The Trap of Casual Hookups and How to Avoid It

Casual sex. A lot of people talk about it and even claim to be doing it, but does it actually exist? 

If you want to be able to discern casual dating from dating with intention, and would like to get out of old patterns that can have you falling into a casual trap with someone you like, then this week’s video is a must-watch . . . 

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Matthew:

I think the idea of casual hookups is a bit of a myth in general, because there’s usually one person who’s feeling less casual than the other. I think that there aren’t nearly as many mutually casual situations as people say there are or think there are when they’re talking about hookup culture. You almost always have someone who likes the other person a bit more, or who has a bit more secret, even if it’s not mentioned, a bit more hope that it might lead to something than the other person. And all you need is a little bit of hope that it might lead to something for someone to get hurt. That’s all you need.

It’s easy if you’re the person being casual, who truly is experiencing something meaningless, it’s easy to willfully ignore that little hope in somebody else, because you’re escaping from something right now, because you’re feeling something that’s just a quick high in your life or a distraction from something in your life. It’s very easy to ignore what secret hopes someone else might be harboring in order to just get what you want. That’s very common too.

And that can happen in both directions. That doesn’t have to be the case that the guy is the one feeling more casual. It can happen in both directions. But it is something that causes destruction on both sides for that reason, but also it can cause destruction for yourself because like any drug, when you start doing that in excess, you realize, “Oh, this isn’t working. This thing I’m trying to solve through this, isn’t working.”

Stephen:

The guys I’ve known who have gone through the phase of really wanting to prove something to themselves by . . . And I’m not saying, look, you’re going to have a great time having casual sex. It’s a phase lots of us go through when you’re young. There are times when it can be great. The guys who I’ve seen, who are doing it to prove something to themselves, it does hit a wall eventually where it’s either they’re full of guilt, or if they get to a level of maturity, they realize I’m hurting myself or other people here because I’m just trying to endlessly prove that I can do this.

Matthew:

Endlessly prove I can do it, or endlessly chase a high, or endlessly distract myself from my unhappiness in my life, or trying to endlessly distract myself from the thing that I really want, which doesn’t seem to be available. And I think that what happens for a lot of people is that once you’re kind of in that world of the superficial, it can actually be hard to get out of it because that starts to be what you attract. If you’re in the mode of finding quick wins, of finding the quick high, then it actually becomes harder to discover the real thing. I really believe this.

Stephen:

Really?

Matthew:

Yes.

Stephen:

Some of those people will say I’m doing this until I discover the real thing.

Matthew:

I think that that is an easy thing to say. I believe that it starts to disconnect you from what the real thing actually looks like.

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Matthew:

Quick interlude to the video. Whatever big goals you have, whether they’re for your love life or any other part of your life this year, I’ve got something that will help. I am doing a 30 day confidence challenge beginning on the 20th of January with a live kickoff call that is designed to measurably improve your confidence over 30 days. To be part of this completely free, go to MHChallenge.com. The link is also in the description. I can’t wait to see you there. Back to the video.

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Matthew:

It’s no different if you’re used to doing drugs to quickly feel good then you’re disassociated from what it actually takes in life to feel good. What it actually takes in life to feel good is much slower. It’s a process of waking up, doing the right things in a day, go work out, eat foods that make you feel good, that make your brain feel sharp, go for a walk outside, have a good conversation with a friend, connect to what you’re grateful for in your life, work on something difficult that takes effort, that after a strenuous hour of focus on something gives you a beautiful feeling of having done something hard.

These are not things that you’re in the mood to do when what you are used to is, “Oh, I could do a hit of cocaine and feel good in 30 seconds.” That’s a different pathway. And if you’re training your mind for that pathway, then your brain isn’t going, “Let’s look at the 24 hour cycle of what it’s going to take to feel a healthy seven and a half out of 10 today.” That’s a much more difficult thing to do than to just chemically induce it.

