Many nuances to romantic and sexual expression abound – and dating is an absolutely beautiful process to discover them! However, it’s also super complicated to navigate the modern dating landscape. Where conventional dating etiquettes can be very linear, there is a craving for more conscious and mindful dating practices.
In this article, I’m breaking it down for you so you can find a practical way into the dating scene.
What is sexual chemistry?
Let’s define the basics: chemistry is the body’s chemical signal that informs you that a person in front of you is attractive to you. Here’s what separates friendship from sexual romance – although some friendships really thrive if there is a little chemistry. But sexual romance will not awaken without physical, biological chemistry. Chemistry is not the whole story of romance by any stretch of the imagination. Saying that, it’s a foundational requirement for a sex life. To have an alive sexual relationship, both people need their bodies to feel regularly turned on by the other person.
Important sidenote: I’m speaking here about your body, not your mind, being turned on.
This also means that you’re regularly turned on – not sometimes or occasionally! Loads and loads of romantic relationships don’t include a sex life, but if you desire one that’s thriving, chemistry must be involved.
Key facts of sexual chemistry
- It’s a biological, hormonal response from your body signaling sexual arousal.
- Dopamine is activated in your brain; a feel-good hormone.
- Effects your brain in a similar way that drugs like heroin and cocaine do, but also other pain relief drugs.
- Increases your energy, your attention span and your focus of small details.
- It’s fundamental to our human nature but remains largely mysterious and magical.
Learning to hear chemical signals from your body, and how to respond makes “loving fun”, as the song says. But a lot of people have real blocks to feeling any chemistry at all. Sexual impropriety or abuse can block it, so can religious or spiritual beliefs. So too can extreme self-hatred and loathing. If you want to have a nourishing sex life, this will be your first challenge to heal your own relationship with sex.
But also chemistry is like a drug that can make you very high, great news for your body, but bad news for your mind. Another real challenge is learning how to channel this energy well. Because of the attraction, this chemical reaction remains and lingers in your body, long after you have said goodnight. It can stick to the mind like lint!
A mind fueled by chemistry can be a dangerous thing. You can start to think of this person all the time, and all the intimate things you’ll do together – but it’s all in your mind! And this is a really rocky terrain to navigate. Endlessly fantasizing about a sexual interest keeps you out of step with the other person!
So, the solution to these challenges and all the other messy stuff is simple – date!
The definitive guide to dating
Dating is going to save you from your own bullshit in so many ways! But our culture globally wants to skip this part. We want to skip it because it requires a lot of communication, and that is tricky. Also, because some advanced social skills are required, it often becomes tricky. It also requires some good “game” strategy and that is also very tricky. And we make the assumption that dating is just a silly starting task, the real-time and effort must be saved for the main task: boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, mother, father.
But that is wrong! And a little insane.
Dating is something we all benefit from doing, and doing a lot of it. Plus, in the year 2020, most of us do not require marriage to have all the things we want in life. Phew! Collectively, we have started evolving past that stage of codependence.
The benefits of mindful dating
- Discover how to communicate your own needs and desires. This is helpful for every aspect of your life for your entire lifespan!)
- Learn all about chemistry! Explore the variety of chemistry so you can be more intune to other people’s desires . Again, vital for every relationship you will ever have your whole life long!
- Inhabit your sensuality and sexuality – crucial if you want to have sex for the rest of your life! And also, if you want to experience pleasure in your body.
- Unbox how to interact with another person intimately – a vital for quality of life.
- Learn how to attract other people and feel into your own allure – essential for your whole life, and every relationship in it!
Oh, I could go on and on and on, but just let’s say this: dating will save your life. If you learn how to do it, you will be able to thrive in untold ways! And you can learn how to do it. And the best part is that dating does not HAVE to lead to a relationship. There are a bunch of subcategories that can open and free up your whole life. So let’s explore the definitions of mindful dating.
What is casual sex?
