I have learned something today. Please be patient while I organize my thoughts. Imagine the Final Jeopardy theme music playing. Okay. In the ten years since my divorce I have not had a serious relationship with a man, nor have I had a lengthy casual thing of any kind. I have had a riotously unsuccessful plunge into the internet dating pool. I have had long intervals between hopeful starts that don't pan out. I have experienced the hanging out and hooking up scenario. Which means casual. And I don't do this very well. I have known for a very long time that becoming intimate with a man means I get attached, so to avoid attachment when my hormones are raging I developed what I thought was a very clever work-around. Three basic rules. Rule #1. Choose someone I don't like. In fact it helps if I dislike him. That way I can be pretty certain no attachment will develop. Rule #2. Choose someone outside of my regular group of social contacts. Minimizes the possibility of awkward future contact after using him for my own gratification and casting him aside. Doesn't work so well because this is a pretty small town. Rule #3. Always, always, always use a condom. Because it's the smart thing to do. There are corollary guidelines that apply, such as never at my home, that are helpful. Despite these rules, not that they resulted in a great number of partners, maybe three tops, I was left with a lingering shitty feeling after an encounter. I may have circumvented an attachment, but I had to face the fact that one of the things I really enjoy about sex is the depth of feeling and, yes, the attachment I feel with a partner. The sex is better, more satisfying, and feels good the next day, even a week later. When I like him, have taken the time to get to know and appreciate him, and have developed a level of trust with him everything works. But then I have to deal with the attachment and the possible expectations that may arise from it. So this is what I have learned. I would rather have terrific sex with a man I like and care about and deal with the repercussions that result from it in a sane and rational manner than have unsatisfying casual hookups that wind up being empty and pointless. Work-arounds don't work, they just prolong the agony of getting down to the truth. That truth being it's just how I'm wired and it's about time I got around to accepting and embracing this fact. I can't wait to try out this revolutionary new theory! I feel like such a grownup.