What Does NSA Mean? No Strings Attached

When is a hookup not a hookup? The answer is simple: When it’s an NSA. Now, before you are shocked by this news, let us inform you that we are not speaking of the United States National Security Agency, but instead, we are talking about a no-strings-attached relationship. it is a casual connection for people who want a no-commitment-just-benefits relationship.

Real Life NSA interactions are great for people who are looking for sexual relationships but don’t want to be caught up in a troublesome emotional relationship or a committed relationship. With the proliferation of online dating sites and apps in the world, it’s easier than ever to connect with people who share your interests. You might even fall in love. But what if you’re not looking for love?

Welcome to the world of NSA dating, where the term “no strings” literally means no strings. No commitment, no romance, no shared occupancy, no engagement ring, no wedding, and no babies.

On a Dating Site, What is NSA? NSA = No Strings Attached

NSA is meant to express that the person is not looking for a real relationship at this point in time. It’s worth noting that NSA does not necessarily mean “No Strings Attached,” but does mean that the person involved is not looking for romantic relationships. It can mean one of many kinds of relationships.

what is nsa in dating

What kinds of relationships are NDA in Dating?

In some cases, it’s like a business arrangement. That might sound foreign to some people, but it’s very comforting to other people who want to have boundaries drawn from the start. Not everyone is looking for a “real relationship,” but still seeks to fulfill their needs and enhance their sexual health.

Sexual relationships are important for that cause, especially for those who are not interested in a committed relationship. This is often the case in many BDSM relationships where both partners are having their needs met without having to give up their freedom and independence.

Someone who craves being controlled, taken care of, or even disciplined, for example, can benefit from such an exchange without having to leave a committed relationship where that particular need isn’t being met.

In some cases, it may not even be possible for that person to be in a submissive position every day, but they simply need it in their “off” time. This is often seen in the CEOs of large companies who have to be “in charge” all of the time and just need a temporary break from it. They may crave playing the submissive from time to time, but have no interest in being so in real life.

The same is true of a submissive person who has a need to feel in control just for a while. Although this person may not want to be in charge in their daily life and is uncomfortable with the responsibility of everything being on their shoulders, they may enjoy having sexual encounters in a safe setting where they get to play “boss” for a bit.

While sex as a business is illegal in the United States and other places, people may still treat their long-term commitments as they would a casual relationship with various sexual boundaries.  In some cases, this type of relationship may be a form of dating known as sugar dating, where sexual favors are given in exchange for material goods such as a place to live, college tuition,  or extravagant gifts.

A Dominant may give their submissive expensive gifts such as a car, jewelry, etc, and may even set them up in an apartment for convenience. Even a person who is not necessarily classified as BDSM, but has a no-strings-attached style relationship may gain these kinds of benefits from their sexual relationship. In that way, it is much like a business deal, where a service is provided and benefits are awarded, but no romantic inclinations are involved.

Of course, not all no-strings-attached relationships involve gifts, benefits, or even BDSM. Some of them only meet once. Others may never exchange more than names. They all fulfill a sexual need without being responsible for emotional ones.

NSA Dating Service Overview

Traditional and mainstream online dating sites like eHarmony and Match are not NSA relationship friendly whereas Adult Friend Finder, Zoosk, Tinder, and even OkCupid are designed for it.

Sites like Match are engineered to produce long-term relationships. NSA relationship-friendly sites are geared toward providing profiles and allowing members to form their own connections. It is important to understand the difference between the two so that you can make a better choice of which dating site to use.

As a general rule, people don’t use Match or eHarmony for NSA interactions. They’re the wrong sites for it and you could be blocked for harassment (intentional or otherwise) as a result. People who have a deep need for love and affection can be upset by someone who only wants a sexual encounter, but has no desire for romance.

Best NSA Dating Site: Adult Friend Finder

Adult Friend Finder is a site dedicated to sex and swingers. It’s not as suited to helping people find meaningful relationships and is geared toward hookups. It has a filter that allows you to search for people looking for NSA interactions.

If you spot a profile and don’t see that it’s listed as NSA-friendly, reach out and ask. You never know what the response might be, and properly vetting someone beforehand is much better than asking the question during an in-person meeting.

Adult Friend Finder is free but it does offer a paid membership that provides members with access to communication with prospective matches as well as access to additional members and resources.

Best NSA Dating App: Zoosk


Many hookup sites work the way Tinder and OkCupid do, and the fact that there are people looking for long-term relationships on the site means that you must be very careful when meeting and vetting a potential match. It’s important that they know what you’re looking for, and that you do not want a committed or romantic relationship.

Like Match and most of the other dating sites, Zoosk also has a paid upgrade that provides additional matching benefits and faster communication with matches. Very often, users will find that those with premium accounts will find hookups much faster than those without.

Successful NSA Interactions: Need to Knows

An NSA relationship, as we’ve established, can range from one night to an indeterminate length of time. Successful long-term NSA connections are based on open communication about expectations so that there are no mixed messages or improperly perceived signals. Both parties should be aware of the context of their interactions.

