There's a lot of debate over whether casual sex is healthy or degrading. But the truth is, a hookup can be disempowering or empowering depending on what you're comfortable with and how you're treated, and so can a serious relationship. There are things we all deserve in a relationship, no matter how casual it is. And the quality of a relationship is a determined by whether or not we're getting them — not by what kind of relationship it is.
There are two basic things people should be able to respect from every sexual connection, and the first is safety, Katherine Schafler, a licensed therapist who runs a private practice in New York tells Bustle. "Safety means consent for sex, transparency about protection and contraception use, and understanding that people are allowed to change their minds about any aspect of a sexual encounter at any time."
The second thing we all deserve is dignity, Schafler says. "At the most basic level, dignity simply means that you understand that a human is a human, not an object. Objects don't have feelings, can be used whenever you want or need them, and can be thrown around, thrown away, and otherwise disregarded. There's a difference between casual hookups and treating people as if they're disposable. If you don't know what that difference is, stop having sex until you figure it out."
Here are a few things we all deserve from our sexual partners, whether they're one-night stands, friends with benefits, significant others, spouses, or anything in between.