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Welcome to A Millennial's Dating Diary series, where we explore real-life interactions and the hurdles of dating in Southeast Asia. The series will feature the dating stories and misadventures of Arika – a 26-year-old, straight female marketing manager with a penchant for over drinking — and fellow millennials.
Unpopular opinion: Every girl should have a promiscuous phase at least once in their life.
The promiscuous phase is when someone explores their more promiscuous side without forming permanent ties with anyone they’re seeing for the lack of a better term.
To quote writer Leora Tenenbaum who wrote the book, I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet, “I have nothing against sexualising yourself. The problem is that we don’t live in a world with sexual equality. We live in a world with a sexual double standard — boys and men are expected and encouraged to be sexually active while girls and women are expected to be sexually minimal.” Tanenbaum distils this double standard in a simple phrase: “Boys will be boys, girls will be sluts.”
Before you start swinging your moral sword at me, not every promiscuous phase has to end in sex. Depending on the individual, a promiscuous phase could, in essence, mean casually dating several people at once. Ultimately, it’s all up to the person involved and what they’re choosing to do.
HBO’s series, Insecure, paid homage to the phase at the start of Season 2 with various characters, and if the show is anything to go by, there are many different ways to explore the phase.
Whether it’s sex with just one person, sex with multiple people, or no sex at all, the show explored all the different ways things can be played out.
So why is a promiscuous phase so important?
The promiscuous phase helps you learn more about yourself, your likes, dislikes, and your needs. As a cheeky advantage, you also get better at anticipating the needs of others in bed.
At 15, I entered a long-term committed relationship with someone I had hopes and dreams of getting married to. When the relationship ended after about 10 years, I was distraught and, if anything, at a loss of what to do with myself. I had never really dated prior to my relationship, and because of that, I was only familiar with the habits and patterns of just one person.
For the longest time, I thought I wanted to be married with kids when I was 30, so when my relationship ended, that goal changed drastically, and I saw things differently.
Single at 25, I decided to date casually to explore my options and take the opportunity to learn about what I really wanted in a partner. Whether through sex, conversations or just dating behaviour, I’ve managed to form a clearer picture of what I want for my future now.
You might even form an emotional and more intimate connection with someone you casually see as well in your exploration phase, and it might work out really nicely.
Dating casually or going into a “promiscuous phase” isn’t for everyone, though, and that’s perfectly fine.
“I could never date casually. Why waste your time dating if it doesn’t end up in marriage or anything more significant?” says my friend *Mandy, 28. “It’s fine to explore for a while and date several people, but I can’t date without a long-term purpose,” she explained.
I’ve also had friends who realised casual dating isn’t for them.
“I’ve tried casually dating, and I get way too emotionally attached,” says my friend *Misha, 27, who’s currently dating someone exclusively. “I always feel like the guys would take advantage of me sexually.”
Despite all this, I still feel the advantages of a promiscuous phase outweighs its disadvantages.
Learning about yourself and how you’d want to be treated in new relationships is paramount to having better and more fulfilling relationships in the future.
Balancing the New Normal: