When you’re in that intimate first phase with a partner, a new you emerges – dazzling, exciting, confident and brimming with energy. What’s actually happening is that you’re falling in love with yourself – the sexy, desirable and powerful self that has been lying dormant inside you. You’re at your best, at your peak, and it’s an incredible feeling.


Don’t expect a fling to solve your problems, though. If you choose to indulge in lust as a quick fix, you’ll feel desirable and attractive, but it’s more likely to be a false sense of it. A fling is unlikely to solve the issues in your relationship, for example, or your self-esteem problems, or stress at work. While the thrill of venturing into forbidden territory might feed the electricity and seduce you into thinking you’ve discovered Mr or Ms Perfect, chances are you haven’t.

Feeling tempted while you’re attached can be a valuable sign that your relationship isn’t fulfilling you, and that parts of yourself are being switched off. Once you’re aware of this, you may choose to find more meaningful solutions. The truth is that when you’re content in a relationship and with yourself, you’re not open to jumping into bed with someone new.



The unsexy truth about casual sex and one-night stands is that they’re emotionally and physically high risk. If you decide to go ahead, realise that you could be left feeling ten (or more) times worse afterwards than you would have if you’d simply gone home instead.

Will I still respect myself in the morning? Don’t do it if you know you’ll regret it. If sleeping with, say, a colleague, your best friend or your best friend’s ex will cause you sleepless nights, don’t do it.

What do I want from this? Know what you’re looking for. If you’re not wanting a long-term relationship, be prepared to tell this to the potential hook-up who might think you are. If you want a relationship, spare yourself unnecessary pain by being more wary of casual sex.

Am I ready for sex with no promises? In other words, will you be able to handle it if you never see him or her again?

Why am I doing it? Don’t do it for the attention, to get back at someone, because you’re lonely or your self-esteem is low, because you’re trying to forget about someone or your friends think you need it – it won’t make things better. If you do it, do it because it’s the right thing at the right time.

Does it feel good? If you find the situation frightening, slightly repulsive or instinctively wrong, don’t be afraid to back off.

Think twice (okay, three times) if:
* You believe it might lead anywhere;
* You’re very physically attracted to someone who has never shown any interest in you before, and now – at 3am on a Saturday, seems really keen;
* You’re drunk;
* You’re attracted to someone you’ve never seen before and about whom you know nothing;
* You’ve taken any drug over the past 48 hours;
* You don’t like the person;
* You do like the person;
* You secretly hope he or she really likes you; and
* You think you can deal with it.

Realise what you could lose:

A friendship. Once you’ve had sex with a friend, things will never, ever be the same again.

A valued professional relationship. Sex with a colleague could mean you spend your weekdays avoiding each other. It could destroy a valuable working partnership.

Your reputation. If you and your one-night fling move in the same social circles, realise that it’ll set the gossip mill in motion.

Trust. If you’re committed to someone else, The Betrayal will always be between you.

Your self-respect. Don’t do it if you suspect that an impersonal sexual encounter just isn’t ‘you’. Think carefully, preferably when sober, about what’s at stake. Is it worth it?

Then there’s your physical health. Every sexual experience – including oral sex and non-penetrative petting – brings the risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Always, always use a condom during a sexual experience to minimise infection, as well as a backup contraceptive such as the pill to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Only consider not using condoms if you and your partner

1. agree that you’re committed to each other,
2. are sexually exclusive (in other words, you only have sex with each other and not with other people), and
3. have both been for an HIV/AIDS test (which only requires a pin prick at your local clinic) and have shown each other negative results.

Finally, never let someone pressure you not to use a condom (or to have sex at all, for that matter). If a prospective partner isn’t willing to respect your wishes or practise safe sex with you, why take the risk?