Casual Sex Brings People Together By Breaking Connections

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Sex with "no strings attached" is a concept that has emerged in more recent generations to describe a relationship often centered on casual sex and devoid of any emotional attachment. Although this started off as the case in Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher's rendition in the film conveniently titled, "No Strings Attached," emotions threw a wrench in the mix. True to form, the romantic comedy had a happily-ever-after ending. Despite characters' failure to keep emotions away from sex, are there cases that actually work? Can humans successfully keep sex and emotions separate?

For a biological explanation of sexuality, turn to our primate relatives.

Chimpanzees are an extremely promiscuous species, going so far as to have a period of female sexual advertisement. The female chimp copulates many times a day with many males in her immediate social group or makes the decision to go off with a male away from the community. Bonobos, probably the most closely related primates to humans, have social lives that completely revolve around sex. Homosexuality is common in the species and young males will often engage in sex with older females in a kind of sexual initiation play. So what does this mean for human beings?

Monogamy is part of administrative policy in only a small percentage of Western societies, yet remains the most common sexual pattern worldwide. The emotional pairing following monogamy is jealousy - when an intruder threatens the partners' relationship.

From an evolutionary standpoint, emotions provide communication of social lives and help create and maintain bonds important for raising offspring and commitments to partners. Despite the lack of evidence to explore if we are innately wired to be monogamous, "no strings attached" relationships seem to counteract this evolutionary angle.

Is this a bad thing?

Although generalizations cannot be made about a population of about seven billion human beings based on two examples, I know two people -a male and a female - who have experience with these kinds of relationships. And they have two completely different opinions.

My male friend is a socialite with a busy schedule of jet setting around the world on the weekends. It is because of this fast lifestyle that he tends to have little time for a full-fledged commitment.

The casual relationships he has had with women have often failed miserably because of what some may call the natural tendency to fall for someone over time.

"You can try to make yourself think that there are no emotions attached, but when you start thinking about it, there are already emotions there," he said, adding that he believes women who have had successful casual relationships tend to have a history of committed relationships that have failed.

And that is where my female subject comes into play.

As someone who has had long-term relationships crash and burn, she currently spends time having light-hearted conversation and casual sex with a man - without any emotional attachment, according to her. She does not call their occasional dinners "dates" because the two of them prefer not to define them - or anything they do or are for that matter.

"I am looking for the 'fun stuff' without any attachment - a break from the emotional stuff like the work, the time and the commitment of a real relationship," she said. Without any curiosity into his life, she gets just that and doesn't have to worry about feelings for him or longing thoughts during the day. She gets to, in a sense, act like her male counterpart.

So does the "no strings attached relationship" have any future in the world?

A lack of inherent wiring to be with someone exclusively sets a stage for interpretation. Our primate friends get along by doing it just fine, yet humans deserve the benefit of having a little more than just animal instincts. There is nothing wrong with people finding a companion. The fresh optimism about who is out there eliminates the taboo holding him or her back from doing so. This new position on casual sex may be making commitment seem less desirable.

Can we get people to commit to this idea of no-commitment relationships?

I'll go ahead and hop on the train of the present and get on board to see where the journey of this sexually-open goes - with no strings attached.

Tags: SEX, SEX ISSUE 2011

Talk with Kelly Suckow about your NSA relationship at [email protected]

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