"Some people get off on the danger," Dr. Wilde says. "There's a thrill and a rush that goes along with the sex, whether they admit it or not. Women are usually more cautious and need a sense of safety." Rita tries to walk the fine line between knowing enough and knowing too much: "It's difficult to find safe hookups with strangers. While flirting, I am trying to find out as much as I can about this person, but not so much that we don't feel like strangers. At the very least, I want to figure out if we are compatible, and be alert about any red flags that pop up. I want to make sure they will respect my boundaries before, during, and after our encounter. I want to make sure they understand that I'm not looking for a new boyfriend or girlfriend."

But is it always just about the sex? Rita believes that there is an emotional connection in all her encounters, even the ones with strangers: "With people I love, there is, of course, that deeper sense of intimacy and connectedness. I think sex with strangers is like taking my shirt off and walking topless in a warm summer rainstorm, while sex with my long-term committed partner is like sharing an umbrella and pulling each other close."

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