Public fascination with the so-called modern “hookup culture” is endless. It seems every few months someone is publishing another book either extolling the greatness of its freedoms or damning it for being harmful to women or other such nonsense. While I’m not convinced that what goes on now is all that different than the way things have been since at least the 70s, hookups are certainly a part of life for the young and single. Seeing as the word-‘hook up’ is such a nebulous term, I should clarify that I am defining “hookup” as not necessarily sexual intercourse, but something more than making out. Clothing should be optional.
If one takes the time to discover the different situations in which hookups occur, a few things will become apparent:
One: You must be on the same page, as the person you are hooking up with. (Girls, you know what this means…) If you know you are in a strict hookup-only situation with a man, please do not harbor covert plans to turn this guy into a boyfriend. If you want a boyfriend, this is not the way to get one. Getting mad that it doesn’t result in more is only tasteless and shows you’re to be avoided next time. So if he doesn’t return a text, cancels plans last minute, or passes on the cuddle- screw him, then again you probably already just did. If he’s not living up to your expectations, don’t pick a fight with him about it. Move on to someone else.
Number two: Never assume that a past hookup will necessarily lead to a future hookup with the same person, and if it does not, do not take it personally. Maybe your fuck buddy got a girlfriend and didn’t feel like telling you, maybe when you casually slept with your ex it brought up feelings in him he didn’t want to deal with, or maybe you were too drunk to be any good and didn’t warrant a callback. It happens. Don’t take it personally, and refer to the last rule- don’t pick a fight about it.
Thirdly, there is the universally awkward question- “to sleep over or not to sleep over?” Post-hookup you are never required to stay the night, but whether it is proper etiquette for him to offer depends on the situation, which I will address later. If you do choose to spend the night, it is absolutely essential that you leave early and leave quickly the next morning. This means no showers, no making him pancakes, no exceptions. Ever.
Now we will look at the special rules that apply to the four most common hookup situations: The friend with benefits, the fuck buddy, ex sex, and cheating.
Friends with benefits
There are few special rules of proper behavior when you are hooking up with a friend, although it must be noted that rule number two from above goes double in this situation. Because you probably go out together often as friends within the same social circle, it absolutely cannot be assumed that you will be going home together every time you are out. Additionally, because you probably spend significant time together among other friends, it is tacky to advertise that you are hooking up. The cardinal rule is to always be discreet. No going outside to “smoke a cigarette” when all your friends know you never smoke. Friends should never have to know(or suspect) you are hooking up within the inner circle…
When it comes to the friends with benefits situation, if you are going to his place, it is ok to assume that you will be sleeping over even if it is not explicitly stated. In fact, in this situation, telling your other friends that you “just happened to crash” at his place because yours is farther away is probably the best way to casually cover your illicit activities. If he tries to pull the old “Gee I have to get up really early tomorrow” game, he’s probably not worth the “benefits.” Find someone new. I’m not kidding.
Because you are not in a relationship, you are both free to act a bit more selfishly than you would with a boyfriend or girlfriend. However, this is a double-edged sword. When in bed, you should feel free to ask for whatever you want whenever you want it, but you are bound to first, reciprocate, and second, not get upset if you occasionally hear the word “no.”
If you are hosting the hookup, always have drinks (or other incidentals if you catch our drift…) on hand. If you are going to his place, offer to bring some, at least some of the time. Nothing is more disappointing than meeting your f**k buddy at his place and finding him out of the proper “social lubrication,” (even if it’s just a phone call away).
What happens after the hookup? In this situation, if you are at his place he is not obligated to offer for you to spend the night, and vice versa. But if you don’t want him to stay, how to politely get rid of him? Assuming you want the f**k buddy relationship to continue, the handling of this moment is key. I suggest avoiding acting like you are about to go to sleep, no matter how late it is. Find a pretense to move both of you out of the bedroom, like mixing another set of drinks, and that’s when you casually offer to call him a cab home. He’ll get the message, and you’ll be spared having to use messy lies.