A woman recently asked, “Well, if I don’t do hook ups, how will I come to have a relationship? And she was incredulous when I told her that the more she hooks up, the longer it’ll take before she’s truly with someone.
This happens because with every hook-up, you’re practicing unsuccessful behaviors (and the accompanying self-beliefs). If you get too ‘skilled’ at casual sex, you not only come to believe that that’s all there is for you but you give off a sense of that to the other person; we can practically smell that anxiety.
And so, the answer is to be less anxious; to find ways to work with your anxiety so that, if at some point, being with this person starts to feel more solid because you’ve actually gotten to know and like each other for real, you can start becoming sexual together in a very different way.
Those of you who have casual sex with some frequency generally ignore or discount people’s ambivalence toward you: the cues they give you showing they’re not sure are quite real (yet you tend to ignore the negative information and focus instead on the one or two ‘nice things’ he or she said or did – thereby convincing yourself it’s “okay to hook up”). But hooking up with them once or countless times won’t push that in your favor; the other person will sense that you need to be with them irrespective of whether they truly want it.. And, through a process called cognitive dissonance, they actually come to devalue you instead..
If hooking up seems as if it’s the only way to be with him/her, don’t do it. Though it takes time, work through your own feelings of anxiety and low self-efficacy to get to a point at which you’d accept being with someone who likes you ‘unambivalently’.