5 Steps To Smart, Safe and Sexy Hookups
Hookups should be fun, hot, and safe. So, what are the basic building blocks of great hookups? This is your guide to satisfying dating and casual sex.
With the internet offering countless options for any type of connection you might be seeking, it’s now easier than ever to find fulfilling sexual experiences that meet all of your needs-- from boundaries to safe, sexy play.
Still, there’s an art to the casual hookup, and it’s been an elusive staple of intimacy in the modern world since sex became an open topic in media. Below is a basic guide for those interested in having casual encounters that are as safe and enjoyable as they can possibly be. And, of course, this is by no means comprehensive! Not everyone has the same needs. However, a few basic things to consider will go a long way in laying groundwork for fun, safe hookups.
1. Choose Respectful Hookup Partners
This should go without saying, but here we go. Chances are, if someone is rude in their online profile, they’re either a) doing some pretty serious vetting of future dates or b) rude in real life.
Aim for matches who are upfront, kind, and open in their profiles--chances are, those traits translate to real life. For example, if a match states their communication preferences (i.e: “write to me and tell me xyz about yourself!”) then it’s likely that they know what they want and how to ask for it. Are they in an open partnership? It should say so, right on their profile!
There should be a good balance of information that allows you to scan through, get a sense of their personality, and get some basic understanding of what sort of connection they’re looking for.
Aim for matches who are upfront, kind, and open in their profiles--chances are, those traits translate to real life.
Yes to: “I’m looking for connected, respectful, casual encounters with cuties!”
No to: “DTF lol hmu.” (Unless of course there’s already a lot of info on their profile that offers the above information).
If your match doesn’t have a lot on their profile, a few exchanges over text or through the site should give you a sense of how respectful they’ll be in person.
2. Communicate Your Expectations Of Dating And Casual Sex
So you’ve gotten past the profile and are now navigating a date! Good for you! The next step is to be direct and clear about what it is that you’re looking for. This may mean sitting with yourself for awhile and really thinking about it.
Do you want an ongoing hookup? A few one night stands? Are you just in town for the night and looking for fun? What sort of play do you like with casual partners? Knowing your own expectations and communicating them clearly and thoughtfully will go a long way in helping to find the right person to hookup with.
3. Avoiding Making Hookup Decisions While Using Substances
Casual hookups may seem holistically casual, but they actually take a considerable amount of care in order to actually be fun! This means not only choosing respectful potential partners and communicating thoughtfully, but also making sure that your time together is intentional.
Knowing your own expectations and communicating them clearly and thoughtfully will go a long way in helping to find the right person to hookup with.
This means avoiding making hookup decisions while inebriated. Using substances increases the chance that you’ll break a boundary or overstep on a communicated expectation, which can result in a previously fun hookup going way south.
4. Let Someone Know Where You Are When You’re On A Date
The internet may make hooking up easier and safer in many ways, but it also opens the door to infinitely more strangers than previously imagined-- and hookups should be fun, not scary!
If you’re going to meet up with someone you’ve never met before, make sure to let trusted friends know where you are, what time you’ll be there, and what time you anticipate coming home/being done. You can take it one step further by sharing your location with said friends on your phone so they know exactly where you are if you need help.
Or, if you’re meeting this new hookup at a hotel, you can be sure to let your friends know what room number you’ll be at. If your friends don’t hear from you by your agreed upon time, they can call the front desk and say that there’s someone having a heart attack in said room number-- that will bring a staff member to the room quickly, and without alarming the stranger involved.
5. Have Condoms And Other Protection On-hand—and Remember To Use Them
On the subject of safety, practicing protective hooking up is key to making sure the experience continues to be fun for everyone. Talk to your potential partner about safer sex practices, and be sure to communicate about who is going to bring what to your play session.
Myths and facts
Setting the record straight.
At O.school, we know that few things are one-size-fits-all. Read on for insights from Pleasure Professionals and other experts:
Check out what the O.school Community is buzzing about and send your questions and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sex Ed Videos
Previously recorded streams we love.
What the Hell is This Poly I Keep Hearing About!?
In this intro to Consensual Non-Monogamy, Dr. Yoni will tell you about the types of alternative relationships out there, share some concepts of how they work, and will give you some tips to take into your monogamy that would enhance your relationship.
Is It A Date Or A Friend Hangout?
Have you ever wondered: are we on a date? Did they just invite me on a date? Or are we just hanging out as friends? It’s not always clear, read on for tips to figure out where things are at.
You’ve been hanging out with someone new, someone cool, maybe even someone you have a bit of a crush on. But is your time together just a hang, or something more? Let’s discuss how to read the signs, send the right signals, and have an honest discussion about what you both need and want.
Reading The Signs And Signals
There’s no foolproof way to know if someone is interested in you as a friend or as a potential romantic or sexual partner. To make matters more complicated, feelings can change! You or your friend might be interested, but not know where you want to take things yet. As you both explore how you feel, it can be hard to ask or be asked what your feelings are.
Some signals are easier to read than others.
Some signals are easier to read than others. If your friend finds little ways to be affectionate - touching your shoulder while complimenting your jacket, a hug held a beat longer than it needs to - or if their compliments tend towards the physical, that can be a good indication they’re interested in you, physically.
But then again, touch or praise aren’t always a sign of sexual desire. Lots of signs that scream “crush!” to some people can say “considerate friend!” to others.
The best way to know if someone is giving you a signal that they’re interested in being more than friends is by getting to know them. If you haven’t known them long, observe how they spend time with you.
Is your time together different than when they hang out with other friends? Do they come up with nice activities for the two of you to do alone? Do they talk about other crushes or dates?
Still not sure? There’s only one way to find out: ask them!
Is This A Date, Or…?
Your first step is knowing what you want. Do you want it to be a date? Have an idea about what you want from the other person, even if it’s just to go slow, and about what level of clarity you need to feel comfortable hanging out with them.
Remember that you want to avoid miscommunication, so keep it short and sweet and as direct as possible: is this a date?
“Is this a date?”
You can acknowledge that the situation is a little awkward but you’re having a nice time and want to be on the same page. And if your time together is over and you’re on your way home still wondering if it was a date, now is the best time for a post-hang text: I had a great time and I’d love to go out with you again.
Setting up an actual day and time to meet up instead of a generic “let’s do it again sometime” sends the sign that you’re interested in more than a casual hang.
Bottom line: if you’re not sure whether or not you’re on a date, ask!
Have A Crush On An Old Friend?
You hang out together all the time, talk and text constantly, and feel like you ‘get’ each other. Maybe you start having feelings you never had before: romantic or sexual fantasies, pangs of jealousy if they go on a date with someone else, sudden nerves when it’s time to say good night.
As with finding out where you stand with new friends, having a clarifying conversation with an old friend about where things are going can be equally uncomfortable. Ultimately, the stress of not knowing where things stand can be worse than the stress of having the talk.
You can acknowledge that the situation is a little awkward.
Before you talk, have an idea of what you might want to try with your friend (a date? a kiss?) and how you want to proceed if they’re not interested (still be friends? take some space?)
It’s normal to start feeling like you want more, but it’s also normal if your friend wants to keep things as they are. Maybe you have a romantic future ahead of you—or maybe you’ll have something to laugh about together years down the line.
No matter what the context, it’s always a good idea to know how you’ll respond depending on what they say. Imagining their response can help clarify your own feelings, too. It never hurts to ask, so ask yourself how you feel before you ask someone else what they want.