Let’s talk about casual sex - that thing that good girls and old ladies don’t do. It’s just …. bad, sinful, and filled with emotionally fraught! I started to think about this when I made a list of 60 things I want to do, which includes casual sex, in this year following my 60th birthday.

So, what’s wrong with casual sex? Regardless of our "older" age status, why can’t I, or you, have sex with someone we find appealing without having to think about relationships or commitments?

Is Friends with Benefits Dangerous?

I’ve read about the dangers of "friends with benefits" sex. I have read the cautions. They're probably good for warning teens and young adults to think carefully before jumping into bed with someone they don't know very well. However, I’m talking about older women, women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, women who are no longer naïve or inexperienced. We are women who have earned the right to do the things that please us without worrying about public censure.

My Almost Casual Sex Experience

Not long ago, I enjoyed dinner with a nice guy. He is a bit younger and seems likely to have the kind of outlook on sex and sexuality that mirrors mine. We went out for drinks and dinner to discuss work, his and mine. The evening was a delightful mix of business related talk mingled with personal observations about male and female sexuality. At some point during the second or third cocktail, I made a casual reference to having sex and he gave a positive response. I heard him, but chose to not pursue the matter further. I just laughed and moved on. After dinner, we took a cab back to my hotel. I was a little surprised when he decided to come in with me. He wanted to continue our conversation. We opted for my hotel room. We simply talked. Again, I failed to act. I wasn’t sure of his intentions and not sure what I wanted either.

I have to admit that I still think about that night. Did I miss an opportunity? Was he politely waiting to see what I wanted? Had the idea been on my mind before dinner, the evening might have turned out differently. It’s never really a good idea to end up in bed with someone you’re meeting for business for the first time.

Why Not Have More Casual Sex?

The idea has brought up questions for me about the societal notion of how we approach sex and intimacy. Obviously, I'm also thinking about what I want.

Why not have more casual sex? If the feeling is mutual, is there any reason not to make a choice to engage in something pleasurable? Pregnancy isn’t an issue at our age. If both parties are open and direct with clear expectations, the risks are nominal.

In the United States, we don’t see many examples of women making independent sexual decisions or acting on their sexual desires. Typically, men do the pursuing while women wait to be approached. That's the way I was raised and it is still the predominant attitude, particularly in older women.

Casual Sex Requires Proper Precautions at Any Age

I see no reason for women to suppress or deny their sexual desires just to keep the status quo. Men act on their sexual desires all the time. In fact, they’re encouraged to go out and do so. There’s no reason an older woman can’t go out and do what she wants. It’s simply a matter of being careful about how you go about it. You need to be prepared to have the necessary conversations and be willing to embrace a little vulnerability.

I don’t recommend that women should just wander into a bar or even the grocery store and pick the first person that catches their eye. Trust and safety are very important. Putting yourself in such an intimate position requires a partner who understands what you’re looking to experience. I can’t imagine anything worse than getting into bed with someone only to discover that they aren't really interested in your pleasure.

If you are going to pursue casual sex with someone you might not see again, you need to know what you want from the experience and any possible challenges that might arise. Mutual consent and lots of conversation about expectations is mandatory. Protection is also mandatory, for the benefit of both parties, to minimize the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

What About the Emotional Aspect?

The thing that is harder to plan for is any unexpected emotions that may come up during or after the sexual experience. Are you going to feel guilty? Will you suddenly decide that casual sex isn’t for you? Can you get naked with a relative stranger? Baring all, literally and figuratively, requires one to be careful in choosing a partner.

Informed choices are always a good idea. Why should that be any different when it comes to how we seek our sexual pleasure? My conclusion? We can pursue sex if the idea appeals to us. We can talk about what we want and we can ask for it. If ever there were ever a time in life to defy convention, to live a little wildly, this would be it. That’s the way I feel and it’s how I intend to pursue life and sex in the upcoming months and years. What about you?