What Is A Sneaky Link? This New Relationship Term Is Everywhere

If you’re not part of Gen Z or you’re just a bit out of touch, you’ve probably never heard the term “sneaky link.” Having recently gone viral on TikTok, it seems like everyone is talking about it and using the phrase in everyday life. So, what is a sneaky link? Once you find out, you might realize that you have one of your own and didn’t even realize it.

What’s the meaning of the term “sneaky link”?

Simply put, the term refers to someone that you’re hooking up with but aren’t in a relationship with. Since it’s “sneaky,” the liaisons are happening in secret, with neither person’s friends or family knowing anything about it. For example, maybe you’re still sleeping with your ex on the sly, making them your current sneaky link. Simple enough to understand, right?

Your sneaky link can also be someone you’re hooking up with that’s taboo for some reason. For instance, maybe it’s your boss at work or your brother’s best friend. Whoever your sneaky link is, it’s someone you’d rather keep to yourself. On the flip side, maybe it’s not so much that people knowing about you would be problematic. You might just get off on this secret connection. Nothing wrong with that.

Where did the term come from?

As noted above, “sneaky link” was popularized on TikTok. While users on the video-sharing app didn’t come up with the term, they did make the song “Sneaky Link” by HXLLYWOOD go viral on the app. In fact, the #sneakylink tag now has more than 3.8 billion views, showing just how popular it’s become.

The lyrics to the song say: “Girl, I can be your sneaky link (sneaky link) / Be my sneaky link (sneaky link).” TikTok users immediately picked up on the track and the hilarious terminology and made it into a major trend. Since the term took off on social media, Gen Z has adopted it and uses it freely.

Dangers of having your own sneaky link

  • You might end up catching feelings. Much like with a regular ol’ hookup, there’s always the danger that what started out as sex on tap turns into you feeling something much deeper and craving something more. While it’s definitely possible to have sex without feelings, that rush of oxytocin they give you and the bond you start to feel with them can easily lead things to become more serious than you ever intended them to be. If they’re not feeling the same, you’re going to end up getting your heart broken.
  • Trying to keep things secret takes its toll. If you’ve ever been in a relationship (or situationship) that no one in your life knew about, you know just how taxing it can be. Keeping secrets from the people you’re closest to is hard. It also puts distance between you and leaves you without your support system. If you can’t talk about what’s going on, you can’t process it. That’s going to get to you in the end. Plus, what happens if the people in your life do find out? They’re going to feel betrayed and wonder why you lied to them.
  • You could end up feeling used or taken for granted. It’s fine and well to have passionate sex whenever you want, but you might eventually wonder if that’s all you’re worth. Your sneaky link is there for some casual fun, but you have so much more to offer than just your body. Once the passion begins to fade and you come to terms with the situation, your self-worth may end up taking a hint. You’ll wonder why they don’t notice or care about your more amazing qualities like your intelligence and sense of humor. It’s a really crappy feeling.

More reasons to beware

  • You won’t get your basic needs met. Sexual intimacy is an important part in any romantic relationship for sure, but it’s not the whole story, and it’s certainly not enough to keep a relationship going. You need to be heard. To have someone to care about you and ask how your day was. Without encouragement, support, and affection, you find yourself feeling lonely and unloved. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you need more than this arrangement can offer you.
  • The people you’re closest to might feel hurt. If you usually share everything with your best friends or your family, not knowing about this very big part of your life could upset them. They might wonder why you didn’t feel like you could tell them. They may also feel like they can’t trust you or question if you’re hiding anything else from them. It’s a lot of unnecessary drama.
  • You’ll still feel devastated when it ends. This is a sad truth. Unless you’re some kind of robot, you’re going to be affected when you say goodbye. Inevitably, you and your sneaky link will go your separate ways. When that happens, you may feel regret or sadness, much like a proper breakup. However, you’ll have none of the wonderful memories and benefits of having been in a real relationship. It’s enough to make you re-think the situation altogether, because who wants to be hurt? Your sneaky link might not intend to hurt you, but it happens.

The bottom line

Despite the potential dangers, having a sneaky link isn’t the worst thing in the world. Plenty of people enjoy the arrangement and find fulfillment in it, even if only temporarily. If you’re looking for a more casual, carefree situation without commitment, it might be for you. Of course, it’s important to check in with yourself regularly. Make sure that you’re still in a good place mentally and emotionally. If things change for you or are no longer working, don’t be afraid to put an end to the situation. After all, a sneaky link is here for a good time, not a long time. Remember to walk away when things have run their course.


I am reminded every day that I caught feelings for my sneaky link and dated him

♬ original sound – Autty

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill