In Defense of Casual Sex

From Psychology Today:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intelligent-lust/201112/in-defense-casual-sex

Sex without commitment can improve your life

by Stanley Siegel, LCSW  
Published on December 12, 2011

In the new film “Shame,” an examination of the extremes of human sexuality,  Brandon Sullivan, a successful, handsome New York executive afraid of intimacy, has frequent, random sex with prostitutes and strangers. At work, he sneaks off to masturbate in the men’s room or extends his lunch hour with  trysts.

The movie  harshly depicts casual sex as an emotionally disconnected, meaningless defilement, as reflected in the the title.  Brandon Sullivan is never permitted sexual enjoyment.  Instead, his getting off is presented as alienating and self-destructive.  The only time he he attempts to have sex with someone he knows, a co-worker,  he can not perform.

In the end, punishment awaits Brandon, the presumable fate for all who have casual sex, as punctuated by the suicide attempt of Brandon’ sister, who is similarly portrayed as sexually depraved.

In a recent interview, director Steve McQueen said the film is based on his research on sexual addiction–a condition whereby the insatiability of sexual cravings is rooted in self-hatred and the avoiding intimacy.

But “Shame” draws an inaccurate comparison between casual sex–an experience typically outside the context of a romantic relationship–and reckless sex. Under the right circumstances, casual sex can be deeply meaningful and more intimate than the sex in a long-term relationship. Those of us who have casual sex know that its not devoid of emotion, nor does it lead to the unhappiness Brandon suffers.

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.

Continue reading at:   http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intelligent-lust/201112/in-defense-casual-sex

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