Are you just a booty call but want more?


Are you a booty call, friend with benefits, fallback or in a casual relationship when you want more?

Many people want the companionship and regular sex of someone with the least amount of effort possible. This is fine if you’re both on the same page with this, but I see so many clients who want commitment and possibly children but they get stuck in relationships going nowhere fast. Their pain and dissatisfaction is heartbreaking.

Our instant online gratification hook-up culture has extinguished our relationship expectations. Nihilistic and jaded anti-love sentiment can make us way too casual about ourselves. I see so many clients trying to convince themselves they won’t “catch feelings” and that they can keep it simply physical. Just stop. Your values are important and you can clearly articulate what you want.

Hopper, Excursion into Philosophy 1959

How to tell if you’re in a pseudo relationship

They’ve told you they don’t want a relationship or anything serious right now but you still stick around. You can’t change their mind. You can’t prove yourself to them. You won’t win by waiting it out after a year of casual sex. You’re not a car that needs multiple test drives.

You’ve been giving all of yourself whilst requiring nothing more than a bare minimum in return. This reflects how little you value yourself and what you’ll tolerate.

You have a history of casual relationships because you run from people who want serious commitment from you because it feels “uncomfortable”. You might be commitment phobic yourself and the “challenge” of the emotionally unavailable person means you don’t have to look within and confront your fears about commitment, abandonment and how loveable you are.

Your sexual partner doesn’t make time to see you regularly, doesn’t follow through fast enough after dates, isn’t interested in meeting your friends, family or you theirs. You may have ignored red flags and desperately don’t want to be alone.

There’s no emotional and sexual boundaries. They exploit kink and polyamorous identities as “excuses” for their bad behaviour. Respectful behaviour is important for any identity or lifestyle.


Your sexual partner keeps you at arms length and avoids emotional intimacy. The “relationship” isn’t developing and a year later you’re still their “once a week shag”.

You settle for crumbs and focus obsessively on them. Yeah, sure they like your company, like sex with you, maybe they did a nice thing for you last week… You might focus on that one tiny thing so much that you block out the negatives.

You hope by having sex you will get emotional intimacy. Don’t. If you get emotionally attached to people you’re being sexual with, take your time getting to know them first! Sex can bond you to the wrong person for years.

If you want a committed partner and you’ve been dating someone for a few months but they still don’t know what they want, it’s time to hold your head up high and say goodbye. You can’t force someone to commit. Stop clinging desperately to what you don’t want when you could be out there finding what you do want. You deserve it.

Cat O Dowd
Sex Therapist & Couples Counsellor

Art- Narcissus and Echo: Solomon Joseph.

Excursion into Philosophy and Summer in the City:  Edward Hopper

Why bottling up your emotions is bad for your health

New research shows the negative consequences of  bottling up our emotions. If your partner has done something to really upset you and you bottle it up-you are much more likely to be aggressive.
  If you’ve had a bad day at work and you suppress your emotions you can come home and take it out on your partner.
 Even Freud talked about this…

Another study shows that suppressing emotions can take years off your life. This study asked participants questions such as “I try to be pleasant so that others won’t get upset” and “When I’m angry I let people know.”

When the survey was repeated ten years later it was found that premature death rates are the highest amongst those that bottle up their emotions. 
Researchers guess this causes early deaths– perhaps because people use drugs, smoking, drinking or over eating as coping mechanisms for their suppressed emotions.  Perhaps the stress of bottling up emotions disrupts hormonal balances leading to illness and damage to the immune system.

Suppressing our emotions can shut down and close our partners out. We might not mean to do it or even want to do it but it could be a learned behaviour from our parents or our own attempts to avoid conflict. Sometimes we can’t cope or deal with an emotionally painful scenario because of we are paralysed by fear.

We can bury emotions down deep inside where they “rot.” This “fermentation” can seriously harm relationships and cause resentment.

“Buying peace” at any cost creates deep unhappiness. 
Swallowing down our hurt, bubbles up later in negative ways and manifests itself;

  • in low self esteem
  • unconsciously hurting and punishing our partner
  • internalising our pain so it turns into self destructive behaviour
  • venting about your partner
  • losing patience for your partner at little things etc.

We can try to avoid feeling our emotions through;

  • denial
  • compulsive behaviour such as over eating/working or sexual activity or drug abuse
  • addiction to pornography/intimacy avoidance
  • keeping excessively busy as a defence mechanism etc.

We use  many unhealthy techniques to help us repress our feelings. Learning to identify these emotions and releasing them can help improve and enhance our relationships. 

We can reverse emotional suppression.

I’ve helped many couples adopt new, healthy emotional communication styles. Telling our partner how we feel emotionally can open the gates of communication and help us feel more grounded. Learning how not to run away from our emotions and numb out the pain can force us to step out of the victim role and into a place of self responsibility.

I teach clients to identify how we feel. Ask yourself; What do I feel right now? Write the answer in a journal. Notice what tension you are feeling in your body when you feel certain emotions. Rather than rushing for the junk food/wine/cigarette or your own individual crux, notice the feeling in your body and the source of the emotion and work on that instead.

Try telling your partner, “I feel hurt because….” rather than bottling it all up can help start opening up the cork on your emotional bottle.

Come see me for confidential, open minded therapy to learn more techniques to improve your health and your relationships.

Cat O Dowd

Relationship Counsellor- Sex Therapist- Art Therapist