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I don’t understand why so many people are looking for “no strings attached” sexual encounters. For me, it is extremely important to feel a strong connection with someone before we have sex, and it can take many dates for me to develop comfort with getting naked. It doesn’t make sense to me that people can just hook up without some emotional feelings towards each other. Am I just out of touch and old fashioned?

The best thing about how we interact with other people is that there are infinite possibilities, and very few of them are intrinsically right or wrong. It ultimately depends on the values, desires, and comfort level of the people involved.

There are many out there who would be thrilled to find someone for a romantic outing with a sweet picnic lunch or to watch a romantic comedy with while snuggling on the couch. Others get off on a butt grab, sexy wink, and a sweaty romp to get to know someone. The trick is finding those who share your wishes to develop a relationship in specific ways.

Think about what you are trying to achieve by getting naked with someone and what having sex with someone means to you. Some feel hooking up is an athletic activity that can be a fun way to release some sexual energy, while others utilize intimate encounters to build trust and emotional bonding and to feel closer to someone else. It is important to let someone know how you feel about it.

It can be intellectually and emotionally challenging to determine when and how we want to connect sexually with someone. Not only do we have to find someone who wants to get naked with us, but we also have to work together to discuss what each person wants from the experience. Unless good conversations are happening and everyone wants similar things, exchanges can go south rapidly.

Awkwardness, confusion, frustration, and anger are normal outcomes when common ground is not shared. Breakfast in bed may be a sweet gesture after someone spends the night, but some may feel that it sends a potential marriage proposal.

The decision about when to have sexual contact with someone is less about developing a firm set of expectations around the minimum amount of time you know someone and more about whether each of you feel comfortable and close with the other. Setting some general guidelines and expectations can be helpful in letting someone know of your intimate philosophy, but don’t let the details stop your heart and groin from getting excited.

It is important to remember that being intimate with someone can mean more than just sexual contact. A great snuggle, make out session, or holding hands can help to build feelings of closeness. Good communication is at the core of most successful relationships, but you also don’t have to put every expectation and limitation on the table immediately upon meeting someone. You can be excited about someone emotionally, intellectually, physically, and sexually.

Sometimes just letting your history unfold naturally with someone can provide exciting and unexpected pleasures.