Debating Casual Sex

82906-73427Over at Psychology Today, a series of pieces on casual sex. Stanley Siegel's advocacy of casual sex:

Society dictates that only within marriage or another long-term relationship do sex and intimacy exist and popular culture upholds this as the ultimate formula for happiness. Despite the high divorce rate, tax laws, for example, continue to bestow benefits on married couples, while relegating single people to second-class status.

How many times have you heard: He's afraid of intimacy? In arguing against casual sex, marriage advocates regularly flaunt research purportedly showing that spouses are happier than single people. But these studies contain a damaging methodology, which cannot be readily identified by their findings. That is, they fail to consider the guilt and shame that some single people internalize as a result of how society stigmatizes them.

The truth is, long-term relationships or marriage do not guarantee a satisfying emotional life or sexual intimacy. Everyone knows someone stuck in a barren marriage, whose members have lost their autonomy and in which sex has disappeared. Brandon's assertion that people do not belong together forever is correct, but too many of us fear facing that truth or consider alternatives to that permanence.

There are times when casual sex actually deepens one's self-knowledge. With intelligence and clarity of purpose, casual sex is more than instant gratification. By openly exploring our fantasies and true desires with different partners in a way that may not possible in a committed relationship, we can transcend our inhibitions. With each new encounter we can discover buried parts of ourselves and in time experience the totality of who we are. We can even experience profound, revelatory moments that unravel our past and show us things we never knew about ourselves. We can satisfy unmet needs by embracing those aspects of our sexuality that are deeply meaningful and we can choose to let go of those that no longer have importance.

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