If you’ve ever been a victim of your own physical desires, i.e. you’ve slept with someone who looked good (or good enough), with no relationship beyond the encounter and no real knowledge of anything about him or her, you are a casualty of casual sex. As adults we are free to share our bodies with whomever we want. However, as Grown people, we need to be more careful about who we allow to share such intimate access.

There are reasons we fall into this not-so-grown trap, and ways to avoid making a decision based on carnal desires. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Men have a predisposition to gratification. Men’s erections need little more than a breeze to appear on the scene, and early in life adult males usually have a habitual need to release sexual tension, often resulting in many males doing stupid things in search of sexual release.  As they get older, without a conscious commitment to Grown standards of decision making, this includes having sex with women to satisfy this need (or to affirm their own misplaced sense of “manhood”), often without regard to emotional attachment or consequences beyond the sex act itself.

However, this should not be taken to mean that men aren’t equally at risk when it comes to engaging in casual sex. Men become casualties of casual sex just as often as women do. If only we could get this message (and a copy of Loving In The Grown  Zone) to every young male, especially those targeted as “lottery tickets” by their athletic prowess: Just because a woman is willing to let you hit it, doesn’t mean you should. What seems like “free love” or “benefits” from a good friend can have unintended emotional, physical and financial consequences—including unintended parenthood, unanticipated emotional attachments or ill-considered marriage—for years to come. Men, having sex with a woman without understanding what is motivating her sex drive and sexual choices (as well as yours) can result in the compounding of issues you are not prepared to cope with; women who lay freely are often in need of things that those she lays with are not equipped to provide.

We teach growing boys that “men will be men” as an excuse for this behavior. To change the tendency of many adult men to surrender to every impulse of their penises, that message needs to change. Instead of teaching them that it’s natural to follow their little “heads,” we need to train them, early, that while the sensations are natural, there are proper (read Grown) and improper responses to them.

When it comes to sex, women are not and never can be men.  Although women’s bodies do need sexual release, it is very rare that their clitorises wake them up in the middle of the night, nor do they have a reputation for driving women to make unhealthy or impulsive sexual decisions.  What does this mean?  When women decide to be sexually available to multiple partners for whom there is no emotional connection, it is a decision far less likely to based on any physical need, than it is for men.

Deciding to have one or even multiple casual sex partners is an adult right. However, Grown decision making requires that a woman also consider the emotional toll on her, any children she may have, and her ability to find a healthy relationship partner (it’s much harder to find “the one” while you are wasting time on “the one for now”), among other things.

Speaking of children; they are watching us. We all know children are sponges. They copy our mannerisms in speech, eating habits, family traditions, etc. Children know us in ways we can’t even fathom. It would be naive at best, and grossly irresponsible at worst, to operate as if they aren’t picking up on our thoughts, practices, and beliefs about sex, too. Grown decision making considers the impacts of choices on the future, including what our children feel their role is when it comes to sex and relationship choices.

Adults can mate with as many other adults or as many times as they want, but Grown folks know that there is nothing casual about casual sex. People can get hurt and there are better, much more Grown decisions that can (and should) be made. To quote the lyrics of the R&B classic “Free Love” by Jean Carne: “Don’t be a slave to your passion; you might get a negative reaction.”

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