|*Not a real book...yet.|
I've decided to use up some of my remaining post space to soap box on the biggest issues facing 20-somethings today...after excessive college debt, rampant unemployment, and the astronomical cost of independent health insurance...
Hooking up - the catch-all term to signify intimacy of any kind, outside of a relationship.
You don't "hook up" once you're inside a relationship. I don't exactly know what you call the canoodling you do once you're in an actual relationship, other than not canoodling. I just know that it's called "hooking up" if you're doing it with someone that you absolutely do not call your boyfriend or girlfriend.
Here are my final, hopefully clear, mostly non-judgmental thoughts on the way the modern world has come to relate sexually.
- If you are hooking up because you want to hook-up, have at it. Your body is your temple. I hope that you are safe, respectful and mostly mature about it, but beyond that, go to town. I don't think there's anything wrong with expressing yourself sexually, experimenting with different approaches to your sexuality or engaging in sexual acts outside of a committed relationship. If it makes you happy, you are careful with your body and you are considerate of your partner, enjoy.
- If you are hooking up because you think you should hook up, take a pause. Peer pressure is a real bitch. We think we should lose our virginity by X age, try a threesome because that's being adventurous, or sleep around because we've earned the right. Sex is not a should. It's a can, if you'd like. If would not like for whatever reasons under the sun, don't. You're no less of a sexual being because you're not a "Samantha." Don't let any TV show or Cosmo article convince you otherwise. Do I recommend going through life afraid of sex? Absolutely not. It's a beautiful thing. But I'm afraid all the messaging around casual sex and hook-up culture is creating a generation of people who don't know that there's an option beyond following this trend. Just because casual sex (I'm including everything from a blow job to a threesome in "sex") is normalized doesn't mean it's normal. So if you don't feel like your normal self doing it, stop.
- This one is going to make you mad, but I don't care. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that no man or woman was ever hoodwinked into a relationship via a hook up. In other words, if you are hooking up as a means to hook a man, you are wasting your time. Yes, you may end up in a relationship after having hooked up, but it won't be because of the hook up. So, if you're only hooking up with someone because you think it will convince them to date you, abort mission. I know. I've been there. "There" being a bar at 2AM talking to a drunk guy who is saying, "Just come home with me..." I'm saying, "How about I give you my number and we re-schedule" (or something less cheesy, but, let's be honest, probably not). Then he's saying, "Why don't you want to? We've been hanging out all night." And so I go because I'm afraid that if I don't go, I'll never hear from this guy again. Guess what? I probably won't. Guess what else, that will be a blessing, and not even one of those tricky blessings in disguise. This is 2013. If he wants to find you again, he'll find you. You are not going to siren sex him into falling in love with you after one drunk lay.
- There is a fine line between hooking up with the same person for several weeks/months/years and being in a relationship with that person. That line is so fine, in fact, that some people can't see it. And unfortunately, the only way to make that line appear is to call it out directly. Never assume that just because you're exclusive, she's exclusive. And - though this is going to make me sound like a god-damned grandma - if you're too immature to ask the person you're sleeping with if they're also sleeping with other people, you're too immature to be having sex.
- And finally, intimacy may make you feel closer to a person, and in many ways you are, but hooking up creates a very specific intimacy. I won't call it false - that's not fair - but it can be incomplete if it isn't clear. Sex means different things to different people, but these days we often have sex in a manner that assumes it's all the same to everyone. Forgive that massive generalization (that makes me sound like a grandma, yet again) and just look out for yourself, no matter what you do.
Next week - The Final Word On: Deciding What The Hell To Do With Your Life