Vermont Northern Lights Career Development Center

On the Folly of Faking Interest in Casual Sex

by Sam Shane

Regular readers know I’m emphatic about honesty and full disclosure in dating. Usually, deceptive tactics involve guys lying to girls about their intentions in order to get laid. One survey of 1,000 men found:

On Faking Interest to Get Sex

  •         56% of guys in bars said they would fake interest in a girl to get sex.
  •         41% of guys not in bars said the same.
  •         44% of guys in bars said they would lie about wanting a relationship to get sex.
  •         33% of guys not in bars said the same.

Best case scenario, your odds of being played are 1 in 3. But that’s not the only kind of dishonesty at work between the sexes today. There’s a kind of deception that women commonly practice, even though they are usually their own worst victims.


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I’m talking about pretending you’re cool with a casual sex relationship as a way of getting with someone, all the while hoping you can win them over to commitment once you’re having sex. It happens in various ways:

1. The guy dodges the issue of commitment, but wants a sexual relationship now.

Him: “I’m really attracted to you, and I’m interested to see where this goes.”

(This comes dangerously close to the tactics described in the survey results above.)

Him: “I think it’s important for us to discover whether we are sexually compatible.”

2. The guy explicitly states he doesn’t want a relationship, but he wants sex now.

Him: “I am not looking for a serious relationship right now, but I think we could have ‘something’ really great.”

Or, in one case a reader shared:

“Can’t we just be friends with benefits?”

3. The guy is silent on the issue of a relationship, and the girl doesn’t want to ask.

Her: “I don’t think there could be anyone else. I can pretty much account for his time between me, his friends and work. And he acts really into me.”

A Question of Character

Sadly, in the case where the guy wanted FWB, even though he claimed to really like the girl, she responded by attempting to be more cavalier about sex than he was. She even told him she didn’t want any drama in the relationship around sex or her talking to other guys. She figured by pretending not to care, she’d gain the upper hand, but he really didn’t care and she got burned badly in the end.

Although women are generally the big losers when pretending to be down for casual sex, it’s arguably unfair to the guy as well. He thinks he’s buying into a no-drama, no-strings-attached extended sexual playdate. If that’s not what you’re really after, you’re very likely to wind up accusing him of being a jerk and creating massive drama when he hooks up with someone else or loses interest.

A Question of Strategy

Acting like you’re DTF when you really want DTR is also very bad strategy:

People who prefer casual sex to relationships usually pair off together.

By compromising on this critical issue, you’re filtering “in” the avoidant guys, guaranteeing no relationship.

There are plenty of women who are genuinely happy to have casual encounters. So if you claim to be one of them, expect to be taken at your word.

Casual sex does sometimes lead to relationships, but…

Helen Fisher has stated that over 1/3 of men and women who have had one-night stands were hoping they’d turn into more. Other research shows that the percentage of people who have hooked up is about the same as the percentage looking for a relationship.

The problem is that a great match isn’t any more likely after casual sex than it is after a coffee date. So that’s potentially a whole lot of casual sex partners, with all the accompanying risks, just to see if you make it to a second date. It’s like playing a sex lottery.

Research shows that relationships come out of hookups when both parties wanted one from the start. The sex is just a means to an end. (That sounds crazy – but you know what I mean.)

Auditioning for sexual compatibility is depressing. (And it is not compatible with good sex.)

I’ve seen male bloggers write posts on the ideal way to position your body during sex so that you look your best to the guy. WTF. You’re worrying about how you look, worrying about how good he’ll think you are in the sack. Good luck enjoying yourself, much less getting off. That’s really not very sexy!

No one falls in love because of sex. 

Great sex is a huge advantage in any relationship, but sex alone cannot make someone love you. Furthermore, when someone makes clear they want sex and only sex, they’re giving notice that they really don’t care much about your personality one way or the other, much less your hopes and dreams.

“Success” in these situations is most often a guy reluctantly agreeing to put a label on it for the sake of continuing the regular sex. Reluctant boyfriends are not very good at relationships, and they’re not much fun to have around. They also cheat. So you’re basically worse off than you were before.

It’s good to be willing to take risks for love, but this kind of subterfuge doesn’t qualify. It’s dishonest, it’s unfair and it’s ineffective.

If you’re willing to say that you want a relationship, and that you don’t do casual, you’re filtering out all the guys who could never love you. Now that’s good strategy.