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We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'

The definitions of the word "casual" is not what you should connect with sex.

Sex

I must admit, even when I was sexually active, I never liked the term "casual sex".


I think a big part of it was because I had a sexual pattern that made it difficult for me to see that what I was doing was being casual. I've never had a one night stand. All of the guys I've had sex with, I've known for at least a year. And because (aside from my first love), I was friends with the fellas and wasn't quick to jump into bed, or wherever we decided to do it, with them, I always dismissed the idea that what we were doing was…casual.

Let me tell you something that hindsight has definitely taught me. Someone can be literally inside of you and have a totally different perspective of what's going on — from how the sex makes them feel to how they feel about you, period.

While I was thinking that, at the very least, I was having sex with men who deeply cared about me as a friend, a lot of them were thinking that since we were "close", they could A) talk me out of wearing a condom and/or B) convince me that I shouldn't expect more than some sex and laughs, and/or C) we could be part-time homie-lover-friends while they focused on finding real potentials for something lasting…elsewhere.

I defined friendship as a sacred trust. They defined it as secretive convenience.

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You know what that means, right? Although I might not have been having casual sex with them, they were certainly having it with me. How do I know that for sure? From the very meaning of the word "casual":

Casual: happening by chance; fortuitous; without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing; seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned

I don't know if it's my age (44) or the amount of time I've been abstinent, but what in the world would make anyone feel good about admitting that they participate in the kind of sex that is careless, apathetic and has no real intention? Even if the only intention is that we're all treated with the care and respect that we so very much deserve?

Just to make sure I wasn't the only one who felt this way, I recently went out into cyberspace to see what others thought about casual sex; otherwise also known as "the hook-up culture". Articles like "Why the Hook Up Culture Is Hurting Girls", "Hookup Culture Is Ruining Everything" (which is written by a guy, by the way), and "How Hook-Up Culture Is Ruining Dating" confirms that I am not the only one who feels the way that I do about casual sex.

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But actually, what I want to pose to you is not that we shouldn't settle for casual sex because being seen as casual should be way beneath our standards, values, and even hormonal needs, I want to talk about how casual sex is something that's actually impossible to do. Because our bodies won't let us do it.

There's a scripture in the Bible that says "There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact." (I Corinthians 6:16 — message!) Sex is spiritual as well as physical. OK, now watch how this all plays out.

One day, while doing some research on the hormone oxytocin, I read that science has discovered that whenever we have sex, there is a literal spiritual experience that takes place; that once we climax, we oftentimes feel connected to a higher power of some sort (maybe that's why so many of us say "Oh God!" during sex…something to think about). It's also scientifically-proven that oxytocin causes us to naturally and automatically bond with our sex partners; this is why oxytocin has the nickname "the love hormone".

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Hmm…so sex makes you tap into a higher power and bond with your partner. Not emotionally, mind you. I'm talking about what happens to us physically. Our bodies don't know if it's our husband whom we've been with for 10 years or some random we met at a party last night.

Physically, oxytocin is gonna make us connect with the people we're sleeping with regardless.

OK, let's keep going. A few years back, I watched a YouTube video that truly blew my mind! It was about all of the physical/biological things that happen to a woman during sex.

One thing that was shared is when you conceive a child with a man (whether you keep, miscarry or get an abortion), their DNA remains a part of you — brace yourself — for the rest of your entire life.

Another pearl of wisdom is the fact that our bodies are created to only have one set of sperm inside of us at a time. So, if we have a really wild weekend and have sex with more than one person within a 72-hour period (not-so-fun-fact, I've been there — I once had sex with three different guys in the same week), it's not uncommon for us to catch a cold. Why? Because our bodies are created to only have one sperm in us at a time. When our body notices there is more than one kind of sperm inside of us, it will literally abandon our immune system to try and get that "foreign sperm" out. Just wow.

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So again, our bodies take sex so seriously that when we make a baby with someone, they are a part of our DNA forever and if we have more than one sperm in us, that can literally make us sick.

My personal takeaway? Even if we've mentally and/or emotionally trained ourselves to treat sex casually, our bodies don't. Our bodies don't respond to sex in a careless way; they see intention every time we participate in the act. That alone should make us, at the very least, rethink using the term "casual sex".

So yeah, whether you decide to wait until marriage or long-term commitment, or you're all good with not being in something so serious before doing-the-do, all I'm asking you to do is not consider the sexual activity you will participate or are participating in as "casual".

For one thing, you are far too precious for that. Secondly, your body doesn't see it that way at all. And since you can't have sex without your body being involved…well.

Feature image by Getty Images.

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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