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When It’s Not Okay to Sleep Around (Or With Someone in Particular)

Gabrielle Davina, Sex Columnist

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Sometimes, we have sex to share an experience with someone we care for. Other times, we do it just to get our rocks off. Both of these reasons are a-okay in my book. Provided you use protection, romp away.

In some scenarios, however, sex is one of the worst moves you can make. I’m talking about for your emotional wellbeing. People, especially in our age bracket, undertake the idea that they can have sex as they please without emotional consequences. Don’t get me wrong—this is possible, and it can be a super hot primal-urge-driven experience—but when you go out seeking validation and all you come home with are chafed and sore genitalia, you’re doing it wrong.

I have some friends, both girls and guys, who have remarkably low self-esteem for the awesome human beings that they are. They only get a surge of confidence when they realize, “Oh hey, so-and-so wants to sleep with me!” and take advantage of the situation as a means to validate themselves.

It works for the night, sure, as they bone a couple hours away, but what happens when the other person up-and-leaves at three in the morning? The validation quickly fades away and back come the feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing.

I’m not so much cautioning you against sleeping with a stranger as I am cautioning you against sleeping with someone for a different reason than they’re sleeping with you. You might be looking for some TLC whereas the other person might very well just be looking for someone to play with his or her bits for an hour. This doesn’t make either of you bad people; it just means there’s a conflict of interest.

Conflicts of interest = major confidence killer. And major boner killer.

If you’re going out and subject your body to someone else’s use, you better be using them in the same way. I’m not just talking about with strangers—I’m talking crushes, friends, exes, you name it.

You need to be honest with yourself. Are you sleeping with this person to get off, to feel better about yourself or because you care about them?

If it’s because you care, are you sure they care about you in the same fashion? If you find out too late that they don’t, will it put you in a worse place emotionally than you are now?

If it’s to get off, and I mean truly let’s-be-honest-I-just-want-to-fork to get off, go to town. You’re not going to get hurt. Be conscious of the other person’s reasons, though, so you don’t hurt them.

Lastly, if it’s to feel better about yourself, go powwow with your friends and watch a bunch of How I Met Your Mother reruns instead. If you answered “no” to the other person caring about you, chances are they won’t be sticking around to run you a hot bath afterward.

Woody Allen once said, “Sex without love is an empty experience, but, as empty experiences go, it’s one of the best.” An acute observation for sure, but you need to make sure you’re in the right state of mind to have that experience. Don’t try to convince yourself you only want to satisfy a physical need if it’s something deeper. Self-sabotage is a tricky thing. Tread carefully, bed carefully.

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