can be far more varied, and what one person images a "FwB" to be might actually mean "Fuck buddy" to another. In my cases, "casual" usually looked pretty much identical to "committed relationship," with only a very-seldom-discussed agreement separating the two.

Another complicating aspect of casual relationships is that communication is fraught with "drama" peril. I was terrified to broach any kind of intimate topic for fear of upsetting the FwB balance. Am I allowed to complain about my day at work, or would that make this too emotionally intimate? Do they meet my friends? My parents? Can I express any kind of jealousy, like if he suddenly drops a "date" with me to go on a date with someone else? Do I really have to listen to him complain about his day at work? How much of our interaction is perfunctory and how much of it is genuine? Even if our arrangement mostly resembles a friendship, does he genuinely like me as a friend, or is the friendship there just to maintain the illusion so he can get sex?

The funny thing about the idea that FwB's are common is that it's somewhat biased reporting. I have friends who, from the outside, seem to have had a lot of FwB.... but from the inside, it turns out that those FwBs were either a back-door into a relationship (by one or both parties), and it just never turned out that way. So it was more like an aborted relationship attempt than a true FwB. In fact, most of mine probably fall under that category, because there was a lot of complicated mixtures of the guy willing to stretch from casual to kinda-sorta-committed (because he suspected I wanted commitment), while I stretched more into casual (because I've been told and warned numerous times to never be upfront about my desire for commitment.)

I did a poll at Slate a few weeks ago about number of sexual partners versus peers, and was amazed to find I'm actually on the slightly-higher-than-average range for my age and region. And I could count my FwBs on less than 2 hands. I've started to suspect that people talk about having FwBs or one night stands a lot more frequently than they actually have them.

BobTheNinja wrote:
I'm assuming that there are women out there who would just want to enjoy ongoing sex without deep emotional entanglements. That's basically what I'm gunning for, so if our interests align on that point...why can't that work?

But I'm not going to lie about my desires either. I'm just not keen on the idea of a committed, emotional relationship right now. I'd really prefer to keep it casual and just have fun.

There isn't anything wrong with this per say, but I think what people are trying to get across is that casual = fun is not often a foregone conclusion. Casual can require a lot of work; and in a lot of our experiences, casual usually means more work for the woman. We talk on Prime frequently about "invisible" work, and there is a lot of invisible work around having a casual relationship as a woman. FwB can be even trickier.

What I've found, in my FwBs experience, is that the guy considers me like a..... sub-girlfriend. Not good enough for work on his end, but good enough that he is willing for me to do stuff for him. That sounds really selfish and conceited, but it was also incredibly insidious and subtle.

Okay here's an example. I was casually dating a guy for a few months. He'd drop in frequent references to how messed up he was from a previous girlfriend who cheated on him, mostly pertinent to the conversation but also requiring a bit of emotional investment from me. I was expected to be empathetic, compassionate and reassuring; essentially, supportive emotional role. However, any time I brought up an ex, the guy became immediately uncomfortable and stand-offish. Because me discussing exes was seen as being too emotionally intimate, like I'm talking to a boyfriend. I was expected, as a casual woman partner, to be emotionally available, but the guy was not.

"Casual fun" started to read, to me, as "The guy gets sexual and emotional fulfillment without offering equal amounts to his partner." Because a guy offering emotional support and fulfillment is the equivalent of "commitment."
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Post by reboundstudent on Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:07 pm

Hey Bob, maybe I missed it, but what's the thought process behind thinking a FwB is more preferable to a committed relationship? Like your last post about wanting to have regular sex with someone who likes you and has common interests is... not what I would commonly understand as a FwB. What distinguishes a FwB from a committed relationship for you?
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Post by BobTheNinja on Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:39 pm

reboundstudent wrote:Hey Bob, maybe I missed it, but what's the thought process behind thinking a FwB is more preferable to a committed relationship? Like your last post about wanting to have regular sex with someone who likes you and has common interests is... not what I would commonly understand as a FwB. What distinguishes a FwB from a committed relationship for you?
From my perspective, committed relationships involve some degree of romantic emotional attachment, something deeper than ordinary friendship. I'm just not sure I'm ready or even able to provide that kind of attraction right now. I interpret the term friends with benefits literally, meaning that two people are actually friends and regularly enjoy eachother's company, with the added benefit of having sex while not having that deeper romantic attraction.

