When I moved to Copenhagen last year, my opinion of casual dating changed drastically. You see, here, casual dating (and sex) is the name of the game. And sometimes, people might ask your name only after you already had sex.
Back in December, I was invited to a traditional Christmas lunch (called Julefrokost) and one of the Danes asked me what I found to be a cultural shock since I moved here. I said that their dating culture or rather lack thereof was a surprise. All the Danes around the table nodded in agreement, and one girl said: “Oh, yeah. We don’t have time to mess with going on dates here.”
While it might seem horrible to get to know someone personally only after you had sex with them, evaluating someone on how good of a casual hookup they are can have its benefits. I think the way someone has sex can tell you a lot about them as a person.
And I’m not the only one who believes that. Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D. defines casual hookups as “slow love.” In her interview with The Washington Post, she explains that casual sex can be a legitimate way into a relationship and believes that sex is a great way to collect data about a person.
So, if you are doing the whole casual dating thing with hopes of finding the right candidate for a serious relationship, let’s discuss some of the things to look out for when hooking up.
How To Use Casual Dating and Sex To Determine if Someone Is Relationship Material
How Open Are They About Communication About Sex?
Most people think that sexual compatibility is the most important thing in partners. However, research shows that sexual compatibility can grow over time and even change as we age. So, it shouldn’t be an indicator of whether you and your sexual partner could be compatible long-term.
Instead, you should be paying attention to how easy or hard it is to communicate about sex and your sexual needs with your casual hookup. If your date refuses to have a conversation about sex, or they are not interested in discussing what you liked and didn’t like after sex, it can be a sign that you’d have troubles as life partners.
Obviously, people have trouble communicating about sex due to trauma, their upbringing, and religion. However, being willing to work on learning to talk about sex and getting educated on a subject is important for everyone’s overall well-being.
Also, because sex is a difficult topic to communicate about, it can also be a great indicator of how your casual hookup would deal with communicating about difficult matters. If they get defensive or refuse to talk about sex, it could mean that they might have issues communicating about other topics as well. So, you have to ask yourself – do you want a partner who’s difficult to communicate with?
How Attentive Are They During Sex to Your Needs?
If a partner is not attentive to your needs during sex, do you think they’ll be attentive in a relationship? Sex is a primal act, and while there can be a lot going on, and very little time to think straight when you’re lost in the throws of passion, it’s a great playground to see how caring someone is.
It’s just you and your hookup. If they don’t read your body language, don’t pay attention to how vocal you are when they do something you like, or worse – if they’re completely oblivious to your pleasure, then it’s a sign that this person won’t be the best match for a serious relationship.
Do They Prioritize Your Pleasure?
If your hookup partner has zero or very little interest in your pleasure during sex, it’s probably a sign you shouldn’t consider them anything more than a casual hookup.
Caring about your partner’s pleasure, whether it’s a person you’re in a relationship with, or a casual one-night stand is a bare minimum. If your hookup is not able to provide that, how can you expect them to provide anything else that requires more effort?
Prioritizing your partner’s sexual pleasure is also a sign of maturity. If your casual date is only there to have their sexual needs met, it’s probably a sign that they’re selfish and need to do some soul-searching. Definitely not relationship material!
What Do They Do for Aftercare?
One of the best ways to see if your casual hookup is worthy of your time is how they do aftercare. If they are completely unaware of the concept of aftercare, then it’s a red flag and you probably shouldn’t be having sex with such people. Aftercare is an essential part of sex, and neglecting it means that a person is probably selfish.
If your casual hookup is attentive and sweet after sex, if they spend time getting to know what you want and need and give it to you as aftercare, it’s a sign they have the potential to be a good partner. While it doesn’t mean that they want to, at least you can be sure that you are having sex with a person who cares about your basic human needs.
How Affectionate Are They Once Sex Is Over?
A common issue I see heterosexual cis women share on social media is that the guys they are casually dating are super affectionate and nice up until they have sex and then all the affection and “princess treatment” is out the window.
There is tons of advice that tell heterosexual cis women to wait until the third, fourth, fifth, etc. (you get the point) date before they sleep with men if they’re serious about turning casual dating into a serious relationship. But even science says that it might not always work.
Dr. David Anderson, an expert in the science of sexual desire, has spent his life researching the mating behavior of men and women around the world. In an episode of the Huberman Lab podcast, he revealed that men are more willing to lie about wanting a long-term relationship in order to have sex. So, waiting before having sex might not be as effective as we think.
If you are unsure whether your casual hookup can be more than a casual hookup, one of the best indicators is to see how they treat you after you have sex. Loss of affection is the best indicator that this person is not interested in getting to know you, and you are probably better off moving on or sticking with the no strings attached deal.
How Do They Make You Feel When You’re With Them?
Logan Ury, an author of How No To Die Alone and Director of Relationship Science at Hinge, says that one of the indicators we should look for when we’re on a date with someone is how they make us feel instead of looking at how tall or handsome they are or how much money they make.
The same notion can be applied to casual dating and hookups. When you are with that person, either before, during, or after sex, how do they make you feel? Are you confident? Do they make you feel like you’re beautiful, like you and your pleasure matter?
Pay attention to how they make you feel and consider that when deciding whether your current sexual partner would be a good candidate for a relationship. Chances are that if you have a pit in your stomach when you’re with them, or they make comments that make you feel bad about yourself that they’re not the best person to have in your life.
How Respectful Are They of Your Time?
Everyone is busy trying to juggle work, friends, family, hobbies, and romantic relationships. It’s normal to have days or weeks when you feel off or when your mental health is not at the best, so you might cancel or reschedule a meeting. That’s understandable.
However, if you notice that your casual date always moves your meetings or cancels last minute, it could be a sign that you are not a priority in their life. Now, not being a priority doesn’t mean they don’t like you. However, if you consider them to be a potential partner, you want them to respect your time and make you a priority in their life.
Obviously, casual dating and sex are not for everyone. There are plenty of people who date to marry and prefer to get to know someone before they get naked in front of them. That’s totally normal and everyone deserves to choose how they want to build relationships.
However, for me, viewing casual sex as a way to get to know people and evaluate their potential as partners has been liberating. It takes off a lot of pressure from trying to find “the one” to later be disappointed with their skills in the bedroom. And it also gives meaning to casual sex because, at the end of the day, it’s just two (or more) people connecting respectfully to have pleasurable fun.