You’ve heard of the horror stories where you hook up with someone a few times and all of a sudden they think you’re dating. She starts nagging you for a commitment or he thinks it’s ok to text you every hour. Many people like to cut the crap and enjoy sex for what it is – just a purely physical release. But how do you achieve this over a longer term without getting feelings involved? Can no-strings-attached sex really be ‘no strings’? The answer is yes, of course, as long as both parties know the deal and you avoid mushy situations which can lead to emotional dependence on one another.

Here are some tips for maintaining an informal sexual arrangement without commitment:

Be upfront and honest – the best way of not letting sex progress into a relationship is to let the other person know your intentions from the start. If it’s just about sex, tell them and ask them if they’re interested in such an arrangement. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of the other person getting confused and you could end up with an emotional disaster. If you don’t know how to bring up such a conversation, try using a casual sex contract. This can be a good ice breaker and also sets clear boundaries for you both.

Avoid dating – this might seem obvious but so many couples fall fowl of this rule. As soon as you start going on dates (whether it’s dinner, movies or just a casual day at the beach), that’s when you start getting closer. The other person may start expecting more of these outings and this can become confusing very quickly.

No sleeping over – yes it might be more convenient to crash over after your steamy sex, but this can lead to problems. What happens in the morning? Do you make them coffee/breakfast? It can get quite awkward. If you really need to stay over, for example if you’ve been drinking or it’s late, then at least don’t sleep in the same bed (you might find yourselves spooning in the middle of the night). That would be a breach of your contract.

Watch your conversations – if you just want casual sex with no feelings attached, you shouldn’t be discussing anything other than what positions you like, how the other person is performing and when you’re going to shag next. You shouldn’t be dumping your family or work problems on the other person or sharing your favorite songs or movies. Keep your dialog strictly to business; use your friends for chatting. The less you know about each other outside the bedroom the easier it will be to break away when you need to. This should be mentioned in your casual sex agreement.

Keep your social lives separate – taking someone to a family get-together or even just to spend the day with your friends can say much more to the other person than going on a mere date together. Doing this essentially says to them “this person likes me enough to introduce me to his friends and loved ones”. It can create false impression of dating, a much deeper connection than taking just someone out to dinner. If you don’t see it going anywhere other than the bedroom, avoid this at all cost.

These are just some of the rules you should stick by when engaging in strictly casual sex. Some of us are skilled at keeping our distance but a lot of men and women out there have trouble with not getting emotionally involved. Whatever you do, set the rules straight from the start. You can always change your mind later if you feel the urge. Just communicate honestly along the way.