I think there is a lot of confusion about this. So, to make it clearer, I call it an adult play date. When consenting adults get together on a semi-regular basis to play with each other, sexually. And that is all you do. You don’t have dinner, or go to the movies or attend events together. It’s just a sexual play date.
And to be very frank, all adults want to play! If there is hot chemistry, then people want to play. So, my tips – what I will call Kiran’s Guidelines for Casual Sex:
- No strings attached: Brilliant if you can find a person with whom you have hot chemistry, but it’s OBVIOUS why you’re not really a fit for a life partner.
- The candidate is a centered human: the person you are hot for is balanced enough in their own life to show up on a consistent and semi-regular basis – like every other week, or on Wednesday nights.
- Respect the timeline: A great adult play date lasts on a regular basis for about 4-6 months. Then an organic bonding process starts. This is when humans attach to one another. Sex can be very bonding, usually hormonal secretions of oxytocin and vasopressin get involved, and there no getting around that. When that bonding begins, we start to overlook why it is not a good match, and therefore, my last tip:
- Mix it up: try to have two or even more playdate partners.
What is a hookup?
When done right, this is super fun! Dudes have been doing this for years, and ladies, they have something here…Please give yourself the chance to enjoy a hookup, be safe, get it on, and enjoy a sexy hangout. But the guidelines for a hookup are:
- Lots of chemistry: yet it’s still OBVIOUS why you wouldn’t be together for more.
- Agreed 1 time connection: this is perfect for those people you are hot and bothered by but they cannot show up regularly. Perhaps either you or they are on a work trip or vacation. Or you’re hot for a millenial – not a very regulated generation. Maybe you live in California, or Hawaii – the tried and true flakes!
- Be safe: heck, you don’t have to know much more than if your body finds them hot. But don’t give out real names or show anyone your ID, or talk about your kids. Don’t take them to your house, and wear protective gear on your junk.
- Keep it simple: a hookup is just a great rumble in the sheets. Depth of emotional connection tends not to drill down too far. It is best used as a place to learn how to speak from what your body wants. Basically, here’s your chance to be with a stranger that you are not going to spend a lot of time with in the future. Here is the ideal place for you to practice articulating the kind of pressure you like, or the rhythms you like, or where and how you want it and for how long you want it for.
- It needs to be fun and consensual – and that means by all parties, including the wife or husband at home!
What is making-out?
Also super fun. A makeout is a short, little sexual play. It’s a perfect solution for when you meet someone, and it’s hot between you, but all you really want is ten minutes to feel each other up.
Or maybe a 30 minutes session of kissing but no tongue, please and thank you. Or one hour of kissing, french-kissing, and a back massage. Or one hour of oral sex and toe sucking, but that’s it. Maybe it’s in the middle of a party, or the end of a Tinder date. Or the day after an awkward date. Learning how to ask for this, and asking for precisely just what you want is a great skill to learn for the rest of your life!
Guidelines for making-out
- Be Safe.
- Make sure that it’s consensual.
- Talk about the terms and the timeline.
- Have clear boundaries instead of being offended!
What is casual dating?
This is very tricky territory. Only people with hugely skilled levels of communication skills and have very little baggage can do this! Luckily, adult playdates, hookups, and makeouts will give you all the skill-building tools you need!
Casual dating is when you go for dinner, or a movie or a work event, a friend’s wedding, a trip to Hawaii. You have sex and maybe, but not really, sleepover. But seriously, don’t sleepover, just have sex.
Guidelines for casual dating:
- Meetups are intermittent: see each other about once a month, or once every two months. Any more and it’s no longer casual.
- Have clear, honest communications: be clear and make sure the other person is aware, and continually reminded, that you are not intending this to become a relationship or are, in any way, seriously dating each other.
- Be safe: use all precautions and birth control because getting pregnant is not a reason to turn casual dating into serious dating.
- Don’t make it exclusive: Be cool about them dating other people.
- Explore: date and play with other people.
- Respect the timeframe: suitable for 6-8 months max. After this you will start to bond, and bonding is not a reason to seriously date! Seriously, it’s not.
