The same principle applies - if your friend with benefits falls in love with someone else next week, how will that make you feel? If it would make you feel badly, then you are more attached than you have admitted to yourself.
Am I able to communicate honestly with this person? I was recently asked by a woman if it was OK to ask a guy if he was sleeping with anyone else before she had sex with him. I often hear women say they don't want to ask if the relationship is going anywhere before sex for fear of "scaring him off".
If asking that question scares a guy off, he is doing you a favor. Better you find out now then after you have slept with him and your feelings are even more pronounced. You owe it to yourself and to your partner to find out if you're on the same page. The right man for you won't be deterred by your honest desire to have a relationship - he'll be psyched! If you feel uncomfortable asking about a potential partner's sexual activity, the status of your relationship, or communicating any boundaries or preferences you have, do not do it.
Sex doesn't have to mean everything, but it is an intimate act that can have serious, life-changing consequences no matter how safe you endeavor to be. You deserve the self-respect to make sure that your sexual partners respect you enough to make you feel heard and respected. If you can't honestly communicate with this person and you're still willing to have sex with them, it could be a sign of a bigger self-esteem issue that is holding you back from the love you are seeking.
Am I able to practice safe sex with this person? Even with all of the education we have in this day and age about STDs, to say nothing of pregnancy, unprotected sex is still the norm for many. If you are about to engage in sex with someone who refuses to use protection, do not do it! This is a no-no even if you are a woman on the pill or some other form of birth control and your risk of pregnancy is low. She has any new sex partner take the tests before sex.
And they still use condoms. Talk about being able to articulate your boundaries! You don't have to have an at-home pharmacy if you don't want to, but at a bare minimum you should use condoms with any casual sex partners. Talk to your doctor about appropriate birth control options for you. Love yourself enough to not succumb to pressure - anyone who is pressuring you to have unprotected sex does not respect you or themselves enough to be worthy of sleeping with you.
Am I actively dating people who share my relationship goals? We often focus on the physical risks of sexual activity, but the emotional risks are just as high. For one, if you are using casual partners as a way to feel less lonely or to compensate for the intimacy you are seeking, there is a high likelihood you're holding yourself back. It is a leap of faith to believe that you can have the love you are seeking.
Using casual partners as a crutch is a signal to your unconscious self and to the universe that you are willing to settle for less. If you're willing to settle for less, that's usually what you get. If you are continually getting involved with people with whom a long-term relationship is not a possibility, you are in a pattern that is not going to lead to the relationship you want. This is one of the biggest hazards of casual sex.
It can be a sign your actions are out of alignment with your true desires. I have no moral objections to consenting adults having as much sex as they like with whomever they choose. However, as a love coach, I work with many singles whose sex lives are in direct conflict with the relationship they're looking for. Nine times out of ten, my clients and I uncover multiple ways in which they're sabotaging themselves with casual sex.
Of course there are no guarantees in romance. Casual sex is not the only pitfall. We all know that not all committed relationships work out, either.
This is a great start! I have long believed that the secret to finding a lasting partnership is less about meeting the one but rather about meeting some one who you find attractive and interesting but who also — and this is crucial — wants the same kind of relationship that you do at the same time that you want it.
This can apply to casual relationships as much as serious ones: Being real friends-with-benefits requires the highest level of emotional honesty and communication in order to make the parameters of the relationship clear and avoid hurt feelings.
Your point that advertising this on your profile may elicit creepy messages is not an irrelevant one, but I do think for maximum efficiency you should be pretty clear that you are looking for something casual because of your existing commitments.
And you do want someone who is very sex-positive. One option is to look for people with similar profiles to yours: If your tastes run to the kinky, you could also consider investigating in apps and sites that are more open about their focus on sex, such as Fetlife. Once you do decide to meet people, remember to take the same precautions that you would if you were dating for more romantic reasons: Dear Eva, I am 37, a single mom and am looking to find someone , but not a boyfriend.