Honestly, another part of romantic relationships that I don't like is the tendency toward monogamy. I just don't like the idea of being allowed to only have sex with one person. I have no desire to control who my partner sleeps with, and I don't want to be constrained in who I sleep with either. Being a virgin with no relationship experience, I realize that this is putting the cart way before the horse, but I just don't like the idea of monogamy. I know that open relationships are a thing, romantic while still allowing for other sexual partners, but I don't think that would be any less difficult to manage than a purely casual/FWB relationship, and even if it wasn't, I'm still not sure if I want or can even provide that kind of deeper attraction.

EDIT: This is another aspect of my inexperience that I hate. I can't truly know what kind of relationship is actually preferable, I'm just going off of what I think would be ideal for me. I can read all I want about the different kinds of relationships in the world, but until I actually engage in one, I have nothing to compare to.
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Post by reboundstudent on Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:57 pm

BobTheNinja wrote:
reboundstudent wrote:Hey Bob, maybe I missed it, but what's the thought process behind thinking a FwB is more preferable to a committed relationship? Like your last post about wanting to have regular sex with someone who likes you and has common interests is... not what I would commonly understand as a FwB. What distinguishes a FwB from a committed relationship for you?
From my perspective, committed relationships involve some degree of romantic emotional attachment, something deeper than ordinary friendship. I'm just not sure I'm ready or even able to provide that kind of attraction right now. I interpret the term friends with benefits literally, meaning that two people are actually friends and regularly enjoy eachother's company, with the added benefit of having sex while not having that deeper romantic attraction.

Well.... I admit I'm going by just my experience, but the literal Friends with Benefits is rare, and actually more challenging to pull off than you'd think. The cliched fact is that if someone really loves your company, and you are supportive and emotional friends, and you really like to bang.... That's a relationship.

I think sometimes society gives off the impression that a committed relationship involves this deep, intense, "we are literal the same soul in two bodies" kind of impression of love. And sometimes it's like that. But at least at the beginning, it feels a lot more like just hanging out with your best friend that also involves pants feelings. There are times when I need more intensive support or emotional involvement from my partner, but on the day to day level, my friendship with him doesn't actually look that different from my friendship with fellow ladies.*

That isn't to say that a true friends with benefits isn't possible. Just be aware that you are walking a fairly thin and at times arbitrary line, in which you enjoy a person's company, are emotionally supportive and involved (as benefits friends), sleeping with each other, and yet NOT developing romantic feelings.

*I think there is some cultural baggage here you may also need to parse out. I've observed that our culture raises guys to associate emotional intimacy with women; Dr. NL has talked about this and the lack of emotional intimacy among male-to-male friendships. So any time emotional intimacy gets introduced into a male-female friendship (in which there isn't a familiar relationship), there seems to be some slight struggle to not romantically intimate. Our culture seems to raise men to associate emotional intimacy = romantic relationship.

So I've seen cases where a woman is not interested in a man romantically, but does want an emotionally intimate friendship similar to what she has with other women, and the man interprets this as romantic interest. In a FwB, what I've experienced is then he cuts off the emotional intimacy (because he fears he's giving the impression he's interested in commitment) and it becomes much more a fuck buddy or, possibly misusing her. In other cases, the guy subconsciously starts treating her as a half-girlfriend, trying to draw more emotional intimacy out of her, like I described above. If you want a true friends with benefits, you need to be on guard for this cultural assumption.
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Post by BobTheNinja on Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:06 pm

reboundstudent wrote:
BobTheNinja wrote:
reboundstudent wrote:Hey Bob, maybe I missed it, but what's the thought process behind thinking a FwB is more preferable to a committed relationship? Like your last post about wanting to have regular sex with someone who likes you and has common interests is... not what I would commonly understand as a FwB. What distinguishes a FwB from a committed relationship for you?
From my perspective, committed relationships involve some degree of romantic emotional attachment, something deeper than ordinary friendship. I'm just not sure I'm ready or even able to provide that kind of attraction right now. I interpret the term friends with benefits literally, meaning that two people are actually friends and regularly enjoy eachother's company, with the added benefit of having sex while not having that deeper romantic attraction.

Well.... I admit I'm going by just my experience, but the literal Friends with Benefits is rare, and actually more challenging to pull off than you'd think. The cliched fact is that if someone really loves your company, and you are supportive and emotional friends, and you really like to bang.... That's a relationship.

