avatarJennifer Lily Marie


The author, Jen, shares her journey of redefining sex and discovering the joy of casual sex after leaving a sexually oppressive marriage.


Jen, a woman who grew up with a narrow definition of sex and experienced sexual shame, shares her journey of redefining sex and discovering the joy of casual sex after leaving a sexually oppressive marriage. She discusses the importance of enthusiastic consent and how it has transformed her sexual experiences. Jen also emphasizes the freedom and intimacy she has found in her current relationship, which she describes as "casual" due to its relaxed and unpretentious nature.


  • The author believes that the definition of sex is largely subjective and should not be limited to penetrative sex.
  • She criticizes the sex-negative religious cultural narrative that she was taught and how it affected her sexual experiences.
  • Jen emphasizes the importance of enthusiastic consent in sexual relationships and how it has transformed her sexual experiences.
  • She shares her positive experience with casual sex, which she describes as relaxed, friendly, natural, informal, and unpretentious.
  • Jen believes that casual sex can be rich with intimacy and can provide a profound impact on one's life.
  • She criticizes the societal stereotypes associated with women who enjoy casual sex.
  • Jen expresses gratitude for the opportunity to explore her sexuality and discover unexpected pleasures.

Confession: Casual Sex is My New Favorite Kind

I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out

Photo by We-Vibe Toys on Unsplash

A woman saying she enjoys casual sex likely brings a certain stereotype to mind. There’s much to be said about that stereotype and those who hold it, but that’s a different article, so for now, let’s focus on how I’m defining “casual sex.”

Come to think of it, let’s talk about the definition of sex. I’m not even slightly embarrassed to say I had to look this up to write this article. I was, however, disappointed to find this conventional definition hadn’t shifted much in the 20-plus years since I first asked my more experienced friend. Oxford Dictionary gives us the following:

Image by author, from Oxford Dictionary

When I asked my friend, I was 19. I found myself not being sure if I was still a virgin. I’d been dating my boyfriend for over a year, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t. Still, hope compelled me to seek confirmation, and I still remember the crushing pressure in my chest as I waited for her to answer.

“A dick going in and out of a pussy.”

My friend’s definition was perhaps less clinical than Oxford’s but no more forgiving.

My heart sank. I wasn’t supposed to have sex. I had failed… and so that’s what sex became: Penetration, followed by shame.

Sex before marriage was against God’s will.

I wanted to have sex because it felt good. I rationalized that if I was going to marry him anyway, what was the difference if we had sex before or after we signed some paperwork? Plus, we dated for six years because he didn’t want to rush into marriage. He wanted to “do it right, once…” or something like that.

So… we had sex. But unfortunately, it came at a price.

Sex, for me, was always full of tension. My body was doing its best to guard itself from the intense weight of the shame: A built-in undercurrent of resistance. That tension became synonymous with sex.

If it’s hard to imagine enjoying sex under those circumstances, then you’ll have arrived at the point.

I did not.

I would frequently cry after having an orgasm, which, of course, led me to google “crying after orgasm” more times than I care to admit. Google supplied that other people experienced this emotional release, so I never thought to look deeper. I just slowly started to avoid sex or anything that could lead to sex.

Penetrative sex is no longer the standard

Twenty-plus years later, I have (thankfully) expanded my definition of sex. While it most definitely can include “a dick going in and out of a pussy,” that’s about the most narrow definition I can imagine, not to mention heteronormative as fuck… and it comes straight out of the sex-negative religious cultural narrative I was taught.

It turns out that despite what Oxford, Webster, The Church, and my parents offer, the definition of sex is largely subjective. So, what do I consider sex now?

Sex is any consensual activity that involves physical or mental stimulation for the purpose of experiencing sexual pleasure.

Broadening my definition of sex radically shifted my relationship to my sexuality, but it also made me re-examine my sexual history. According to this new definition, I had sexual relationships before “losing my virginity,” and much, if not most, of the penetrative sex I did have in my marriage was not, in fact, strictly consensual.

I don’t recall even hearing the word consent talked about in the context of sexual relationships, but when I did as an adult, I thought consent meant just “not saying no.” Yet another definition in need of an update. What I look for now is known as “enthusiastic consent.”

Excerpt from “What Consent Looks Like” on RAINN.org. Full article here.

That tension I felt around sex prevented me from engaging in this way. I was never “enthusiastic” about sex. How could I be? I never gave explicit consent, and he never sought it out.

The emotional damage this caused to both me and my spouse was brutal. Waking up to these truths destroyed our relationship, and the grief that still comes in buckets feels fit to drown me some days.

Photo by We-Vibe Toys on Unsplash

The freedom to enjoy my sexuality

Despite my marriage ending and the considerable loss of that relationship, I’m happy to say that the healing I’ve experienced has been worth it. I am on the “other side,” and the grass is so much freaking greener.

Recently, after some lovely sex with my current partner, I found myself feeling incredibly grateful for the connection. Yet, I struggled to find words around why the relationship feels so impactful to me.

It’s “just sex,” I told myself. It shouldn’t be that important.

I noticed, however, that our coupling is devoid of the tension I used to feel around sex. There is an ease when we come together, and it’s the result of this shared definition of enthusiastic consent and this expanded definition of what sex is.

Sex is what we make it, and it never looks like one particular thing. It is fluid and flexible… I feel freedom in it.

I was searching for the right word to describe it, and what popped into my head surprised me. It feels… casual.

I had to laugh. If 18-year-old me knew I was enjoying casual sex, by any definition, she would have been scandalized.

image by author, from Oxford Dictionary

And yet, our sex is relaxed, friendly, natural, informal, and unpretentious. Outside the framework given to me in early adulthood, I feel no more shame. My biology sings given a casual and consensual sexual context.

Giving in to my sexual cravings

So it seems that after 22 years of being sexually active, I officially enjoy the hell out of some casual sex. And, despite what I thought, it’s not devoid of intimacy, but rather, rich with it. This is the kind of sex I romanticized all those years but had no idea was possible, given the crushing shame I felt.

Deconstructing from religion, naming my religious trauma, and reframing sexuality in a positive light have had a profound impact on my life. I am forever changed in ways that I am so grateful for.

I now crave sex for the intimacy I find there with my partner.

I understand now that this intimacy is what was missing in my marriage: what my spouse had been seeking all those years. I couldn’t give it to him because I did not have the capacity or the tools.

I have a hard time engaging in sex without this established intimacy. I’ve learned I can have sex outside those parameters. But I don’t crave it. It is the intimacy I find attractive. Without it, sex feels like a mashing of genitals, devoid of eroticism, and holds no appeal.

It is wild to me that people experience sexual attraction to strangers, which is yet another reason why the idea of casual sex seemed so foreign to me.

Yet here I am, in an established relationship, engaging in “casual sex,” and experiencing sexual attraction for the first time in my life at the age of 40.

This shit is fire. 10/10 recommend.

More than anything, I’m grateful that I finally got the opportunity to explore my sexuality and that what I found is pleasantly surprising.

Unexpected, in the most delightful ways.

Maybe to other people, it’s “just sex,” but to me, it will always be more than that because the enjoyment of it is proof that I have grown.

Like discovering that I do, despite assumptions, prefer my sex “casual.”

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m here embracing change, living solo, and exploring the topics of religious trauma, neurodivergence, sexuality, and relationships, all while actively pursuing a more creative life.

You can read more of my writing here or follow me on Instagram

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