3 signs that you’re officially dating
- You meet someone with whom you have awesome chemistry.
- They seem to have the same interests and core values as you do.
- It’s possible you’ll want the same things in the future.
This is a crucial stage, it can build the foundation of a really nourishing relationship. But excitement can set in and you can start acting like you’re in a relationship instead of dating. However, this stage is really ideal to discover if a relationship is going to be nourishing!
Hearts are fragile, and you need to treat yours, and theirs, with tremendous care. The best objective is to leave everyone you love in better shape than when you started out!
Imagine if all the other love interests and partners in your past treated you that way!
Guidelines for official dating:
- Meetups are fairly regular: ideally, don’t hang out more than once a week.
- Patience: no sleepovers for the first four dates.
- Seriously, patience: only after four separate dates do you sleepover.
- Pacing: Only sleep over once a week. We are trying to prevent bonding from blinding your instincts, so you can truly notice how this person responds to stress, reacts on the daily with their friends and family. And also how they manage their finances, their children and exes, their home and pets.
- Me time and socializing: spend some time each week in solitude and with your other friends and family, so you don’t keep this new love forefront in your mind all week.
- Make a decision: move it into a relationship or break it off after three months. This time frame allows enough time to know if you want a relationship. If you don’t know, then it’s a ‘No’ masked as an ‘I don’t know’. And it’s going to hurt you and this other person. If you don’t know by now, break it off and circle back another time if you feel differently 6 or 8 months down the road. I say this in all sanity, but I know many are likely to fuck this up anyway.
Signs that you’re in a relationship
A relationship starts three months after you have been dating someone steadily.
Please note: You are not in a relationship after a dirty weekend, or a hot night in the sack, or three amazing dates. Or three amazing dates and then a steady week of great sex – or any combination of the above.
A relationship is when you have awesome chemistry, have the same core values, are both clear this is the person you want to spend all your time with. You are both clear on where this is going to end up in about six months. You have communicated effectively around challenging topics and issues with compassion.
Notice I didn’t say, because you are in love!
Without these things, you are still dating.
Relationships are where you spend about three days or more of the week together, and you have sleepovers.
There’s only one guideline to being in a relationship:
- If you are not sure of your future together inside of six months, end it and leave!
Getting closure after a breakup
Closure is a fundamental transition because without it, one or both of you, will still have an energetic cord open to each other. If the relationship came to a natural ending, but there was no closure, this subtly keeps the other person in your mind. But if the relationship came to a rocky or intense end, this keeps the other person prominently on your mind. And in all cases, it makes it very challenging to move on. Without closure, you can’t move on to process the reality of what you learned. And you can’t move on to meet other people.
So, closure is ideally done a couple weeks after the breakup and is a conversation over coffee.
Five stages of getting closure after a breakup
- Give them their stuff back
- Share what was good about your time together
- Share what you felt was not working
- Ask them to share the same: what worked, what didn’t?
- Be playful and ask them to design an ideal partner for you, including what qualities. Have your ex create a profile of who they think would be a better match is a totally illuminating and clear way to close the connection between you! (Do the same for them.)
Ending a toxic relationship
If you happen to have dated a challenged communicator and/or a primitive type of person who is not capable of the above, save yourself some time and just do it for yourself. Wait a couple of weeks then follow these steps
Steps to ending a toxic relationship
- Take all their stuff to the thrift store, and/or garbage.
- Make a list of what was good so you can keep those specific things on your “next lover” list.
- Make a list of what did not work, be specific and precise here. You know you can drill this down into minute details.
- Build a picture of the ideal partner you want next! Make this one really specific and detailed and make sure that your profile includes loads of qualities that your ex was missing!
- Do some energetic cord cutting… Just see yourself shutting the door on the past lover, and walking away towards the new lover. You might need to do this every day for a few weeks!
And then lastly, sign up to an online dating app! In the meantime, check out these other super helpful articles: