Casual relationship

Casual relationship

Casual relationship is a term used to describe the physical and emotional relationship between two people who may have a sexual relationship or a near-sexual relationship without necessarily demanding or expecting a more formal romantic relationship as a goal. It is more than simple casual sex which has little or no emotional element, and different from a one-night stand as the relationship extends beyond a single sexual encounter. Related terms are "pals with privileges", "cut friends", an "extended hookup", a "fling", "friends with extras", "friends with benefits", "friends with privileges", "bene-friends", "sex/fuck buddies", and a "sexualized friendship". There are significant gender and cultural differences in acceptance of and breadth of casual relationships, [cite journal |author=Chara PJ, Kuennen LM |title=Diverging gender attitudes regarding causal sex: a cross-sectional study |journal=Psychol Rep |volume=74 |issue=1 |pages=57–8 |year=1994 |month=February |pmid=8153236 |doi= |url= |quote=Abstract: Students at five educational levels ranging from seventh graders to college seniors were surveyed regarding their attitudes about the acceptability of casual sex. A striking developmental contrast was found: males became increasingly accepting of casual sex; females were consistently opposed to casual sex at all educational levels'.] [cite journal |author=Cubbins LA, Tanfer K |title=The influence of gender on sex: a study of men's and women's self-reported high-risk sex behavior |journal=Arch Sex Behav |volume=29 |issue=3 |pages=229–57 |year=2000 |month=June |pmid=10992980 |doi=10.1023/A:1001963413640 |url=] [cite journal |author=Welsh DP, Grello CM, Harper MS |title=No strings attached: the nature of casual sex in college students |journal=J Sex Res |volume=43 |issue=3 |pages=255–67 |year=2006 |month=August |pmid=17599248 |doi= |url=] [Gwen J. Broude, 'Male-Female Relationships in Cross-Cultural Perspective: A Study of Sex and Intimacy' Cross-Cultural Research, Vol. 18, No. 2, 154-181 (1983) Abstract: Societies are neither entirely consistent nor entirely arbitrary in their patterning of heterosexual relationships. This research suggests that sexual relationships, nonsexual intimacy, and male sexual orientation are not highly related to each other.] as well as in regrets about action/inaction in those relationships. [cite journal |author=Roese NJ, Pennington GL, Coleman J, Janicki M, Li NP, Kenrick DT |title=Sex differences in regret: all for love or some for lust? |journal=Pers Soc Psychol Bull |volume=32 |issue=6 |pages=770–80 |year=2006 |month=June |pmid=16648202 |pmc=2293329 |doi=10.1177/0146167206286709 |url= | quote=Abstract: within romantic relationships, men emphasize regrets of inaction over action, whereas women report regrets of inaction and action with equivalent frequency. Sex differences were not evident in other interpersonal regrets (friendship, parental, sibling interactions) and were not moderated by relationship status]

A casual relationship may be part time, or for a limited time, and may or may not be monogamous. The term encompasses friendships between people who enjoy each other's physical intimacy but do not aspire to be long-term, and may or may not involve parties who desire temporary relationships purely for hedonistic purposes. In each case, the relationship's dominance in the lives of those involved is being voluntarily limited, and there is usually a sense that the relationship is intended to endure only so long as both parties wish it to.

To the extent such relationship include casual sexual contact, the relationship is generally focused on fulfilling sexual rather than romantic or emotional needs.

Motives for casual relationships vary, and should be distinguished from casual sex, which is a specific type of casual relationship. Casual relationships sometimes include mutual support, affection and enjoyment, which underpin other forms of loving relationship.

More than a working relationship, less than monogamy

Although this sort of relationship is often portrayed as a relatively new phenomenon, the phrase "friends with benefits" was around for many years before it was popularized for a younger generation in the mid-1990s by the Alanis Morissette song "Head Over Feet" and a decade later in the television series "Boston Legal".

The television series "Sex and the City" focused further on casual sexual relationships.The intent of a casual relationship can vary: sometimes to relieve sexual frustrations and other times simply as a friendship or part-time relationship, which includes sexual activity when wished. Usually a casual relationship is not intended as a monogamous relationship. It is also not always synonymous with casual sex, since it might even not include sex.

Sometimes both parties are free to date and engage in sex acts with other persons, however, others choose to have exclusive casual relationships. These types of relationships effectively give an outlet for sexual and intimacy needs without the potential stress and time-demands of a committed relationship. Two people may elect to become friends with benefits because they are unwilling to commit to a full-fledged relationship or long term relationship for whatever reason.

