Dear Lucia,

I’m sleeping with this guy who I originally got involved with because I knew he was not the type to commit to one girl. I just wanted sex with no strings attached.

Now we’re hanging out, cuddling and spending the night together. He’s the one initiating all of this and I’m starting to like him. I think he feels the same way, but it’s so hard to read through the game. Should I break it off before I end up having feelings for him and getting hurt? Or, should I keep doing what we’re doing and see if his actions are really sincere?

—Lost in L.A.

Dear Lost,

Women are supposed to bond with the men they have sex with. Nature made it this way in order to ensure that the woman would stay with the man long enough to procreate. In this era of booty calls, "friends with benefits" and sex with no strings attached, women are learning the hard way that it’s not always possible to keep casual sex – well, casual.

Dr. Patricia Allen, in her book Getting to I Do, says that casual sex in a normal woman triggers a bonding that verges on physical addiction. She continues, "This is due to a sexually stimulated hormone called oxytocin … which triggers orgasm. Soon the sound of his voice, the look on his face, the touch of his hands … become intensely associated with the addictive pleasure that oxytocin brings, and keeps her bonded to him."

In other words, oxytocin (not to be confused with the drug oxycotin) makes you feel good about the person who causes the hormone to be released. I guess this accounts for some women’s bad choice of partners.

You ask if you should break it off before you end up having feelings for him. I hate to tell you this, but you already have feelings for him. There are two ways of dealing with this situation – directly or indirectly. If you choose the former, then you need to find out how he feels about you. I would ask him when you are "hanging out and cuddling." If he says he wants to keep things as they are, then you need to decide if you can live with that. Sure, he may not be telling the truth or he may change his mind. But how much time, energy and emotion do you want to waste to find out?

If you choose the latter, then he should not sleep over anymore. Sleeping over can ruin a perfectly good booty call – a privilege that should only be reserved for boyfriends. Also, you need to start dating (though not necessarily sleeping with) other guys and make sure he knows it. If he does have feelings for you, he won’t want you to date others and will step up to the plate.

You can lie to him about what type of relationship you want, but please don’t lie to yourself. Most guys will say they don’t want to commit to one girl until they find that one girl they do want to commit to. And once you’re on the booty call list, it’s not easy to get off (so to speak).

Is it possible for some women to keep things casual when it comes to sex? Absolutely. But they are generally the exception that proves the rule. Make sure you know which category you belong in before you decide to go against nature.

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