But offered a chance to reconnect with someone from your past — dinner with your high school steady, for example — you might just surprise yourself by winding up in bed. The next morning or even that night come the recriminations: Was it wrong to give that person the sexual green light when you had no intention of rekindling the emotional side of the relationship?
Marilyn, a year-old single colleague of mine, recently reconnected with someone she had worked with many years ago. A few weeks later, she joined him for " a wonderful weekend " in his home state. I'm in like with him — and that's exactly where I want to be. Marilyn's casual approach to maintaining a friendship with benefits typifies the mindset of older folks who have reconciled themselves to having "great fun" even if it's "just one of those things.
In The Normal Bar, a book I wrote last year with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, we reported that 61 percent of female survey respondents who had partners fantasized about someone they had met. For men, the figure was 90 percent. And should they be propositioned by someone they found attractive, 48 percent of the women and 69 percent of the men said they would be tempted to have sex outside the relationship.
Indeed, many surrendered to that lure in actuality: It found that 6 percent to 8 percent of singles age 50 and up were dating more than one person at a time. The same study revealed 11 percent of survey respondents were in a sexual relationship that did not involve cohabitation.
Can a casual sexual relationship exact an emotional toll? For sure, people who associate intimacy with commitment are ill-suited to sex that's as meaningful as a summer breeze; for them, the FWB arrangement would be a bad idea.
That doesn't mean all casual lovers feel emotionally bereft in the wake of a purely physical rendezvous, mind you. Many say they're getting exactly what they want and need. Is that a deplorably manipulative state of affairs? Possibly — until you stop to consider how many of us are comfortable with being unpartnered but how few of us are willing to remain untouched. Sixty-something sexologist Joan Price, for one, endorses "gray hookups," but with a couple of strong caveats: The people involved must be emotionally capable of handling their status as noncommitted bed partners, and they must protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.
In a national study conducted in , the Center for Sexual Health Promotion found sex partners over 50 twice as likely to use a condom when they regarded a sexual encounter as casual rather than as part of an ongoing relationship. Mature sex partners do not have the best track record when it comes to using condoms, but at least they're likelier to use them when they know very little about a partner's sexual past — or present!
Personally, I think it all comes down to a very simple choice at any age: Is enduring loneliness, celibacy and extreme horniness really a better option than exchanging a few "simple gifts" between friends? Pepper Schwartz answers your sex, relationships and dating questions in her blog.
See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more. Members can get a free coupon book with discount offers from brand name retailers. You are leaving AARP. My first Tinder date was with someone I'd seen before on OKCupid — the same faces crop up on all these sites. He knew all the cool restaurants, the best places and, as he was only in London occasionally, things moved faster than they should have. After just a few dates, he booked us a night in a fancy Kensington hotel.
I met him at a pub first — liquid courage — and knew the second I saw him that my heart wasn't in it. The connection wasn't there for me. Not a great start. But Tinder is addictive. You find yourself browsing and swiping and playing on. The possibilities pile up.
I'm ashamed to say it but I sometimes went on three or four dates a week. It could be to a bar around the corner, or somewhere fabulous — Berner's Tavern, the Chiltern Firehouse. Most of the guys I met were looking for sex, rarely were they after a relationship.
With Tinder, I discovered what it could be to have sex then walk away without a backward glance. Sex didn't have to be wrapped up with commitment, and "will he? It could just be fun. Sometimes I had nothing in common with the guy but there was a sexual spark. In "real life", he was the ultimate knob. He didn't fit with my politics, my views, I'd never have introduced him to my friends.
In bed, though, he was passionate, eager, energetic. For a while, we'd hook up every six weeks. But there were a lot of negatives. It could feel … seedy. Where do you go for sex? I didn't feel comfortable taking someone back to my place, as he'd then know where I lived, and I live alone.
If we went back to his, I'd have no idea what to expect. With "Aldgate East", we had to walk through a pub to get to the bedroom and I swear there was a train going through the lounge. You're trusting people you barely know.
After a few dates with "Manchester", I agreed to visit his hotel room next time he was in London. I'd always been diligent about practising safe sex, but he had trouble getting in the mood with the condoms and went against my wishes at the last moment.
The next morning I wrote him an angry text. I've never felt so violated. Most often, though, I didn't have sex at all. I generally left home open to the possibility but found, when my date showed up, that I didn't want to see him again, let alone see him naked. There was no spark, or he was dull or gross or just too pushy. One date chased me to the tube trying to shove his tongue down my throat.
Another — who started promisingly — changed after his second drink, spilling a glass of wine on me without apologising, and cutting me off each time I spoke. It can be harder to walk away when you've met through Tinder. When you're matched, you can spend days — in some cases, weeks, months — exchanging messages, texting and working yourselves up, filling in the gaps with your imagination. By the time you meet, you've both invested so much, you've raised your hopes and his. In some ways Tinder can even work against you finding a partner.
I met one guy who was a likely contender for a boyfriend. We went on five dates without sex, just a kiss and a hug. Then one night, he arrived at my place stinking of booze and likely high on something. The sex was over in seconds — a massive anticlimax after such a build-up. We never saw each other again.
If we'd met another way, that could have been a blip, an awkward beginning. On Tinder everything's disposable, there's always more, you move on fast.
You start browsing again, he starts browsing — and you can see when anyone was last on it. If five days pass with no messaging between you, it's history....