This arrangement can develop in many ways. Platonic friends may decide to engage in a casual relationship with each other to satisfy sexual desires, as it is usually more acceptable to the friends and to society than casual sex with a stranger. In some cases, societal pressures can sometimes influence the formation of such a relationship, as peers or elders of two platonic friends suggest they begin a romantic relationship as they "look so good together", but the two friends are not romantically attracted. A one-night stand or casual sex can evolve into a casual relationship if both partners wish to expand the scope and/or duration of the relationship. Conversely, a romantic relationship may devolve into a casual relationship, when a couple who recognize there is no potential for a formal committed relationship nonetheless agree to maintain the friendship and, at least in the short-term, the sexual relationship.


Criticisms of casual relationships have included social, medical, psychological, emotional, and even economic and legal arguments. Among the most common are that:
* Casual relationships increase the rate of unwanted pregnancies.
* Casual relationships, especially non-monogamous, increase the rate of STDs.
* Casual relationships delay marriage which, coupled with the increasing preference of married couples to not immediately have children, increases the rate of "high-risk" pregnancies due to age. This increases medical costs associated with a pregnancy.
* The desire to pursue a casual relationship, as opposed to a more formal or committed relationship, is a sign of emotional or psychological problems related to love and commitment, and/or of a sexual addiction.
* The state of being in a casual relationship, like many other forms of romantic relationship, is not recognized by most jurisdictions as is marriage or, in some jurisdictions, a civil union. As such, a person in such a relationship has little legal recourse to resolve disputes arising from the end of such a relationship, or to represent the other person in cases such as a medical emergency.

Casual sex

"Casual sex" refers to certain types of sexual activity outside the context of a romantic relationship. The term is not always used consistently; some use it to refer to any extramarital sex, while some use it to refer to sex in a casual relationship. [ [ casual - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ] ] [ [ casual sex - Definitions from ] ]

While providing a legitimate sexual outlet, the practice of casual sex often carries negative connotations. In some sexual relationships among teenagers in the U.S., the predominant activity is not penetrative sex, but rather oral sex and mutual masturbation. Many teenagers recognize that this reduces the risks associated with sexual promiscuity, such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Some medical authorities – such as Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, a professor of pediatrics – suggest that teenagers do not view oral sex as "real sex" and use it to remain in a state of "technical" virginity. [Halpern-Fisher B University of California at San Francisco [] ]

ee also

*Booty call
*Emotional affair
*Romantic friendship


External links

* [ A short overview of type of friendships.]
* [ NPR's Talk of the Nation: Friends with Benefits]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • casual relationship — /kæʒjuəl rəˈleɪʃənʃɪp/ (say kazhyoohuhl ruh layshuhnship) noun a relationship between two people which may or may not be sexual in nature, and which places few emotional or social ties on the participants …   Australian English dictionary

  • Casual sex — refers to certain types of sexual activity outside the context of a romantic relationship. The term is not always used consistently: some use it to refer to any extramarital sex, some use it to refer to sex in a casual relationship, whereas… …   Wikipedia

  • Casual Sex — (Gelegenheitssex) bezieht sich auf verschiedene Arten von sexuellen Aktivitäten außerhalb des Bereiches romantischer Beziehungen. Das Spektrum reicht dabei von einmaligen sexuellen Begegnungen bis zu langfristigen Arrangements außerhalb einer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • casual — cas|u|al [ˈkæʒuəl] adj ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(relaxed)¦ 2¦(not formal)¦ 3¦(work)¦ 4¦(relationship)¦ 5¦(without attention)¦ 6¦(not planned)¦ 7¦(not regular)¦ ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: casuel, from Late Latin casualis, from Latin …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • relationship — n. 1) to cement; establish a relationship (to establish a relationship with smb.) 2) to bear, have a relationship (to bear a relationship to smt.) 3) to break off a relationship (to break off a relationship with smb.) 4) a casual; close,… …   Combinatory dictionary

  • Casual dating — Un casual dating est une liaison amoureuse dans laquelle les deux amants se mettent d accord pour être en couple, tout en acceptant que le conjoint ait des relations amoureuses ou sexuelles avec un autre. Sommaire 1 Définition 2 La philosophie du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • casual — adjective 1 NOT CARING not caring or seeming not to care about something: His casual manner annoyed me. | Karla tried to sound casual, but her excitement was obvious. 2 CLOTHES casual clothes are comfortable clothes that you wear in informal… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • relationship — noun 1 between people/groups/countries ADJECTIVE ▪ friendly, good, happy, harmonious, healthy, strong ▪ They have a very healthy father son relationship. ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • casual — adj. VERBS ▪ appear, be, sound ADVERB ▪ extremely, fairly, very, etc. ▪ almost …   Collocations dictionary

  • casual — [ kaʒjʊəl, zj ] adjective 1》 relaxed and unconcerned.     ↘made, done, or acting without much care or thought: a casual remark. 2》 not regular or firmly established.     ↘(of a worker) employed on a temporary or irregular basis.     ↘(of a sexual …   English new terms dictionary