Casual relationship is a term used to describe the physical and emotional relationship between two people who may have a sexual relationship or a near-sexual relationship without necessarily demanding or expecting a more formal relationship as a goal. It is more than just casual sex and different from a one-night stand. Related terms are "pals with privileges", "cut friends", an "extended hookup", a "fling", "friends with benefits (aka FWB)", "friends with privileges", "occasional fuck", "sex buddies", "fuck buddies", and a "sexualized friendship". There are significant gender and cultural differences in acceptance of and breadth of casual relationships, as well as in regrets about action/inaction in those relationships.
A casual relationship may be part time, or for a limited time, and may or may not be monogamous. The term encompasses friendships between people who enjoy each other's physical intimacy but do not aspire to be long-term and may or may not involve parties who desire temporary relationships purely for hedonistic purposes. In each case, the relationship's dominance in the lives of those involved is being voluntarily limited, and there is usually a sense that the relationship is intended to endure only so long as both parties wish it to.
To the extent such relationship include casual sexual contact, the relationship is generally focused on fulfilling sexual rather than romantic or emotional needs. Some commentators are critical of the nature of these relationships, alleging that it is impossible to engage in sexual behaviors without any kind of lasting emotional bond. The practitioners viewpoint may be that while the physical relationship alone is fine, it is up to the partners to decide whether emerging emotions allow the friendship to evolve into commitment. In some instances where both parties start to feel this way, a traditional relationship may develop.
Motives for casual relationships vary, and should be distinguished from casual sex, which is a specific type of casual relationship. Casual relationships sometimes include mutual support, affection and enjoyment, which underpin other forms of loving relationship.
One of the reasons argued by people who enter a casual relationship is that the amount of effort, time and money that has to be spent is minimal in comparison to a long-term relationship. As a result both people are able to enjoy the physical aspect of a relationship and do not have to be 'dating' in order for this to happen. Additionally this type of interaction is often initiated through a booty call.
Although this sort of relationship is often portrayed as a relatively new phenomenon, the phrase "friends with benefits" was around for many years before it was popularized for a younger generation in the mid-1990s by the Alanis Morissette song "Head Over Feet" and a decade later in the television series Boston Legal.
The television sitcom Sex and the City focused further on casual sexual relationships. The intent of a casual relationship can vary: sometimes to relieve sexual frustrations and other times simply as a friendship or part-time relationship, which includes sexual activity when wished. Some people prefer the term "lovers without commitment". Usually a casual relationship is not intended as a monogamous relationship. It is also not always synonymous with casual sex, since it might even not include sex.
There are instances in which a genuine friendship exists between the two parties involved, along with some degree of sexual attraction to one. Varying degrees of emotional intimacy can be attributed to such a relationship, but this intimacy, although usually different from that of a committed relationship, is far from weak.
Sometimes both parties are free to date and engage in sex acts with other persons, however, others choose to have exclusive casual relationships. These types of relationships effectively give an outlet for sexual and intimacy needs without the potential stress and time-demands of a committed relationship. Two people may elect to become friends with benefits because they are unwilling to commit to a full-fledged relationship or long term relationship for whatever reason.
This arrangement is common among young professionals, who put a lot of time into work and therefore do not have time for a boyfriend or girlfriend. Some claim that it also allows people who have sexual chemistry to use each other, even if they are not compatible on other levels.
In some cases the people involved limit their activities to masturbating each other or simply watching. This may happen, for example, amongst people sharing a student house. Straight persons may masturbate with members of their own sex with much homoerotic involvement.
These relationships are associated with younger people (early teenagers), and are often seen as a way to enjoy the benefits of sexual activities without the emotional strings of a romantic relationship. According to many teens, these relationships have been going on for some time, and it is estimated that at least 32% of people over 13 have had such an experience, despite limitations due to age of consent laws. While providing a sexual outlet for some people, the practice is still associated with negative connotations. In teenage relationships in the US, the predominant activity is not penetrative sex, but rather oral sex and mutual masturbation. Many teenagers believe that this reduces the risks associated with sexual promiscuity such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Some medical authorities such as Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a professor of pediatrics, suggests that teenagers do not view oral sex as "real sex" and use it to remain in a state of "technical" virginity.
Casual sex refers to certain types of sexual activity outside the context of a romantic relationship. The term is not always used consistently: some use it to refer to any extramarital sex, some use it to refer to sex in a casual relationship.casual - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionarycasual sex - Definitions from Dictionary.com
Some people prefer the terms "lovers without commitment" or "friends with benefits", as a description of the actual status within their relationships.
Others believe that the framework of casual relationships is unrealistic because strong emotions will inevitably come into play. It is generally acknowledged that a frequent cause for the termination of such relationships is the development of a one-sided romantic attachment.
Being a "friend with benefits" is sometimes an option given to someone who has been in a steady relationship following a "breakup". Many times former partners will choose this route because of limitations on a steady relationship. Some claim this kind of situation may lead to strengthened bond and a more stable relationship if and when those circumstances pass, although others claim that it is more probable that the relationship will in fact be ruined.
The term "friend with benefits" might be used to describe what would more accurately be called "emotional friend with benefits". An example would be a romance that is no longer as enchanting; both parties ostensibly want to make the relationship work, but fail to do so. A "friends with benefits" arrangement fills the interval between the loss of romantic interest and renewal of such passion.
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