By Alicia Costa This week the Internets has been abuzz over a piece run by The New York Times about the death of traditional courtship and a shift in our generation toward a “hook-up culture”. The culprit of this is our love for texting and avoidance of face-to-face interaction. The men are not taking us out for fancy dinners and the women are not impressed. Society in 20 years will be overrun with barren spinsters and lonely bachelors! So, I’d like to throw my hat in the ring as someone who is guilty of engaging in this “hook-up culture”. Why? I have a busy and full life. Maybe I’m a terrible woman but I find there is nothing wrong with “hanging out” instead of getting flowers and going out for dinner. I like texting and casual flings. So I’m contributing to the death of romance and I’m not sorry. I’ve been in one long-term relationship of 4.5 years. Shortly thereafter I had a disastrous attempt to turn a best friend into a relationship. By the end of this period of my life I was emotionally, mentally, and physically burnt out. Okay – I was a bit of a mess. I was chronically underemployed and both my ego and self-esteem had seen better days. I was mourning the loss of having two of my favourite men in my life and in no way had the desire or mental capacity to date. I spent a lot of time drinking and trying to get my career going. However, being a lady with certain needs I was eager to find something to sustain myself without all the emotional drain that comes with dating. So I found myself a gentleman for an ongoing casual arrangement. And it was awesome, lasted five years, and I have no regrets about it. As I’ve already outed myself as a contributor (and supporter) of the evil hookup culture I thought I’d share my tips and tricks on how to get your rocks off and not get tied down.
- Find yourself someone decent – I use a general rule of not letting assholes near my lady-bits. So find yourself someone you like as a human being and who will respect your body. The unemployed stoner neighbour is probably not the best option. Convenience does not beget quality my friend. There are plenty of nice boys/girls out there who have jobs and friends and enjoy casual sex.
- Lay it down before you get down – Everybody involved in this arrangement needs to be on the same page. Have a discussion about what this is and what the boundaries are. Be grown-ups about it. I had a standing agreement with my friend that if either of us wanted to out at any time we just needed to communicate it.
- Check yoself before you wreck yoself – Once you’ve found someone you enjoy having an ongoing causal fling with make sure to make time to check in with yourself. Are you enjoying this experience? How do you feel after? If you are feeling icky about the arrangement, the person may be the wrong fit or you may just be someone who isn’t cut out for sex outside of dating or a relationship. It’s not for everyone.
- A little less talk and a little more action – In my experience it’s best to choose someone who you don’t already have a connection with. This person is not your friend or your boyfriend/ girlfriend. Keep the chit chat to a minimum and do not turn a hookup into a “hang-out”. The article mentioned above speaks in length of how “hang-outs” have replaced traditional dinner/movie/awkward goodnight hug. And I tend to agree. The majority of my dating experience recently has included just watching a movie on Netflix and drinking wine. So in this respect hanging out with your casual fling muddies the waters. This is what my good friend calls a “service call”. It is what it is, so don’t try and make it something else. This will only leave you or the other person feeling hurt.
- Get your freak on – Ever had something you’ve wanted to try but where too shy/ uncomfortable to do it with a partner? This is the perfect time. Suggest things. Try it out. This is a good time to really find what you like/ what gets you off without the anxiety that comes along with sharing these desires with a partner.
- Safety first, kids – Do I even need to say it? Be assertive and ask questions about past sexual health before jumping in the sack. Use condoms/dental dams like they are going out of style. Also under this heading is use your head before you use your junk. If this is someone you don’t know, build up a comfortable level of trust. Even if it’s just coffee for half an hour. If you’ve got good skeeze-dar like I do you will be able to tell pretty fast if this is someone you would invite into your home or body.
It’s important to keep in mind that these things have an expiry date. For me it was about a year ago when I decided to start dating and found having someone you can send a text to and get sex from makes you a bit lazy when it comes to finding a partner. But the experience for me was a good way for me to be able to spend time on building my career, work on myself, and get over my past relationships. I had all the time I needed to exercise and indulge in hobbies while still having someone when I needed it most. I don’t think this trend in our generation is anything to be apologetic or ashamed of. Sexuality is natural and takes on many different forms. Relationships take on many different shapes and change over time. And for many modern 20 and 30-somethings like me it is hard to devote the time needed to a career and personal growth and development AND maintain a healthy long-term relationship. I’ll end with a little wisdom from Missy Elliot, “Is it worth it, let me work it. I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it”.