Stephen:

Yeah

Matthew:

The same is true of people in their love lives, who are used to getting the quick hit. When you’re used to getting the quick hit, you are not living in the world of what it takes to build a much more nutritional connection with someone. It’s slower. It’s slower than, “Let me meet up with someone for a date and I have this night with them.” It’s a slower process, then they actually get to know someone. This isn’t a roller coaster. This is me getting to know someone. This is me building a connection with someone. This is me coming to understand their values. Them coming to understand mine. Us building something together. That’s a different process.

And if you’re not used to that process, if you’re not used to actually discovering who someone is bit by bit over time and investing in them, and instead you are used to just a quick hit, let me simulate a connection, let me simulate love, let me simulate . . . What is love bombing? It’s coming in and simulating love, simulating an intense connection, playing boyfriend for a week, playing the love of someone’s life for a month. But if you’re doing that, if you’re used to simulating that and constructing these false highs, then you’re not in the world where real love and real relationships exist. And the more you reinforce those patterns . . .

The same is true by the way of micro-dosing on somebody. What we call micro-dosing; when you keep going back to someone who’s bad for you for those giddy highs that you get after you make up and have sex and then argue again, and then you come back and then they disappear for two weeks and you feel horrible anxiety, where are they, am I going to lose them for good this time, and then they come back and you have the giddy high of falling for them all over again. You get lost in that world and you get divorced from what real, beautiful connection looks like. That becomes the universe you know. That to me is what’s dangerous about it.

When I talk about casual sex, I’m not coming from some righteous or puritanical place. I’m coming from a place of saying it’s something that has real world consequences, whether you are a man or a woman. And I think that most people arrive in the same place sooner or later. Some people get there slower, some people get there faster, but men and women alike arrive at the same place, which is that this doesn’t seem to be working.

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Matthew:

This next video I have for you is really, really important. Click here to watch.

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Matthew:

And then we’re looking every day for reassurance. Did you mean what you said yesterday? Are you really going to stay with me? Are you really never going to cheat on me? We can never get enough reassurance, and reassurance always needs to be topped up.

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7 Replies to “The Trap of Casual Hookups and How to Avoid It”

  1. This is a really great conversation of what happens with casual sex no matter what gender. We all have this deep need to feel connection and accepted and we fill it with sex, or other things which feel empty at the end of a quick fix. There’s religion and belief that helps to guide me into knowing how much god, the creator of this universe, who is truly is amazing, does want this shallow life but a deep love filled connexion with Him. As to say this I love myself and am good to myself and from this overwhelming response to show this to others what it means to have good relationships.
    There are things can hinder it, emotional, physical, or spiritual.
    But there is always something beautiful that can grow up from ashes.

  2. Matthew, once again you’re spot on. My last relationship was a casual one that started as a dedicated one. There was no sex between us (my ex has ED and no libido). But he was trying to use me as his “girlfriend” to escape himself (he has addictions, too). I had to end it after four months, to my eventual relief, because I saw we were going nowhere. You not only clarified what his agenda was but WHY. He wouldn’t admit himself to me, though I suspected. You just did. Everything you said hit home. Thank you and God bless.

  3. 100% true for me at least. The quick fix is a bad habit to break. Casual hook ups feel good at the time, the high, then the emotional crash afterwards when you realize it’s not fulfilling and isnt what i want.

  4. My time, my physical body and my intimate thoughts are special and worth a lot. Why would I share them with someone who doesn’t place a high value on them? Casual sex is escapism. I’m into purposeful and healthy. It’s fun to work to fix things that aren’t working in my life, I don’t need an escape because I’m not trapped. For me, real happiness is the thing.

  5. Matthew! Amen! I am 4years sober, and did a lot of risky behaviors in my party girl life. I have been working on changing this for about 5 years! And I’m here to say it’s possible if you put the work in! I have been single for 2 years and just going to start dating again. Thank you for talking about this honestly! It is really supportive to my magical thinking brain that tells me I want the quick fix. I will keeping this video in my back pocket for strength! Rock on!

  6. My good friend and I have been just discussing this subject, she actually is normally endeavouring to prove me incorrect! I will present her this particular blog post and rub it in a little!

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