With an abundance of dating apps at our disposal, hooking up has never been easier. Doing it well, however, is another story. Anyone who’s entered into a no-strings-attached arrangement knows that there is nothing “casual” about casual sex. However, if you follow a few rules, you’ll be more likely to have a good experience. Here’s how:
Be on the same page about what you’re doing. You don’t want to go into a hookup thinking it’s a casual, one-time fling while the other person thinks it’s the beginning of a relationship. Some people are uncomfortable saying that all they’re looking for is a casual hookup, but being direct about it will allow you to have a great time and part ways cleanly, without any fear of miscommunication or hurt feelings afterward.
Don’t overthink it. Hooking up is about freedom, not second-guessing. You shouldn’t worry about what other people think or what will happen after you sleep together or whether the person is interested in a relationship. There is plenty of time for all of that when you start dating. Successful hookups require a liberated mind and a strict adherence to living in the moment. It’s about the pleasure of being spontaneous and unencumbered by commitment. If you go into it expecting the person to fall in love with you, you’re not being honest with yourself about your goals.
Choose your partner wisely. In general, the best hookups are the ones that carry as little baggage as possible. This means that friends should be off the table. Obviously, sometimes passion gets the better of you, but if you’re strategizing the best way to have a great hookup, keep your friends out of it. It’s possible to have an amazing hookup with a friend, but the aftermath will be a minefield. Better to stick to someone who you hardly know than compromise a friendship.
There is no shame in casual sex. Moral judgment has no place in a successful hookup. Having sex purely for the pleasure of it is a beautiful thing, and you deserve it just as much as anyone else. If you’re a woman, you may be indoctrinated by the constant moralistic posturing of society about our bodies. But no matter what gender you are, our bodies are built for pleasure, so why not take advantage when you get the urge?
Leave your insecurities at home. One of the best things about hooking up is that you don’t have to be yourself. There are no strings attached to the arrangement. You don’t have to go on a date or agonize over every tiny physical imperfection that you detect. You can be whoever you want to be. No judgment, no baggage, just pleasure. If you can approach someone you want to hook up with that attitude, you’re headed for success.
Focus on yourself. There’s plenty of time for compromise and selflessness when you’re in a committed relationship. Embrace selfishness when you hook up with someone. Tell them what you like. Ask for what you want. And above all, don’t make it all about them. You are there to enjoy yourself, not give someone else a good time. When a hookup is done right, both of you benefit.
Make sure you’re safe. Drunken sex can be fun, but make sure that you’re sober enough to know what you’re doing. Do not go home with someone you don’t know very well, and let a friend know where you’ll be. If you don’t know the person you’re hooking up with, consider taking things more slowly instead of rushing straight back to their place. All of this may sound obvious, but when you’re in the moment, it can be hard to hear your own good judgment when lust is overwhelming you.
Make sure you’re *safe*. Birth control is not always top of mind when you’re not in a relationship, so you may go into a hookup without reliable protection. But there is nothing less romantic than waking up after sex with a stranger only to realize that you haven’t taken your pills in a week or used an expired condom. Hitting pause on foreplay just long enough to run to the pharmacy before you get down to business is always, always worth it.
Make sure it’s what you want. A lot of people, especially women, are pressured into casual sex because of the hookup culture that pervades modern dating. As a rule of thumb, if you’re not having fun, it’s time to opt out. Turning down sex does not make you a prude or a buzzkill, and you’re not a tease if you change your mind after saying yes. If you want to have a successful hookup, the first step is to want it.
Stick the landing. What you do after hooking up is just as important as what you do during the hookup. If you’re the kind of person who catches feelings after sex, prepare yourself. Are you actually falling in love with a near stranger, or are you struggling with your self-esteem? Similarly, if they keep texting you after the hookup and you’re not interested in seeing them again, now is one of the few times that ghosting is acceptable. Exiting as smoothly as possible is the goal.
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