How to Have a Casual Fling: 4 Tips from a Therapist

It’s natural to wonder how to have a casual fling as you navigate dating. But before you know how to have this type of relationship,…


It’s natural to wonder how to have a casual fling as you navigate dating. But before you know how to have this type of relationship, it’s important to explore your authentic needs.

Why Do You Want to to Have a Casual Fling

When you want to have a casual fling, there could be a variety of motivators underlying this.

Sometimes, you may be focused on other goals in life and a relationship isn’t a priority. Learning how to have a casual fling then is aligned with your authenticity. If you resonate with this, please scroll to the section in this article on the tips to have a casual fling.

Yet if you want to know how to have a casual fling because of someone or something else, it’s important to dig deeper.

Trying to Get Over Someone

There’s an old saying that the “best way to get over someone is get under someone new.” Yet this is not how emotions work.

If you are going through a breakup, it’s understandable you may want to avoid the heavy feelings of grief and missing your ex that naturally arise. Yet what you resist, persists.

A Fling Won’t Erase the Pain of a Breakup

In other words, if you try to rush into a casual fling to get over your ex, you won’t erase your grief. Rather, you postpone it. You may be distracted for awhile with your casual fling. Yet, you eventually may feel worse. You may feel sadder – even rejected – after time or sex with your casual fling.

The kindest thing you can do is to learn how to cope well with your pain after a breakup rather than rushing yourself through the process.

Wanting to Seem Cool

Sex positivity has helped highlight women’s sexuality exists outside of the male experience or his desire. However, unfortunately, the male experience is still often privileged in hookup culture. At times, it seems hookup culture has also created an expectation that a woman “should” be liberated enough to have casual sex. There sometimes seems to be an underlying message that if you cannot have casual sex and get emotionally attached to the person you are sexually intimate with than you have a problem.

In reality, there are some people whose attachment style lends itself to casual flings and others who do not have an attachment style supportive of casual flings.

This leads to tip number one on how to have a casual fling.

How to Have an Authentic Casual Fling Tip #1: Consider Your Attachment Style

If you have secure attachment then having a casual fling likely won’t disrupt your mental health if you’re mindful of the following tips. A secure attachment style means you find it natural to build closeness with others if you click with them. You are confident that you have a lot to offer a partner and if a relationship doesn’t work out you know that this isn’t a reflection of your worth. You also know there are plenty of other potential partners out there for you. Therefore, with a secure attachment style a casual fling likely won’t threaten your sense of worth.

And if you have an avoidant attachment style, you naturally avoid closeness with others. A relationship that isn’t serious may actually better meet your needs. In fact, if you want a serious relationship, you likely will need to work on becoming less avoidant.

Be Very Cautious if You Have an Anxious Attachment Style

If you have an anxious attachment style, a casual fling may threaten your self-esteem. It may also be self-destructive and emotionally damaging. This is because with this attachment style, you naturally seek approval from others and fear abandonment. If you have this attachment style, you may even be trying to be chill simply because it feels like you found your “perfect” person yet they don’t want commitment.

If you are seeking to have a casual fling to seem attractive to someone else, or keep them in your life, this is codependent and feeds your anxious attachment. Instead, it’s important to be honest with yourself that a casual fling likely won’t create the sense of trust and safety you need in a relationship to become securely attached.

How to Have an Authentic Casual Fling Tip #2:  Be Honest with Yourself about Why You Want One

It’s very important to consider exactly why you want to know how to have a casual fling. Are you doing this because you truly want the experience of a casual relationship? Or are you trying to avoid the pain of a breakup? Or are you trying to be casual to seem attractive to someone else?

The best way to have a casual fling is to ensure it’s authentic for you rather than an avoidance of pain or to attract someone else. If you are trying to seek a meaningful commitment by having a casual fling with someone you like this is an ineffective strategy. It is wiser instead to find a person whose values align with yours – wanting commitment – instead of tricking someone into being with you.

If it’s authentic to have a casual fling then ask yourself when, how, and with whom you are open to have a type of relationship or sex. These are the limits you will need to set.

How to Have an Authentic Casual Fling Tip #3: Communicate with the Other Person

When having a casual fling, it’s important to establish in advance your needs and limits. You will need to communicate with the other person to try to be on the same page. This helps minimize misunderstandings, resentment, or hurt feelings from trying to be casual together.

Ensure the other person knows that you are only seeking a casual relationship and see if this meets their needs. Next consider your boundaries.

How much time do you want to invest in the relationship? How and when is sex an option? For example, is it ok to have sex together if alcohol or other substances have been ingested? What are your needs when it comes to preventing pregnancy and disease?

It can sometimes seem like having a casual fling means you don’t have to discuss the serious stuff. But in reality, it’s imperative to do so to ensure your mental and physical safety and wellbeing.

How to Have an Authentic Casual Fling Tip #4: Advocate for Your Pleasure

When you are having a casual fling, it may feel awkward to discuss intimate subjects, yet you deserve to advocate for your wellbeing and pleasure.

Consider your needs to ensure you are enjoying the physical aspects of casual fling. Is it important to you that you orgasm with your casual partner? If so, consider how you will assert this right to orgasm. Do you need to discuss what you prefer or need such as clitoral stimulation? (A study in 2017 found that 7 out of 10 women who had heterosexual sex either need their clitoris stimulated to orgasm or prefer it.)

Enjoying Your Fling

As you connect to your needs, and limits, you are empowering yourself. This is wise and mentally healthy work. Whatever you have discovered is right for you – celebrate this. You are connecting to your authentic self!

About The Author

Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist with over a decade of experience. Currently, Krystal sees clients at her private practice, The Healthy Relationship Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to empowering people to heal from unhealthy relationship processes. She does this by teaching the skills and tools necessary to have a life filled with healthy and loving relationships.

This passion led her to write her best-selling books and create courses. Her books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many people heal.

She is currently working on her book, Self-Love Made Possible: The 5-Step Guide to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy and Become Your Own Best Friend. To be notified of its release, please join the waitlist here.

If you have any personal dating or relationship questions, Krystal is happy to provide advice using her expertise and compassion. If you feel comfortable, feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post. Otherwise, you may send an email to or DM her on Instagram.

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