Actually Important Things That Movies Have Taught Us About Casual Sex

For one, use a GD condom.

In the new indie romantic comedy Sleeping with Other People, two friends (played by dating advice expert Alison Brie and the increasingly hunky Jason Sudeikis) have a knack for keeping their emotions out of their sex lives, and even keep things platonic despite their obvious attraction to one another. We bet we can guess how this works out for the both of them!

That’s because casual sex on screen rarely stays casual. In fact, just about every casual hookup we’ve seen in the movies either ends in disaster or full-blown romance. (Or, in most cases, both.) Movie relationships are definitely heightened versions of real-life courtships, but we’ve still learned a thing or two along the way. Here are six valuable lessons the movies have taught us about casual sex.

  • If you want it to be casual, you’d better keep it casual.

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    Like any relationship, communication is key. So if you and your partner want this to be a no-strings-attached situation, you’d better tell them that at the beginning. (See: Mila Kunis telling Justin Timberlake what’s what in Friends with Benefits.) Better yet, you have to maintain the casual nature of the relationship. That means fun hookups and hangouts and no major romantic expectations. Easier said than done, as that flick proves.

  • Casual doesn’t mean unsafe sex, kids!

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    Lest you want to find yourself in a pickle like Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen’s characters did in Knocked Up, sorting out pregnancy after a sloppy, drunken one-night stand. (That’s the story every child wants to hear about how they were conceived.)

  • The sex will be very hot.

    20th Century Fox

    Yes, sex is always better when it’s with someone you deeply care about. But when there are no lingering worries about where it’s going you can really just let go of all of your inhibitions and have a damn good time, just like Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal did early on in Love & Other Drugs.

  • But eventually someone will have feelings.

    Paramount Pictures

    As casual as you intend to keep this thing, at least one (or both) of you will have feelings at some point. Now, whether they are fleeting feelings or they blossom into a full-on romance (like Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman’s characters wound up finding in No Strings Attached), varies with each couple. Again, communication is key. If one of you has feelings and the other just wants casual sex, well, then it becomes the plot of Fatal Attraction.

  • You’ll analyze the relationship with your friends.

    Screen Gems

    If you’re in any kind of casual sex relationship (like, say, the one Kevin Hart and Regina Hall tried to have in About Last Night) you’ll definitely go over every aspect of it with your friends. Or, they’ll analyze it to death for you. Y’know, like all the characters in About Last Night did.

  • Casual sex may open you up to other, deeper relationships.

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    Think about it: If Kristen Wiig’s character in Bridesmaids hadn’t had a casual sex relationship with a handsome jerk (played by Jon Hamm), she wouldn’t have met the handsome non-jerk (played by Chris O’Dowd) whom she eventually wound up with. Casual hook-ups will fill a need for a short period of time, but eventually it will lead you to someone, and something else a little more substantial.