The Anatomy of a Hookup
By: The Ethical Slut
I don't know about you, but I like to have sex.
Rough sex. Fun sex. Oral sex. Anal sex. Sex. And I like to think I'm pretty decent at it. I'm no sex god, but after *does the math on fingers* many years of having sex (and having multiple sexual partners), I've learned a thing or three. One thing about me when it comes to sex – it's not something I generally like to lose at. I bring my A-game and no participation trophies are awarded around these parts – I am a thoroughly-bred winner.
While intimacy and connection can be important for an arousing romp, sometimes, for lack of better words, you just want to get f-u-c-k-e-d. Here are your options –
Yourself. Now clearly, hooking up with yourself is the easiest. Whether it's you and your hand tonight, a toy, a machine or something else we probably can't legally mention, sometimes a solo hookup is all you need. I mean, who knows you better than yourself?
Your partner. If they're available, of course. It shouldn't take much to have them ready to go, though you may have to plan around your dinner date with family. Send them a flirty text to kick things off and hopefully you'll be in the sack as soon as work's over.
A previous hookup or FWB. If you don't have a partner whom you can easily get off with, perhaps it's time to turn to your LBB – Little Black Book. Unfamiliar with the term? Well, it dates back to the mid-1400s (though it's initial usage was meant for blacklisting various people and tbh we all love a good Burn Book), and over time became known as the place to keep numbers/information of your previous sexual encounters. Obviously this has become how we use our phones, so take a moment to scroll back through your texts to jostle your memory about that guy you took home three weeks ago. Or maybe you have a FWB (friend with benefits) in mind. Either way, chop chop!
A new and exciting endeavor. If neither of the three options above work for you, then it's time to start fresh. Depending on your fancy, there's a bevy of apps out there to have you connected, chatting, and in someones bed in a matter of minutes. Perhaps there's a person you've been chatting with casually over the last few weeks? Make that move, honey. We like an assertive girl.
Alright, the time has come. You're opting for option 4 – and yes, this will be a new and exciting endeavor. You've had your eyes on a few folks recently, so here's hoping one of them is available. You sign on and see the green dot next to their name. Bingo.
You've already done the hard work (vetting them on where they live, what they like, their STI status, etc.), and you've gotten a proper amount of photos to ease your mind. I recommend at least two to three face photos, though we know some of the catfish who swim out there can easily provide that (who's to say you don't jump on someone's dirty Twitter who shows face and go to town on saving photos?). That's where Snapchat comes in. The app has become the most popular means of requesting verification, so expect to be asked (at least by those who are under the age of 30). Old school texting, similarly, can work the same way. If you're nervous, ask them to send a video of themselves or agree to video chat. Once you've hit them up, it's time to make plans – but maybe let's have a drink first?
Even if you feel really good about meeting up with someone, there's always that voice in the back of your head that says "This might not a good idea." Safety is important, after all, for all parties involved. If you have any reservations, ask them to meet you in a public space for a cocktail or coffee. Once you meet IRL, it may be easier to make that leap from the keyboard to bed sheets.
"Your place or mine?"*
If all goes well (or you've skipped the meet-up all together), then it's time to get down to the dirty of it all.
For me, I like to hookup in my own home. If you're the instigator of a rendezvous, I find it best to have the home court advantage (if you can). Hooking up at your home isn't always an option, especially if you have roommates or live with parents, but if you can, do it. Why? Because your home is your palace – at least if that's how you treat it. This means you know the cleanliness of your home. You know it smells good (or at least not bad). You know the AC is already set to a temp you enjoy (there's nothing quite like hooking up in a balmy, Louisiana home where it's 78 F). You also know your lube (that you quite enjoy) and toys are right next to the bed, if you should so be inclined to use them.
Because let's face it, ladies, theydies and gays – to create the perfect hookup environment, you have to know what you want. For me, I want a clean home. One time I chatted with the sweetest guy and went back to his house only to find I was on an episode of Hoarders. Old pizza boxes and mile high laundry? Not the way to my heart (and not the way to make me cum).
Maybe in the moment, albeit drunkenly, I could look past it. Hell, I have. And I'm sure I will again. But playing at home is much more rewarding to me, and if you can enjoy that pleasure, too, I suggest it.
*Sometimes it's neither. While my experience with playing in public spaces is limited, it is an option. If you're feeling rather frisky and neither of you have a place to make this happen, it's quite possible you head for a public setting. Bathrooms, saunas, showers, and locker rooms all get a shout out. Honorable mentions include cemeteries, parks, and alleys.
Alright. A place has been set. He says he can meet in an hour. You haven't given him your address yet because *nerves* but you said you will when he says he's ready. This gives you the advantage in case you decide to have cold feet. Never, ever, EVER give your address out unless you are 100% sure you're ready for whoever is on the other end of that app to walk through your door.
Now it's time to prepare. You have 60 minutes to get it together, and it starts with a shower (unless requested otherwise – some folks do enjoy the musk of the day). Even if you showered at 7 am, give yourself a quick a rinse off. Wash your face. Douche your vagina or anus (or both if applicable).