An NSA interaction is perfect for someone:

  • Not looking for a long-term relationship, perhaps immediately following a painful breakup. While these people still have sexual needs and a desire for a form of intimacy, they are not yet emotionally ready for a romantic encounter. 
  • In town for a short period of time, like for a work conference or convention, or also a short-term relocation for work. They do not have the time for romance and commitment, but just want to have a little fun with a like-minded person.
  • Who wants to find like-minded people to share an evening with before going their separate ways. This may be a group of people, or just one who shares the same desires.
  • Who is looking for a certain experience with a stranger.  There are some people whose entire fantasy is built around having a sexual encounter with someone that they do not know.
  • Looking for a BDSM-type encounter. These are usually the types of no strings attached meetups that end up being long-term, even though they aren’t normally romantic. People in the BDSM community often find partners with whom they spend years with, in a non-romantic, sexual relationship. 

Challenges to NSA Relationships

The challenge of NSA interactions comes when the context of the interaction is unclear, the expectations aren’t clearly established or one partner develops feelings for the other. Make it clear from the start that this is a no strings attached interaction and whether or not you’re looking for someone to hook up with in the future. Also make it clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you’re not looking for love.

Never connect with someone who isn’t aware of your intention for an NSA interaction. It almost always ends badly. Find someone online who is also looking for an NSA interaction and upon meeting discuss whether you’re looking for one night or the possibility of many nights over a period of time. If your intentions to have an NSA interaction aren’t spelled out crystal clear it can really come back and bite you later on.

Other Safety Tips for Online Hookups

Hooking up with a stranger can be risky, regardless of which type of online dating you hope to engage in, whether it be a BDSM hookup, a casual fling, or a romantic meeting in hopes of building towards marriage and a future. Knowing this, you should never allow fear to keep you from going out and having fun; you just need to be a bit cautious and follow a few online hookup tips.

  1. Do not give away too much information to strangers online. This is too often done by people who did not even realize that they were doing so. Even the most cautious person, one who would never blast their home or work address to the entire online world, may do exactly that by accident.

    That’s because your posts and images often give away more information than you meant to give. For example, let’s say that you got your hair cut and colored in preparation for your initial hookup with a new person, and you mention that in a message, or share it in a post. 

    You might post a picture of the new you standing outside of your local salon. If you have previously posted a picture of your newly landscaped lawn, for example, then anyone who is paying attention now knows which town you live in, and what the outside of your house looks like.

    It wouldn’t be hard to find your home by simply cruising around the neighborhood of the salon you shared. The same principles apply to posts or messages about your job, church, kid’s school, etc. Have fun but be cautious.
  2. Make sure that the person you are talking to is who they say they are. While we don’t suggest that you go overboard and stalk someone to prove this, there are simple ways to help ensure that you are talking to someone who is sincere and not being catfished. 

    One of the easiest ways to do this is by insisting on a live video chat with anyone whom you seriously consider hooking up with. While it won’t prove that everything this person has told you is true, this will at least make it possible to be sure that the person whom you are speaking with in text is the same person as the one in the profile pictures and images that they have provided for you.

    A person who has plans to harm you or catfish you is not likely to allow themselves to be seen on video or to allow their real face to be shown. Knowing this, it is much less likely that someone who eagerly allows you to video chat with them live is contemplating anything negative for their meeting with you.
  3. Always plan for your first meeting with a new hookup to be in a place where there will be a lot of people. Even if you have had numerous chats with a person and have agreed on a sexual encounter, it is still important for the first meeting to be done in a public setting.
  4. Always share with a trusted friend or family member a picture of the person that you’ve video verified, and the location of where you plan to meet this person.
  5. Remain in control of your settings by keeping your cell phone with you at all times, and providing your own ride to the initial meeting. If things turn sour for any reason, you do not want to have to rely on a stranger for a ride home or a phone to call a cab, Uber, or friend.
  6. Have a set time that you can step away to the restroom and call or text a trusted person to let them know that you are ok. If you are uncomfortable, you can even have your trusted person “accidentally” show up at the same restaurant, bar, blub, etc. that you are at. 
  7. Remain sober throughout the entire first meeting. Even if this sounds like giving up your fun, it is important that you are thinking clearly and making decisions with a sober mind. You don’t want your critical thinking to be hindered by drugs or alcohol.
  8. Do not allow anyone to push you into something that is not safe or that you do not agree with. Even if this is a BDSM meeting and you are the submissive one, you still have the right to say no to anything that you aren’t comfortable with.

    For example, if someone pushes you to be alone with them and you are not ready for that, do not let them pull you away from the crowd. Listen to your gut and stay in control of your own safety and well-being.

Wrap Up

An NSA or no-strings-attached relationship is getting more and more common in dating today as people separate their desire for sex from their desire for a relationship. People not interested in settling down don’t have to sacrifice their physical needs and thanks to online dating sites and apps they can search for people who share their goals. It’s a win-win.

With a “No Strings Attached” type of relationship, it is still important to make sure that both people’s needs are met. This is only possible if both participants agree that they do not want a romantic partnership. This is why you should always be upfront about what you want, and make it clear that you are not interested in falling in love or getting married.

chelsea king - chief editor of romancescams
Written by Chelsea King

Chelsea has been a direct victim of romance scams herself losing over $35,000 in a span of a year in 2015. She joined and took over operations of RomanceScams.org in 2015. She brings first-hand experience in studying romance scams, and also experience in vetting dating sites for legitimacy. Read more of Chelsea's articles.

Other Related Articles