No Strings Attached. For many who are currently single and ready to mingle, these three little words bring music to their ears and joy to their hearts (and to other anatomical regions a little further south).
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Simply put, it means you have hit pay dirt — finding a mutual physical attraction with another person who wants the exact same things you want… the fun and convenience of having someone who enjoys steamy encounters between the sheets, but one who doesn’t wake up expecting the type of full-on courtship that comes with traditional dating territory.
The Basics of NSA Relationships
Different than a one-night stand (more on one night stands here), wherein the fun is literally limited to one encounter, no strings attached relationship generally lasts for as long as the parties involved are willing.
To be clear, an nsa relationship is a relationship of sorts, albeit a limiting one that centers almost exclusively on nurturing the physical side of the relationship. Stated bluntly, it’s all about that sex, ‘bout that sex, ‘bout that sex. And yeah, both parties agree to get together for no-strings nookie, with the understanding that a night of mind-blowing passion won’t cause you to behave as if you’re suddenly in a committed relationship.
NSA Relationship No-No’s
Remember, when you ‘sign on’ for nsa relationships, you are — in effect — agreeing to check your feelings at the door, or the floor, or wherever else the urge may lead you.
Calling just to “check in” on your partner, asking about that person’s plans for the future, or requesting that person accompany you to special events… no, no and no…these things are not cool for nsa relationships Expecting your ‘friend’ to ask about your day, the number of children you hope for or to invite you out for dinner and a play… negative. In these type of arrangements, that “L” word doesn’t exist…only the “F” word.
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Understand that with nsa relationships, going in, you’ve agreed to the role of ‘friends with benefits’ (more rules here)… a role that leaves you stuck, almost universally, in the hook-up-for-casual-sex-only category. Expectations beyond that land squarely in the middle of the traditional relationship zone, complete with depth and meaningful conversation and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, it could lead to something more.
When it comes to nsa relationships, though, these expectations are huge violations of the agreement.
Great Fun, But Not For Everyone
While no strings attached relationships are fun and the perfect place to experiment (tons of sex tips to experiment with hered), not everyone is suited to enter into one. Today, many singles have tossed tradition to the side, and many of the time honored dating rules have given way, allowing two consenting adults to consummate their relationship in a purely physical context.d
But for hopeless romantics longing for a fairy tale romance, these lust driven trysts may lead to the false notion that maybe — just maybe — this casual arrangement could lead to something more. If you are that hopeless romantic, understand that nsa relationships probably aren’t for you, and could lead to a one-sided relationship, as well as a great deal of disappointment. Ditto if you’re the type who wants to ‘rescue’ someone, or to be rescued by someone.
Bottom line: You simply don’t want to open your heart to someone who has absolutely no intention to ever date you seriously.
Still, nsa relationships work for some people, at least for a while. Following, then, is a short list of scenarios that generally work for those entering into nsa relationships:
- A long term relationship has recently ended, and you simply want to explore before entering into another committed relationship.
- Your last relationship ended badly, and now, you just want to have fun. (Some great sex games to experiment with here)
- You’re avoiding commitment, at least for now.
- You don’t have the time/energy/desire for a committed relationship right now.
The key, if you’re at least considering having an nsa relationship, is to be 100 percent honest with yourself. If you are, indeed, capable of keeping your emotions separate while regularly having sex with someone, then you’re a good candidate. But if you know, deep down, that amid that type of intimate physical connection (which may feel similar to an actual relationship), you may not be able to hold back the feelings, then steer clear.
There’s nothing wrong with your relationship DNA, but this type of arrangement can leave you feeling awkward, insecure and wildly disappointed.
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Still Want An nsa? Know The Rules of the Road
If, after serious and thoughtful self-assessment, you’ve decided that an nsa relationship is right for you, right now, then you have to approach it correctly. Below, you’ll find information regarding the nsa rules of the road, so you can best position yourself (no pun intended, but if you are looking for new sex positions, check out this pictorial guide).
Keep Your Friends Close, But Your ‘Friends With Benefits’ Closer
Most people (especially as they get older) will list meaningful friendships among the things in life they are most thankful for. And true friendship requires meaningful conversation, but also is likely to involve frequent light conversation tood. In short, with friends, there’s already an established emotional intimacy between the two people. Piling an nsa relationship onto pre-established emotional intimacy can be a recipe for friendship disaster.
Think about it. When you start with emotional intimacy and deep, meaningful conversation, and eventually add physical intimacy to the equation, you have the perfect foundation for a traditional romantic relationship. Falling in love in a scenario like this is often the natural trajectory for relationship. However, when the two of you agree that the sex in a scenario like this meets a physical need–but nothing more–confusion can quickly and easily ensue.
Did you see the 2011 romantic comedy No Strings Attached? The film grossed over $149 Million worldwide, which probably means a lot of you have already seen this film.
But if you haven’t, a quick rundown: The film’s stars, Ashton Kutcher (Adam) and Natalie Portman (Emma), have been friends since they were teens. In the wake of a bad breakup, Adam has a few too many drinks, and in his uninhibited state, begins seeking a casual hook-up. He lands at Emma’s home, and although nothing happened between them that night, the two eventually have sex. These long-time friends discuss, and agree to, a casual nsa relationship, and the movie highlights the comedy and confusion that ensues between them.
Whether you enjoyed the movie or not, if you’ve seen it already, it’s impossible to overlook the feelings, the confusion and the awkwardness that enters in. While this relationship portrayed in the movie may not mirror yours, it gives you a good idea of how frustrating things can be.
So, do yourself–and your friend–a huge favor. Don’t throw mud into very clear and calm waters.
A Little Honest Conversation Can Go A Long Way
To piggyback on the aforementioned cinematic example, a little conversation can go a long way. Provided that there is no pre-existing emotional attachment to this person, discussing your desires and intentions for this arrangement at the very start helps to assure that everyone is on the same page, and nothing about your encounters is misleading.
An Ex Is An Ex For A Reason!d
Much of the rationale for not revisiting past relationships is similar to the rules for not engaging with a friend — there is a pre-existing emotional attachment to this person. Repeat after me, please: This scenario rarely works out for your benefit. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, understand that one of you may, sooner or later, muddle those emotional lines, resulting in a one-way relationship between two parties who want different things.
And really, isn’t that essentially why the two of you broke up in the first place?
While the merits of protecting yourself emotionally have been elaborated on at length, it’s critically important that your physical well-being is also taken into consideration.
Nsa relationships almost always leave both parties open to explore other relationships, and because the two of you are not committed to one another, asking about the other’s sexual partners is off the table. And, because you don’t know how many people your partner may also have as sexual partners, always insist on protection. Always!
The ‘SA’ in nsa Relationships Stands For ‘Selfishness Allowed’
In traditional relationships, part of the agreement is mutual concern for — and attention toward — the person you’re committed to. An nsa relationship, however, is focused on satisfying your sexual appetite. It’s about fun, it’s about getting your needs met, and if you’re fresh off a heart wrenching breakup, it can help you keep your mind occupied.
The minute you begin obsessing over your appearance, worrying about what your partner thinks of you and your behavior, or viewing that partner as a substitute for the ex that broke your heart, you’re straddling the emotional fence.
In conclusion, nsa relationships require you to know yourself, to be honest and up-front about your desires and intentions, but also for you to keep your end of the agreement–No. Strings. Attached.
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