I think sometimes society gives off the impression that a committed relationship involves this deep, intense, "we are literal the same soul in two bodies" kind of impression of love. And sometimes it's like that. But at least at the beginning, it feels a lot more like just hanging out with your best friend that also involves pants feelings. There are times when I need more intensive support or emotional involvement from my partner, but on the day to day level, my friendship with him doesn't actually look that different from my friendship with fellow ladies.*
...Huh. If that's really the case then I've been mentally shying away from regular relationships for no good reason.

At the same time though, there's still the issue of monogamy, which I assume is the default expectation for a regular relationship. I mean, given that I'm only going to have one partner to begin with anyway, it probably won't be an actual problem, but I'd still prefer to be in a relationship where neither of us is expected to only sleep with each other.

And then there's still the question whether to first aim for a one-night stand or an actual relationship...
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Post by reboundstudent on Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:33 pm

BobTheNinja wrote:
...Huh. If that's really the case then I've been mentally shying away from regular relationships for no good reason.

At the same time though, there's still the issue of monogamy, which I assume is the default expectation for a regular relationship. I mean, given that I'm only going to have one partner to begin with anyway, it probably won't be an actual problem, but I'd still prefer to be in a relationship where neither of us is expected to only sleep with each other.

And then there's still the question whether to first aim for a one-night stand or an actual relationship...

Well there is such a thing as a casual dating relationship. I think Eselle mentioned a set-up like this. In my cases, it looked like us going on dates (so more like a committed relationship) but with a verbal agreement that we were seeing other people, weren't necessarily interested in long-term (so no commitment or plans together), and what we had would probably last somewhere between 2 and 6 months. So it'd be more official than a FwB, but more casual than an actual committed relationship. You find arrangements like this by just.... dating. You date, and you lay out expectations (looking for a short-term relationship), and find someone with similar expectations.

It's a little more emotionally intimate than a "buddy who I have sex with" arrangement, but it's also far more common, and a little easier to navigate. A casual dating situation has the benefit of borrowing those scripts/rules from committed relationships but scrubbing out long-term and monogamy. The trade-off for you would be that you would need to invest some emotional energy. You're a temporary boyfriend, but you are still a boyfriend, so you may still need to listen to the bad day she had at work, or be a little more engaged in communication, or willing to occasionally indulge in taking care of her first (and visa versa her for you.)

Honestly, I feel like aiming for a casual dating scenario would be most beneficial for you, because sometimes, a one-night stand will come out of it and not progress to the next stage. Think of that whole joke about aiming for the moon so you land among the stars. Try to date casually, and you'll probably end up with some VERY short term hook-ups just as the nature of the beast. BUT that means you also need to be much more comfortable with rejection, as occasionally a girl will be cool sleeping with you but then will want to stop seeing you at all.

Remember, everything in life, including dating, is a trade-off. So to solidify your goals (and thus your approach), ask yourself, where can you be flexible, what are you willing to try (rejection? more emotional engagement? more monogamy in exchange for less emotional engagement?), and what are you willing to give up in exchange?
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Post by Robjection on Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:46 pm

As I read this thread, especially this page, all I'm thinking is "Getting the right label on a relationship is hard".

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Post by Caffeinated on Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:01 pm

Robjection wrote:As I read this thread, especially this page, all I'm thinking is "Getting the right label on a relationship is hard".

Yes. Yes indeed. I've been thinking that too.

Another thing I've been thinking is wondering why it seems so difficult for young and/or inexperienced men to describe their desires in a way that women won't find abhorrent. Like, I think the dudes on this forum are generally pretty decent, but then I'll read something and just be like WTF.
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Post by PintsizeBro on Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:13 pm

When a lot of young, inexperienced guys say they're desperate for sex, what they really mean is they feel lonely, sad, or inferior; and they think sex will fix that. Part of that is we've been taught from a young age that women are supposed to manage our emotions for us. That's where situations like a guy wanting his female FWB to listen to his problems but won't listen to hers, or a guy assuming a woman who wants a close friendship with him must be interested in romance come from. It's not right and it's not healthy, but there's a pretty clear pattern of cause and effect.

