We’re not made to have casual sex, and actually, it can be more devastating than we know.
Understanding how our brains and bodies differ from men can help us make mindful choices when it comes to our lovers.
“Our bodies talk to us, ya know.”
My gynecologist stares back at me. She can tell I’m hiding something. Here I am for the second time in a month, the bottom half of me is exposed, and I’m about to start my fifth round of treatment for a reoccurring yeast infection. I never get yeast infections. Something is definitely off, although it is not only in my body, it is in my heart.
I start to sob. I’ve been holding all this in for so long. I have so much shame, so much self-judgment. I have not been honest with myself, and it is literally making me sick.
Through my tears, I tell her I know why it keeps happening—and it is far from physical. I know it’s because I am not honoring myself through the current sexual relationship I am having and, as a result, my body has shown me who is boss. As I spill my guts about my confusion, pain, and discomfort, she holds a beautiful space for me to grieve.
And then she says something that makes me feel better: “You are not alone.”
We’re All About Having Babies, But Where is the Guy Mindset?
As a heterosexual woman, I have been dealt a complicated hand. Men and women have very different evolutionary musculature, which when not understood, creates a lot of hurt feelings and confusion. These evolutionary differences must be respected by both men and women.
A woman’s main evolutionary road map is all about nesting and having babies, with the main goal being to keep the species going and cared for. I like to think of it as “creating the hearth.” Even if a woman does not consciously desire these things when she chooses a sexual partner, it doesn’t matter. Her body has thousands and thousands of years of evolutionary coding built in.
A man’s main evolutionary road map is also to keep the species going, but in a very different way—by spreading his seed. Even if a man has no desire to have children with multiple women, it doesn’t matter. His wiring is in control.
See also: Read How to Have Sacred Casual Sex
When a woman has sex, she releases oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone.” Her body does not know if her partner is a casual fling or the love of her life. Men produce this as well, just not as much of it. Because the cuddle hormone lowers our defenses and creates bonding, a woman is more likely to attach after sex—this is not because she is needy or crazy, it is because her evolutionary makeup is at work.
When a man has sex, he also releases oxytocin, but he releases more of the pleasure hormone, dopamine. Dopamine is addictive.
Furthermore, women have limited time to have a baby. Men do not.
The 1960s Free Love Movement: Liberating Women from Sexual Repression
The free love movement of the 1960s was necessary to free women from lots and lots of sexual repression. We have been told for thousands of years that our bodies are the property of men and that we should be so lucky to have a shot at our own sexual needs, desires, and expressions. To add insult to injury, men have made billions off our bodies in all forms.
How Casual Sex Can Cause More Harm than Good for Women
I believe that women should be able to explore their bodies and sexuality in any way they choose, but I think we also have to start being honest with ourselves—that casualizing sex can hurt us. Even when we don’t want it to, it can hurt us. Even when we don’t mean it to, it can hurt us. It can hurt us because as women, we may feel we have to compartmentalize the most sacred parts of ourselves if we choose a casual partner.
We have to consider our biology—which is what I am discovering. There is no need for women to feel they must separate it—we work differently than men. Because we have been told to think and act like men for so long, we have forgotten ourselves.
Women are not men. We need to stop thinking that how we feel about these things is wrong. It isn’t. It is our makeup. It is who we are. And who we are is beautiful.
I am not an unaware person. I know these things. But a lot of times, what we know goes out the window when someone we are uncontrollably attracted to (and we know is uncontrollably attracted to us) is standing right in front of us, usually telling us something we long to hear. Our mind says, “Run!” but our body says, “Stay.”
I thought I was a forward-thinking woman. I have been under the assumption I had to lock away parts of myself to feel close to someone.
This is not a judgment on casual sex—rather it is an opening for women to re-examine why we are doing it and what we want out of it.Women long for companionship and closeness. It is how we are built—it is not wrong or weak. Humans are a tribal people. We seek togetherness.
I have asked my body for forgiveness because I didn’t listen to it. That is the part that hurts the most. I gave away my sacredness, my strength, and on a level, my soul. I didn’t cherish myself. I feel I not only turned against my own body, I turned against my womanhood—the very thing that makes me powerful, beautiful, strong, and gentle. I will never do that again.
We are in charge of our own bodies. I believe that knowledge is power. The more we understand how we work and are built, the more empowered decisions we can make when we choose a partner. It’s fine to have fun, but it’s always more fun when we have all the facts and get to decide how we want to feel after the experience.
Having this information helps us all make more mindful choices when it comes to whom we want to share our bodies and bed with.
Author: Elizabeth Gordon
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis