And while many people are interested in finding long-term love, having a variety of flings can actually help you to focus in on what you want in a mate, and what you don’t.
Samantha Brett, author of Luv ‘n Text: The Secrets of Text Appeal suggests that having all kinds of flings before you settle down is a great idea. “How else will you know what’s out there? I wholeheartedly agree with the saying that you need to kiss a whole lot of frogs before you can get to your prince.
How will you ever appreciate the nice guy without dating a bunch of bad boys first?”
Why is variety necessarily the spice for a good love life?
“The trouble with dating and then marrying your high school sweetheart is that you’ll always be wondering what it would be like to be with someone else. Often affairs stem from boredom, curiosity or people just needing to get out of their comfort zone and experience something new for the sake of it.
Flings also help you grow, meet new people, learn new things and work out what you do and don’t want in a relationship. Just remember to be safe, not get too emotionally attached and always have your own agenda at the top of your mind,” says Brett.
Dating expert Brenda Della Casa, author of Cinderella Was a Liar agrees. “There are lessons to be learned both about yourself and others in long and short-term relationships and while ‘in a relationship’ gets the crown when it comes to the most-desired Facebook status, there are some benefits to being in it ‘just for fun’ even if it’s complicated.
“Going out and having fun with someone you aren’t planning to date long-term offers a pressure-free chance to try new things and even mess up here and there without the heavy burden of worrying if he’ll call again. You don’t have to think about whether or not his mother will like you, and just like trying out several items at a buffet, you’ll become better acquainted with your own tastes.”
Below, you’ll find our list of 7 flings you shouldn’t miss.
The Foreign Fling
No mandatory fling list would be complete without the foreign hottie. That accent! The lure or the faraway and unknown! The knowledge that you only have a few weeks or months together and you’ll never see each other again.
According to dating coach Brett, foreign flings are fabulous because, “You never have to see them again once you leave. You can be yourself or anyone you want to be, you can let loose of all your inhibitions and you don’t have to worry about the repercussions.”
Dancing on the tables? Check. Sex on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean? Check. Making out with someone you’re not-exactly-positive but are about-87%-sure might be named Raphael? Check.
Unfortunately, Foreign Flings aren’t always all margaritas and moonlight kisses. Sometimes, you meet someone you want to stay connected to.
Brett says, “If you genuinely fall in love, the complications involved when it comes to moving, keeping in contact and trusting them while you’re visiting your folks at home, make for one tough relationship in the long-term.”
The Out of Your Age Range Fling
Samantha Brett says the benefits of an Out of Your Age Range Fling are numerous. “You can learn new things, meet new people of a different age group and expand your mind. If they’re older, they have more experience to pass on to you, and if they’re younger they’re more energetic and can make you feel young again.”
The drawbacks? Brett says, “You’re inevitably going to have different goals, wants, needs and values, which could sometimes be the deal-breaker. If it’s just a fling, sometimes the communication can be difficult when you’ve got nothing much in common aside from horniness.”
Life coach Nancy Michaels offers another take on May/December flings. “Men are looking for younger women — more consistently than not. Agreed? There’s a certain attraction that a younger woman has to a more mature man — gentlemanly ways, maturity their younger male counterparts are often lacking, and then there’s the cash-ola.
“They’re usually well off and will think a younger woman is the bomb and will treat her accordingly in most cases. If physical intimacy isn’t high on your list of things to do every night of the week, an older man may be just the ticket for front row seats on Broadway accompanied by low expectations in the bedroom each and every night. For some of us, this is a true blessing.”
And mature women are finding fun in dating younger men as well.
Michaels says, “What woman do you know who wouldn’t want a boy-toy on her arm and in her bed? These younger men make you feel young and vibrant, love your maturity and positive attitude toward life and love and they could be winning combinations for the right parties.”
You might never be 26 again, but you can pretend for the night.
The Pretty but Shallow Fling
My own pretty-but-shallow fling came in the form of a world-class body builder with the IQ of a shampoo bottle. It was three delicious weeks before I just couldn’t take it anymore.
According to Brett, the Pretty but Shallow fling offers “Fun in the sack, great sex and a good time had by all.”
The downside? “Women tend to get emotionally involved after sex even if they knew at the outset that it was just supposed to be a shallow fling. It’s the oxytocin that is released in our bodies when we have sex that does this and therefore it’s unavoidable that we’ll want to cuddle and possibly have his babies afterwards.”
After consulting with five men on the subject of Pretty but Shallow Flings, the consensus was clear: Guys, there is apparently no downside.
The What the Hell Was I Thinking Fling
He’s an ex-convict. She’s only 27 and has already been married 11 times. The What the Hell Was I Thinking Fling is dangerous, thrilling, and someone you’d never see yourself dating.
Except this one time…
Dating coach Brett says, “Chalk it up to experience. You can learn something from everyone — even if it’s what not to do…”
The downside (other than possible jail time)? Brett says, “The What the Hell Were You Thinking flings often give you a sense of regret that you can’t shake off for quite a while. Make sure you don’t beat yourself up over it and remember that it was just an experience that helped you grow and change — plus you’ll know what not to do (or rather, who not to do) next time.”
The Deeply Intellectual Fling
He went to Harvard, you went to Ball State. She listens to NPR, reads Voltaire and Jean-Paul Sartre, and you watch Wipeout and listen to Howard Stern. The intellectual fling is good for you because it challenges your belief system, makes you defend your thoughts and positions on world issues, and maybe, just maybe, exposes you to ideas and experiences you hadn’t considered before. Like experimental community theater. Or 7-hour discussions on existentialism. The good news is that you’ll never run out of things to talk about. The bad news is that you may wish you would.
Says Brett, the benefits of the Deeply Intellectual Fling are pretty, well, deep. “You learn new things, expand your mind and generally feel like a better person for it.” The drawbacks? “Talking about politics and the property market gets a tad boring when there’s Gossip Girl to watch and nails to be painted.”
Dating Expert Brenda Della Casa agrees, “The brain is the least-used sex organ and when it comes to hot flings, a mind really is a terrible thing to waste. A strong intellectual connection creates a sense of unity and bonding and can lead to passionate debates and flirtatious witty banter.
As long as your attraction for his body is as powerful as the attraction to his brain, the only downside a fling like this could have is if an intellectual competition starts brewing and someone switches from complimentary to condescending.”
The Wildest Sex of Your Life Fling
You’re covered in banana pudding, wearing a blindfold and trying positions you never knew existed. Congratulations, you’ve just nailed your Wildest Sex of Your Life fling, and you’ll probably end up replaying this day/week/month until you die.
Della Casa says, “There is no denying great sex can be intoxicating but it’s important to recognize the difference between a fantastic sexual connection and a great emotional one. Having a fantastic sexual fling will likely allow you to explore sides of yourself, your fantasies and the ways in which you carnally connect with another without the pressure of “what does he think of me” woes.
The drawbacks (besides chafing and running out of condoms at 2 am?)
Della Casa says, “The downside comes about when one of you thinks it’s just sex and the other thinks it is a whole lot more. The need to protect your body is obvious but don’t forget to protect your heart by being open and honest about who you are and what you’re thinking and expecting them to do the same.”
The Round 2 with Your Ex Fling
It didn’t work out the first time, but one or both of you still carry a torch. You run into each other at a party or bar and wham! Before you know it, you’re half-naked, making out like crazy on the couch. Things go great for a few weeks or months, and you can’t believe you ever broke up. Then, something triggers an argument, and you’re right back where you were eight months (or eight years) ago.
Says Della Casa, “Ex-sex is seductive because it’s familiar and often more comfortable than sex with someone new, but the drawbacks can be downright devastating. I don’t know too many couples who have broken up who can hop in the sack and come out from under the covers with them both glowing and emotionally detached.”
She adds: “Turning back the clock places you back in a broken relationship and may very well rip open old wounds or have one of you feeling things the other has locked away in history. The best thing you can do for yourself is to write a new chapter with new characters instead of trying to re-write history.”
The most important thing to remember about summer flings is that they’re not built to last. The key is to enjoy them for the frothy delights that they are, without worrying about tomorrow.
After all, that’s what summer flings are all about: Enjoying one day in the sun at a time.