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Post by BobTheNinja on Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:30 pm

Caffeinated wrote:
Robjection wrote:As I read this thread, especially this page, all I'm thinking is "Getting the right label on a relationship is hard".

Yes. Yes indeed. I've been thinking that too.

Another thing I've been thinking is wondering why it seems so difficult for young and/or inexperienced men to describe their desires in a way that women won't find abhorrent. Like, I think the dudes on this forum are generally pretty decent, but then I'll read something and just be like WTF.
I hope my own described desires don't count among them...

PintsizeBro wrote:When a lot of young, inexperienced guys say they're desperate for sex, what they really mean is they feel lonely, sad, or inferior; and they think sex will fix that. Part of that is we've been taught from a young age that women are supposed to manage our emotions for us. That's where situations like a guy wanting his female FWB to listen to his problems but won't listen to hers, or a guy assuming a woman who wants a close friendship with him must be interested in romance come from. It's not right and it's not healthy, but there's a pretty clear pattern of cause and effect.
To be clear, I don't think that losing my virginity or having a girlfriend will magically make all of my negative emotional problems go away. All the same, it IS something that I want to do, and I think that succeeding may at least help by giving me something I can be happy about.
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Post by The Wisp on Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:02 pm

Caffeinated wrote:Another thing I've been thinking is wondering why it seems so difficult for young and/or inexperienced men to describe their desires in a way that women won't find abhorrent. Like, I think the dudes on this forum are generally pretty decent, but then I'll read something and just be like WTF.

Just to clarify: do you mean the way they're described are abhorrent, or the desires themselves are difficult or impossible to describe in a way that isn't abhorrent?

Oh, and ditto everything in bob's most recent post.
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Post by Caffeinated on Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:15 pm

The Wisp wrote:
Caffeinated wrote:Another thing I've been thinking is wondering why it seems so difficult for young and/or inexperienced men to describe their desires in a way that women won't find abhorrent. Like, I think the dudes on this forum are generally pretty decent, but then I'll read something and just be like WTF.

Just to clarify: do you mean the way they're described are abhorrent, or the desires themselves are difficult or impossible to describe in a way that isn't abhorrent?

It's generally the way they're described. It's like this. Imagine you're at lunch, and the waiter is describing the sandwich of the day, and mentions that it includes curdled, bacteria-ridden dairy product. Would that be as appetizing as saying it comes with cheese? On the other hand, maybe the curdled, bacteria-ridden dairy product isn't actually cheese. You wouldn't know for sure from that description, so you might skip that sandwich just in case.
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Post by The Wisp on Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:17 pm

Caffeinated wrote:
The Wisp wrote:
Caffeinated wrote:Another thing I've been thinking is wondering why it seems so difficult for young and/or inexperienced men to describe their desires in a way that women won't find abhorrent. Like, I think the dudes on this forum are generally pretty decent, but then I'll read something and just be like WTF.

Just to clarify: do you mean the way they're described are abhorrent, or the desires themselves are difficult or impossible to describe in a way that isn't abhorrent?

It's generally the way they're described. It's like this. Imagine you're at lunch, and the waiter is describing the sandwich of the day, and mentions that it includes curdled, bacteria-ridden dairy product. Would that be as appetizing as saying it comes with cheese? On the other hand, maybe the curdled, bacteria-ridden dairy product isn't actually cheese. You wouldn't know for sure from that description, so you might skip that sandwich just in case.

I like that analogy!

So, what specifically about the way I or bob or some other inexperienced young man describes his desires is the equivalent of "bacteria-ridden dairy product"? I can't really see what is, myself, but I'm not a woman!
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Post by Enail on Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:36 pm

BobTheNinja wrote:
For the rest of it, it sounds to me like your best bet would be your last idea, to try and go have fun socializing with people. Especially try to find a situation you can enjoy even if you don't hit it off with anyone, and one that does have women around. Since it sounds like you're quite anxious both about rejection and about being able to enjoy yourself socializing without negativity bringing you down, and since you don't have much of a social circle atm, I'd suggest spending a little while just getting comfortable being friendly with different people, including women, without putting pressure on yourself to ask anyone out or find a sex partner until you've got a bit more comfort navigating the social world more generally. Sometimes trying to rush yourself just lands up slowing you down!
Sounds good, but then I have another problem. "If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain." So now the question is, which mountain? There are many different paths for meeting women, but I want to find the best one for what I'm specifically looking for. I've been told a few times now that bars are the best way to meet women for casual encounters, but they also come with their own problems. Apparently there are many women who go to bars just to take advantage of men for drinks, and then there's the issue of transportation if I'm drinking as well. If a designated driver isn't present, I'd have to use Uber or something like that, which could expensive over time. I also don't drink that often myself, only when I go out with my coworkers, so I'm still new to that environment.

