open relationships

Casual sex: Understanding the etiquette

The internet has made it increasingly easy to engage in casual sex. It has made our options limitless and created multiple channels through which we can initiate contact with complete strangers and power through the cycle from the first contact to sexual intercourse. What the internet doesn’t prepare you for is the etiquette around casual sex.

The difference between a great sexual encounter & a terrible one is ground rules. Ground rules ensure that you & your partner are always on the same page, and no one leaves the sexual encounter feeling ‘cheated’ or ‘used’.

There are a myriad of rules to cover but let’s start with this.

Turf Matters

When initiating casual sex with a stranger or a long-time sex partner, you must always give serious consideration to where the sex will happen. ‘Turf’ matters because it determines the power dynamics of a sexual encounter.

If you can afford it, initiate first-time sexual encounters in a neutral space, like a hotel room in an area you both decide on. That way no one is afraid of hidden cameras or foul play.

If your sex partner is female, understand that she might ask that you have sex in your place because she needs to trust you before she can invite you to her place. Being invited to a woman’s home is an act of vulnerability, reward that vulnerability by being extra attentive to her mood and not overstaying your welcome.

Be aware that when you are having casual sex in your territory, it is your job as the host to ensure your partner is comfortable. This also extends to who gets to initiate sex. If you decide where the sex will occur, then you have to initiate the sex, either verbally or by touching your partner. People not in their own territory will wait for you to initiate because they don’t want the double humiliation of being rejected & feeling pressured to leave before they are ready. Initiating affirms that you are just as invested in having sex with them as they are with you.


Then, of course, there is the question of tipping. In heterosexual and homosexual relationships, people are unsure of how to deal with a casual sex partner who requests a tip of some kind post-sex. No one is entitled to your money, but here’s a quick rule of thumb:

If your sex partner is significantly younger than you or in a lower social class, then you should offer to at least subsidize the economic costs of the sexual encounter. A simple way to do this would be to offer to pay for their transportation both ways. It is best to offer before they ask, so they do not feel awkward about it, and after sex so they do not feel pressured to perform. If they reject your offer, accept it graciously.

Casual sex need not be a minefield if you take the time to layout and meticulously follow some ground rules.

Do you have more questions about casual sex? Drop them below or share them with our Moderators on our Facebook Page.

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