Now it's time to get dressed. You're probably thinking, why is this important? We're just fucking. It's not like we're going on a date. And yes, you're right. But sometimes it's more fun opening up the present. There's about 40 or so minutes left on the clock, so it's time to think about your chats. Has your partner requested you wear anything specific? Maybe they enjoy thongs or jockstraps. Maybe they just want you in a t-shirt. Maybe they want you to wear heels. Take this opportunity to fulfill your partners desires (and yours), and if you want to, just ask. Sometimes they won't care. Sometimes they'll take the lead.
Shower, check. Dressed, check. Teeth have been brushed and flossed. Mouthwash applied. You take a final check in the mirror (and yes, you look fucking hot) and notice there's about 20 minutes left on the clock. Ding. A message awaits.
"I'm almost ready to head out. What's your address?"
This is where it gets real. You are about to invite a stranger into your home, so it's either fight or flight baby. You make the commitment and tell him your location.
"Great. See you in 10."
If you've made it this far and haven't talked about any sort of expectations, I suggest addressing those first and foremost. You need to be on the same page as your hookup. Maybe you're only looking for oral sex. Maybe you like something (and you hope they do, too). Maybe you need to go over a safe word. Regardless, communication is key. You should have a plan of action from the moment they walk inside, and a plan just in case something goes wrong.
If you're like me, these last few moments are spent picking up any unmentionable items around my home (dirty clothes, dishes, etc.). I also like to lay down a blanket on my bed as a precaution to any fluids that might be displaced. Fun fact: oil will stain sheets. I generally like to put on a little music, too, because duh? It ain't no Marvin Gaye, but you'll be ready to get it on.
Once your hookup arrives, it's time to get down to business. Do you go for the small talk or is straight to sex?
I asked a few different folks who hooked up recently if they'd share some insight from their encounters.
"Everyone's different. Everyone likes different stuff. It's important to talk to them, either online or in person, and find out what that is," said one 24-year-old trans woman who's new to "hookup culture." She said she's only been out as trans for less than a year, but has noticed an aggressive tone when it comes to men messaging her online. "If I feel any sort of weird feeling, I'll just block them."
Another person, a self proclaimed "dom top" in his 50s, said this: "If I'm going to a bottom's house, I expect them to be submissive. And clean." [When referencing "clean," we're explicitly meaning hygiene. Sometimes "clean" is used by some gay men to say they are HIV negative or STI free. That implies having those makes one dirty, and around these parts, we don't take too kindly to that sort of discourse.] He followed up with "I enjoy body odor, but I prefer a clean body."
"I feel like if we chatted online enough, that's the small talk. I just want to walk in and have fun at that point," said a 34-year-old nonbinary person. "You don't have to be freshly showered, but make sure your dick is clean. And please, for the love of god, have sheets on the bed."
If you go for option A – small talk – start in a comfortable spot like your living room or kitchen. Offer them a glass of wine or water. It's pretty easy to sus out the situation at hand and go from there. Maybe small talk helps to lubricate the experience. Lube also helps to lubricate the experience.
And that's when we go to option B – straight to sex.
Generally, with option B, this has been predetermined. Within your sultry messages back and forth, and prior to them arriving, you may have addressed protocol. "Park on the street. Door is unlocked. I'll be in the bedroom on all fours." Or you may have said something like "Text me when you're here. I'll meet you at the door." Whatever your approach is, if you're ready to lead with sex, lead. You know what the body wants.
On the flip side, if you decide to travel to someone's house instead of yours, this can give you the upper hand in case you decide to ditch out early like this next person I chatted with did. He, a 26-year-old Black bisexual man, felt uncomfortable in a specific situation and left before even taking his pants off.
"I was at a hookup's place after the gym and left after 10 minutes because the guy wasn't Black but had on Black gay porn. It was weird," he said. "I literally lost my erection and left. It felt very fetishy."
He gives these five tips (which I fully stand by) for anyone planning to arrange a hookup:
Before going, make sure you're familiar with the area. If it's a spot in town you haven't been, know where some big landmarks are and any transit you might need to use.
Tell your friends where you're going. If you have any sort of hesitation, tell a friend. Let them know where you're going and that you'll connect with them at a specific time.
Bring condoms (if you use them). Don't ever think someone will have something for you. Take care of yourself.
Be sure to have some money. It's best to always be prepared in case you need a Lyft, food, or a stiff drink.
Make sure your phone is charged. And keep it nearby.
Once it's time to go, it's all up to you. Live out those slutty dreams, and have fun. Don't be afraid to let go and let loose. Just remember to ask questions and trust your judgement. Enjoy the moment. Relax. Be that sub you've always wanted to be. Give in to your lust and feel the pleasure.
The Ethical Slut is a new column where we explore relationships, dating, sex and more. If you'd like to submit a topic, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All persons quoted will remain anonymous.