It is not easy to commit to a relationship. When there is no empathy, you end up living with someone just because sex seems to be from another world. After understanding that sex is not love and that love is not sex, it is necessary to realize that there are some crucial factors for a relationship to last, such as commitment, responsibility, affection, passion, tenderness, etc.
Currently, technology also allows, through applications, to meet men and women for friendship, love or just to have sex. Some lucky ones get a ‘match’, fall in love, get married and live happily ever after, or at least for a few years.
And here we have the million-dollar question: Is there such a thing as a relationship without commitment? And the answer is no. When you are with someone, even casually, there is a commitment to them at that moment. The commitment is first with you and then with that other person you are in a relationship with.
Having sex with someone, besides influencing physically, also has repercussions on the emotional part. If you do not protect yourself, there are many consequences such as unwanted pregnancies, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and HIV. On the other hand, emotionally, you may be getting your hopes up with someone who, perhaps, does not feel the same way about you.
Sex-affective responsibility is related to taking care of the other person just because they are a person, and they do not have to be your partner or the love of your life; it is the mirror effect, “take care of them the way you want to be taken care of.”
However, since casual relationships are usually labeled and stereotyped as commitment-free, it is believed that there is freedom to treat the other person as if they did not exist and vice versa. That is how, nowadays, coldly, you can block, unblock or just delete their contact from your device to avoid giving them uncomfortable explanations of why you do not want to know anything more about them.
Talking about sex-affective responsibility can be contradictory when talking about casual sex because it is assumed that what you want is to have sex without any restrictions, ties or commitments. However, it is necessary to clarify that in every relationship there is the need of responsibility and when two adults know each other, they should make agreements from the beginning in order to not hurt each other. It is better to say what each of the people involved wants from the very beginning and not to give false hopes, otherwise, one of the parties could want something more serious while the other one could only be looking for a one time thing.
The Argentine psychologist, Paola Bertiz Broll, explains that selfishness is the main enemy of sex-affective responsibility: “The more selfish they are, the less responsible they are. They want to have it all and because they do not want to assume or face the truth, they end up making excuses to continue with a relationship that they do not know how far it will go, and that is when ambiguous phrases like: “Let’s wait so time goes by”, “Let’s see what happens”, “Let’s let it flow” arise”.
Regardless of whether the sex is casual or not, there is a bond, and ideally, whatever the relationship is, the commitment should be to respect each other. The ones in the relationship should talk and agree on how they want to conduct it and accept when the journey together ends.
The psychologist points out that there is a moment when one party is trying to reach out the other one but the other one is not, it is at that moment when people should talk and close the cycle, so as not to encourage to have hopes or feelings towards the relationship that is just not possible. The important thing is to act with empathy, and think about how I would like that to be told without being hurt or having my heart broken.
Francesca Gnecchi, journalist and author of the book ‘El camino del sexo’ [tr: ‘The way of sex’], explains on the subject: “Many times as in junk food, we fall into sex with toxic people, and that generates a huge discomfort and unhealthy cycle. If sexuality is lived constantly and followed in this way, the person ends up becoming intoxicated. One can have casual sex with someone and respect the other, and at the same time feel respected. That makes the enjoyment mutual. But in junk sex, the person feels used and discarded, without taking into account what they like or dislike.”
The experts suggest some red flags that warn not to fall into this vicious circle of a relationship that goes nowhere:
- They never use a condom when having sex, even when you had agreed on that from the beginning.
- They insist on having sexual practices that you always say no to.
- After each sexual encounter, you are left with the feeling that they just reached out to you simply because of the sex.
- Someone who makes use of the other’s body as if they had no say in the matter.
There are also other situations that go beyond the bed and occur when:
- You text them and they leave you on ‘read’.
- They ignore your messages.
- They disappear without any explanation, which generates uncertainty because they do not communicate with honesty and when they confront you in their own way they use the argument: “You are supposed to understand that it’s just sex.”
Although no one plans to fall in love by having casual sex, you have to be mature and adult enough to assume that having sex with someone is not just that, there are also emotions and feelings involved that should be expressed without any concerns.
Traducción del español: Catalina Oviedo Brugés