First things first…

Ask yourself if this is the kind of relationship you really want to get into and why you want to enter into it. Are you mature enough to have a hassle-free shag-mate experience with someone who doesn’t want to be your long-term partner? Are you mentally ready for a relationship strictly about having fun and sex only? “Once you are okay with this, find someone who has the same perspective when it comes to the relationship,” says relationship expert Paula Quinsee.

Finding the perfect shag mate

Transformational therapist, Shaldon Fitzgerald says your sex buddy ought to be someone you like and get along with more than just being physically-attracted to them. If it’s about sex only then it will degenerate very quickly, he explains. “You want somebody you have some things in common with. It also helps with your safety. Your shag mate should be someone you’re generally attracted to, or possibly be in a relationship with.”

What makes this type of relationship work or fail, is how you negotiate it, says Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, member of the Durex Global Advisory Board on Sexual Health and Wellbeing. “It’s not necessarily who you have it with. Some people end up getting married to their sex buddy. This sometimes leads some into thinking that because they’ve been with their shag buddy for so long, it may turn out into something deeper.”

Is it wise for your shag buddy to be an existing friend or should they be a complete stranger? “That’s the thing about not getting emotionally attached. You don’t necessarily want somebody in your direct circle as that’s part of not getting attached,” Fitzgerald adds.

Maintaining respect

Respect for yourself and your mate is important. Mofokeng cautions. Just because you agreed to be shag buddies doesn’t mean you’ll be ready and?willing every time they want to link up. Because respect is universal, another crucial issue here is that of consent. “Are you comfortable with the fact you’re using someone for sex and vice-versa? You need to be okay with that,” warns Quinsee. 

Communicate and set boundaries

Communication and setting boundaries is crucial in this type of relationship. “Sometimes people go into shag buddy relationships to experiment and explore. From the start, let them know what you’re comfortable with. You need to establish at what point is it no longer safe for you and how you will respect each other if you’ve reached that point,” Quinsee says.

Mofokeng adds that with regards to sex, “negotiate the type you both want. You may not want to have anal sex, for example. Things turn sour when there’s no consent in terms of what you’re agreeing to do.

Catching feelings?

Don’t! This is the main rule of this game. If you do, you should end things, advises Fitzgerald. “Your shag mate may really not be interested in a relationship with you. If you start developing deeper feelings then you should rather end that connection and maintain a friendship, and see where that goes.” Quinsee says: “Be careful of cuddling, it builds intimacy, which starts changing the relationship in terms of feeling and emotions,” she warns.

Let go of expectations

A shag buddy is just that, a buddy not a boyfriend. Your expectations of him are close to zero. “Don’t expect gifts or anything you’d want from a boyfriend. Don’t expect things you didn’t promise each other,” Fitzgerald says. It’s not fair to expect marriage and commitment from a shag buddy because you’ll always be disappointed, he concludes.