Just rewind back to when you were a child and you used to play with your Barbie and Ken dolls. You put so much of your imagination into those toys. You created story lines, plots and character arcs that would put the best writers in Hollywood to shame. For many of us, Barbie and Ken were the first relationships we experienced. As children, we believed that every relationship should be like Barbie’s and Ken.

Then, we were invaded by the hookup culture, where sex became as fast and as cheap as a Quarter Pounder with cheese. Now, our sex lives are equivalent to our fast food addictions.We know that they both offer very little nutritional value, yet we can’t stop eating because we are addicted to the taste. While fast food clogs up our arteries, casual relationships and 2am booty calls block us from receiving real love and intimacy. Casual relationships may keep us trapped in our own fantasy world, where our relationships are as superficial as Ken and Barbie plastic dolls. Lucky for you, you can save your love life by learning these 7 major tips.

Don’t engage in uncommitted sex — you might regret it later.

Hookups and uncommitted sex became more frequent in the 1920s with the invention of the automobile. People were no longer restricted to having sex in a bed, when the back seat of a car was just as convenient.  By the 1960s, a full fledged sexual revolution had begun. The rise of feminism and widespread availability of contraception such as birth control and condoms gave birth to the era of the casual relationship. Today, the media is a huge source of sex education.  We are inundated with messages about uncommitted sex being healthy and enjoyable. But quantity doesn’t necessary equate to quality.  When a survey was conducted with 270 college students, 72 percent indicated that they felt a sense of regret after a casual hookup. (Oswalt, Cameron, & Koob, 2005).

Don’t use uncommitted sex as a cop-out. You’re worthy and capable of a committed relationship.

You ever notice how everything is great in the beginning when you’re casually dating? Then, when the B word (boyfriend) or G word (girlfriend) is uttered, everything changes. Suddenly there are these unrealistic expectations. And your Barbie and Ken fantasy relationship starts to feel like demented characters in some cheesy horror film. You feel like you’ve got to put on an act by wearing clown paint and a twisted smile. Besides, you have to cover up your unhappiness, misery and disappointment. Only the clown makeup feels like war paint, reminding you of all the wars you’ve fought, lost and won in all of your dead-end relationships.Labeling your relationship as casual is like putting a Band-Aid on a severed knee. It’s not going to make things better. You’re a human being with real emotions, and no amount of uncommitted sex is ever going to change that. Instead, address the real reasons why you’re having a difficult time making a real connection with another human being.

Don’t give yourself a free pass. Use every hook-up as an opportunity to learn about yourself.

Many people say they like to keep things light. In truth, they don’t want to make any real sacrifices or investments into having a committed relationship. Ironically, they want all the benefits of a committed relationship such as sex, love, intimacy and security. You may very well feel entitled to a free pass because you’re in a casual relationship. However, you still have to put work into yourself. Now, you have the freedom to try different sex partners like they are a pair of shoes. Take this opportunity to learn from them. Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Use this information to understand what gives you pleasure. Then, you’ll know exactly what qualities to look for when you’re ready to engage in a real relationship.

Don’t engage in a casual relationship if you’re not going to enjoy it.

For many women, an orgasm is hard to come by. According to Al Cooper, Ph.D. Sex Therapist and author of the book Understanding the Female Orgasm, 75 percent of women need clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm. A study published in the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, titled Orgasmic Dysfunction, states that thirty-free to 50 percent of women experience infrequent orgasms or are dissatisfied with their partners after sex. Many people who engage in hook-ups often have a difficult time speaking up and communicating with their partner. People who are not committed in a series relationship may not be focused on pleasing their partner. In fact, they may want to hook up strictly for their own benefit.

No strings attached, really means no strings attached.

Don’t play with fire. Many people go into a casual relationship with an alternative agenda. This happens because we are all looking for a sense of security. A lot of times, you may see people as who you want them to be, rather than who they are, so you may very well agree to a casual relationship with uncommitted sex. However, there is a part of you that secretly wants more. This is when your imagination will start to get the best of you. It will put in you in a perpetual state of denial where the only real pleasure you get from your casual relationship is from your distorted imagination. Sadly, your character plots and story lines can turn for the worse, when you refuse to be honest about who you are. It takes a strong sense of security to have uncommitted sex and be in a casual relationship. Be wary about getting involved in something that your emotions can’t handle.

Don’t think that hooking up is just about sex.

Women and men are still programmed to associate sex with security and commitment. Although the era of casual relationships is relatively new, your primal genetic programming is very old. In fact, we all inherit genes from our mitochondria mother. And her prehistoric memories are still haunting us today. Back in her day, sex was an honor that men had to fight for. They had to prove that they were powerful and could offer a sense of security through the courting process. As a result, men may associate sex with a sense of achievement, so they may devalue sex if it comes way too easily. For women, sex was always a huge risk. Our cavewoman ancestor was totally dependent on the caveman to protect her and feed her while pregnant. Also, the chances of her and the baby dying in childbirth were much higher. We can’t change eons of genetic programming overnight. Even though the risks of uncommitted sex have been minimized, we will always be subject to the cautionary voices of programming.

Don’t think that you can live your life without real love.

People engage in uncommitted sex and casual relationships because they want to have a sense of security, yet they don’t want to feel like they’re sacrificing a great deal of freedom to be in a committed relationship. Of course, people with this mentality may also believe that they can eat 4000 calories a day and still lose weight. Be weary about engaging in a diet of fast and cheap sex. Be careful about buying into a fantasy with no real substance. Just remember as children, we played with dolls. We brought them to life with our own story lines and imaginations. Only the dolls were merely a reflection of who we were inside. We were discovering our selves through our imaginations and creating our own ideal relationships, just as we are now discovering ourselves through casual relationships and uncommitted sex. It is important to not get lost in la-la land. Instead, we need to take these experiences and focus on building a foundation that will allow us to have relationships of substance and value.

Featured photo credit: Casual Relationship via dreamstime.com

Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook