For many young adults, college is the first place you get a real taste of freedom. You’re free from reputations formed since childhood, free from parents, free from your tired teenage life. You’re also surrounded by a lot of attractive, horny people who are simultaneously experiencing freedom for the first time, and also finally have the bedroom space to enact their desires.
While the last few years have reshaped the way we think about sex and physical intimacy-there is a much greater understanding of consent, and more awareness about the ways communication is misunderstood-that knowledge is unevenly distributed, and many young people really don’t know what they’re doing as they stumble toward their first few sexual experiences. We are frustratingly far away from the ultimate goal that we all deserve: physical intimacy that is not only safe but is also good.
Seeking a good hookup experience can feel like navigating an impossible quagmire, especially given toxic campus cultures that pressure students into having sex and can make intimacy feel transactional even when it’s fully consensual. The lack of clarity around the phrase “hookup” is part of the problem-depending on who’s talking, it can mean everything from a kiss to sexual intercourse. And though a hookup is usually someone that you don’t have a romantic relationship with, it can be anyone from a stranger to an acquaintance to a “fuck buddy” you have an understanding with. So here is what you need to know to make hookup culture work for you:
Where to Start
Knowing how to communicate your needs is an essential first step-both in making sure you are satisfied, but also making sure that your partner(s) are comfortable and consent to everything that you want to do to and with them. It’s also an important skill to develop as you continue to have sex, regardless of the number of partners you’ll have throughout your life.
How to Have a Good Hookup in College
You should begin with honest introspection about what you want to get out of it, and what you’re comfortable doing. This process can happen in your head, or it can come in the form of an actual catalogue. Burlesque performer and sex educator Fancy Feast recommends making a “Yes and maybe list” to physically commit your comfort level, needs, and wants to paper.
“A yes and maybe list is a list of actions in your ‘playbank,’” Fancy Feast told me over the phone. “You can ask yourself, ‘Is this something I jerk off about, am I really curious about it?’ That would go in your ‘yes.’ If it’s something you definitely aren’t interested in or something you didn’t enjoy, that would go in your ‘no.’” A “yes,” for example, could be a mix of positions or kinks you know you are into, like doggy style, or things you haven’t tried but definitely want to, like being handcuffed or spanked. And if those are things you’ve tried and dislike, or actively have no interest in trying, they go in “no.”
“Anything else would go in your ‘maybe.’ And that could mean maybe on my body but not on someone else’s body. Maybe if we had immediate access https://hookupdate.net/sugar-daddies-usa/nv/ to a shower, or something like that. Anything that comes with a caveat. I think that’s really useful whether or not you’re in a relationship, whether or not you’re hooking up. You could even put it in a Google doc and send it to somebody else!”
Formulating this list obviously requires rudimentary knowledge of what you do and don’t like. Some of this may have come from previous relationships or hookups before college. But not having hooked up with someone doesn’t mean you don’t have context for what you may be interested in. Fancy Feast suggests online resources, like the advice site Scarleteen. “It has ‘teen’ in the name, but I’ve recommended it to people who are in their 40s,” she said. She also recommends following sex educators on social media to get more specific advice.