Oh, I was actually meaning trying more general social situations like activities or meetup groups, not focusing on trying to pick anyone up, rather than environments conducive to casual encounters, to start with. Sorry I was unclear. It's not clear from your posts, but I get the impression you haven't spent a huge amount of time socializing with women platonically, and if that's the case, I think it might be easier for you to figure out a good path for you to seek the kind of relationships/encounters you'd like when you're a little more immersed in mixed gender environments in a platonic context and have more comfort interacting with a range of women.


EDIT: Also, I notice you're a fan of Legend of Korra, excellent choice. Grin

Thanks! My secret shame is that I haven't actually finished the series yet. Disapproving
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Post by BobTheNinja on Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:27 pm

Enail wrote:
BobTheNinja wrote:
For the rest of it, it sounds to me like your best bet would be your last idea, to try and go have fun socializing with people. Especially try to find a situation you can enjoy even if you don't hit it off with anyone, and one that does have women around. Since it sounds like you're quite anxious both about rejection and about being able to enjoy yourself socializing without negativity bringing you down, and since you don't have much of a social circle atm, I'd suggest spending a little while just getting comfortable being friendly with different people, including women, without putting pressure on yourself to ask anyone out or find a sex partner until you've got a bit more comfort navigating the social world more generally. Sometimes trying to rush yourself just lands up slowing you down!
Sounds good, but then I have another problem. "If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain." So now the question is, which mountain? There are many different paths for meeting women, but I want to find the best one for what I'm specifically looking for. I've been told a few times now that bars are the best way to meet women for casual encounters, but they also come with their own problems. Apparently there are many women who go to bars just to take advantage of men for drinks, and then there's the issue of transportation if I'm drinking as well. If a designated driver isn't present, I'd have to use Uber or something like that, which could expensive over time. I also don't drink that often myself, only when I go out with my coworkers, so I'm still new to that environment.

Oh, I was actually meaning trying more general social situations like activities or meetup groups, not focusing on trying to pick anyone up, rather than environments conducive to casual encounters, to start with. Sorry I was unclear. It's not clear from your posts, but I get the impression you haven't spent a huge amount of time socializing with women platonically, and if that's the case, I think it might be easier for you to figure out a good path for you to seek the kind of relationships/encounters you'd like when you're a little more immersed in mixed gender environments in a platonic context and have more comfort interacting with a range of women.
Don't worry, you weren't unclear. I know that general socialization in mixed gender environments is important too. I continued on the topic of ideal places for casual encounters by myself, sorry about that.

I guess this is probably going to be a long-term project...but I guess that's alright. It won't do me much good trying to flirt with women I haven't met before if I'm not at least halfway comfortable socializing regularly with them.

Also, I can converse with women just fine, but almost all of them are members of groups that I've joined, whether hobby club members or coworkers, so they're people I've gotten to know them as friends and acquaintences, if that makes sense.

EDIT: Also, I notice you're a fan of Legend of Korra, excellent choice. Grin

Thanks! My secret shame is that I haven't actually finished the series yet. Disapproving
Heh, I'm in the exact same boat as you. Razz
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Post by PintsizeBro on Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:18 pm

Oh man, you both need to finish watching Korra! I think the last season was the strongest.

I can't say I care much for bars as a venue for meeting one-night stand partners. Yes, some women go to bars in order to get laid, but they're outnumbered by the women who go to bars to drink, so to speak. Bars are also public - even if a woman you meet wants to go back to your place and jump your bones, she has good reason to worry about social blowback for being a woman known to have casual sex.

Online dating can be a good resource. There's far less concern for social blowback in the blissful (relative) anonymity of Craigslist* or Tinder.

There's some push-back against calling Tinder a hookup app, and that's not all it's used for, but it's definitely used as a hookup app a lot.

*Craigslist casual encounters vary widely depending on where you are, but if you're in a densely populated area, you can meet perfectly nice horny people there.

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