Should-Free Living by Heather Strang – Relationships

Heather Strang, and co-author Brooke Emery, wrote the upcoming book Stop Shoulding On Yourself! A Woman’s Guide From Obligation to Inspiration. The book encourages women to live from an authentic and should-free space.

So, grab a cup of tea and read on…who knows, you just might find some great ideas for your own life…

Dear Heather:

I’m a 34-year-old single woman who dates casually, but I haven’t found someone that I am ready to enter into a long-term relationship with. So I am trying to figure out the whole bootie-call thing-it seems like I should be able to have people in my life that I can have as friends “with benefits,” but it doesn’t ever seem to work out.  It seems like one person or the other eventually ends up getting attached and hurt.  Is it really possible for single women to have sexual relationships that don’t develop into anything more, or am I just dreaming?


Dear A.G.,

Thank you for this fantastic question. It can be confusing navigating the waters of intimacy. Our culture may boast total sexual liberation, but how that manifests can be different for everyone. What’s important is that you attract a partner that wants the same type of relationship you do, whether it’s a friends with benefits scenario or a monogamous, long-term partnership.

Sex can be a tricky thing, because it does, after all, involve two human beings. We’re talking about two individuals who have very different perspectives, needs and thoughts. Put them together in one of the most intimate acts available and you’ve got an ocean of emotions, thoughts, perspectives and feelings happening all at one time.

And we haven’t even addressed the spiritual implications of coming together with another sexually. Each time you come together sexually, you are co-creating in the spirit realm. Sex is a very powerful connector and it’s important to be conscious of this before, during and after.

For our purposes though, let’s keep it simple.

First, get clear about what type of relationship you truly want. It sounds like you may like a friend with benefits to keep you company until the long-term partner shows up. If that’s the case, write out what your perfect friend with benefits looks like, and be sure to include the fact that he’s fine with the arrangement and remains blissfully detached, as do you.

Then, write out exactly what type of long-term partner you want to attract. Be as specific as possible. Pay attention to which list you have more trouble writing and what types of feelings are coming over you as you’re writing each list.

By doing this exercise you may realize one of two things: 

1) You are absolutely excited while writing both lists, and can’t wait for the Universe to send you the ideal friend with benefits until your long-term partner shows up.

2) You don’t really want a friend with benefits, even though it feels like something a liberated single woman should do. (Who hasn’t watched Sex & the City and wished they could be as sexually free as Samantha?!)  Despite feeling that we as independent women should have these types of relationships, they don’t always feel good for everyone.

Another option is to begin researching human relationships and sexuality. One author I highly recommend is David Deida ( I was particularly affected by his books Intimate Communion and Dear Lover. Both offer a glimpse into the core nature of men and women, as well as our true intimate desires.

Regardless of your choice, don’t beat yourself up. Maybe it isn’t perfect for you to have sex with someone you aren’t in a relationship with. Or maybe it feels fabulous and you love it. Either way, be sure that the choice you’re making is should-free. It needs to feel absolutely in alignment with who you are, in order for you to be living from your most authentic place.

So, forget about Sex & the City, your friends, Western society, the media, your parents or co-workers. What they think you should do doesn’t matter. What does matter is your commitment to living a life that fully honors the incredible, beautiful and intelligent woman that you are.

Much love to you!

Have a question about this topic or any other?  Next month, we’ll be focusing on Parenting. Send your questions to: