Every hookup is just a little different. Frequently, hookups are fun for everyone involved, but sometimes, they’re a trauma-inducing nightmare. Some great hookups are actually hugely emotional, too. And sometimes, casual sex with the wrong person can break your heart. Though we often talk about “hookup culture” in popular discourse, there’s really no such thing. There’s just a whole constellation of different kinds of extra-relationship boning.
And if you want to have casual sex, you should know how to do it right, regardless of the circumstances — you should know how to have fun without wounding anyone emotionally, or, more importantly, without making someone feel like you’ve taken advantage of them. This is especially true in the era of online dating and hookup apps, now that hooking up is easier than ever. It’s in this spirit that I’m presenting now some advice about how to handle four completely different kinds of hookups. Once you read it, you’ll be able to live, love, and horizontally tango with more confidence.
1. The Drunken Hookup
Alcohol is basically inseparable from hookups. This is because we’re all a little ashamed of how much we want to get laid. Many gay men are are taught they shouldn’t want sex, and some are afraid to ask for it, out of the justified fear of being rejected. And we solve this problem, as a society, by getting everyone wasted. It’s kind of a terrible solution that has some problems. Specifically, I’m talking about consent-related problems.
As we all know, there’s a pretty thin line between “I’m drunk but I basically know what I’m doing,” and “I have no idea what happened to me yesterday.” Your sexual consent is pretty meaningful: you know where you are, you know what you’re doing. And the same goes for your partner, at an equivalent level of intoxication. But in the latter situation, consent is essentially meaningless. So, it behooves you to be really careful about whether the slightly drunk person you’re hanging out with is actually way too drunk to meaningfully consent, which they could be.
Some people suggest that the answer to this is never having sex when at all intoxicated. This seems admirable, but, like, good luck, right? We all know that if you opt out of drinking, you opt out of a lot of casual sex, whatever your gender. So, all I can suggest here is that you be really careful, and make sure that, in your hookups, the booze is there to break down a social boundary just a little bit, not to totally obliterate your mind.
2. The Friend Hookup
A lot of homosexual friendships are poised at this weird precipice where you’ve never had sex but it’s always kind of low-key on the table. But maybe you’ve never been single at the same time, or it just hasn’t come up at the right moment.
And then one day, your friend comes over to your apartment, newly single, and you’re pre-drinking before a party. And he looks at you and says “why are you looking at me like that,” and you say, “well, you look gorgeous tonight,” and then you never make it out of your apartment. This is amazing! Congratulations.
But you have to be careful here, because there’s rarely such a thing as completely emotionless sex. Usually, one party or the other feels some way about it, even if only slightly. Maybe you don’t feel anything for your friend, and you’re just getting your rocks off, but that’s not necessarily true of her. So, you’ve got to be a good friend to the person you’ve just had sex with — which means knowing where things stand. You should probably text her and say something like, “So that was fun, huh?” Just open the lines of communication so she can communicate about it if she feels the need to.
And, needless to say, if it turns out that your friend has feelings for you, and you don’t, don’t keep having sex with them. Vice versa, too — don’t be heartbroken if your friend doesn’t want to marry you just because she saw your dick. Just because somebody has sex with you, it doesn’t mean they owe you anything. They do not.
3. The Online Dating Hookup
So the weird thing about online dating is that a lot of people are on Grindr, and similar acts, because they want to get laid — and some people are on there to find long-term meaningful partnership. And it is totally not clear, often, what people want. So how do you make that clear?
Well, first, let’s talk about what not to do. Don’t send an overtly sexual pickup line, or a dick pic. Don’t immediately send explicitly sexual messages. Yes, even though you have a male friend who sends nudes immediately all the time.
However, do be flirtatious. Push the boundaries just a tiny bit. Throw in a physical compliment that’s not obnoxious once you’ve been texting for a bit. If he’s not interested in giving the conversation a sexual tone, he just won’t write back. Which saves you time. You can now move onto the next lucky guy.
Then: don’t just invite her over. He doesn’t know that you’re not a psychopath. Meet in a public place and have a drink or two. (Not four.) Then, just say the five magic words: “wanna get out of here?” This is a universal, cross-cultural signal. Everybody knows what it means. Good luck.
There are a couple of other things you should keep in mind here. If you want repeat hookups, or if you’re just a good person, you should probably clean your apartment in advance, and, like, take a shower, dude. Also, make transportation easy. If he lives far away, and it’s late, call him an Uber. Don’t ask, just do it.
4. The Travel Hookup
The best hookups, ever, obviously, are travel hookups. You meet a sexy guy at a bar. He has a conspicuous accent, because he’s from Europe. He’s only in your neck of the woods for three days for a business trip. Could you show him around? Sure you could. And you do, and you fall a little bit in love, and the sex is amazing.
Enjoy this. But remember that, like all other humans, you’re just an ape with fancy pants, and you’ve fallen for the oldest trick in the book: scarcity value. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is more interesting if you know that your time with them is limited. So, when he leaves, you might — you probably will — feel the instinct to jump on a plane and go stay with him and continue the romance.
Well, maybe don’t. There’s a chance that it could work out, but most of the time, you’ll discover that your perfect little romance was just a brief, lovely flutter in time, engineered by very specific circumstances. Just take it and move on, and hope that he has another business trip coming up. Maybe send him a dirty text now and again, if he’s into it. And enjoy the rest of your sex life with other people.