“How does one hookup? No strings attached. Is it different for different genders? Im a girl and she’s a girl. I’m newly in an open relationship and I’ve literally never just hooked up with anyone ever and I’m curious about it; but have absolutely no idea how people do it?! With complete strangers, too. I feel like Jess from New Girl with her fancy underwear and weird voice characters… Eep!”
Gaby Dunn Says:
FIRST THINGS FIRST: you absolutely do not have to be casually hooking up if you don’t want to — even if you’re in an open relationship.
Is what you’re feeling the usual discomfort that comes from trying a new thing, or is this discomfort based in pressure to do something you’re not wired for? Being in an open relationship is about options and about honesty. It’s not about sexing everyone all the time, whether or not you’re into it. If you’re the type for whom sex and feelings are intertwined, don’t hurt yourself in some misguided attempt at being “cool.” Every “sexpert” I know is a nerd and a half. No one is cool.
Assuming you’re into the hook up, let me spin you a story: When I suddenly found myself single a couple years ago, I hit up anyone who’d ever seemed down to clown to ask, “‘Sup?”
These were friends I was interested in turning into one night stands, and then continuing the friendship. Whenever I texted a cis male buddy, he was at my place within the hour. The female friends took a little more schmoozing—an invitation to drinks before the hook up. (Which is great! They’re my friends first! It’s not a punishment to hang out before doing it.)
With friends you want to bone but don’t want to date, you have to make it VERY CLEAR that this is one-and-done, and you have to be telling the truth about staying friends. That doesn’t mean hanging out hoping it happens again or bailing entirely on the friendship post-bang. It means hanging out. As friends. And if someone flips this on you, you’re well within your rights to call them out or stop being friends. Choose these people carefully!
With total strangers, you have to be honest about your gut instincts. If something feels weird or sketchy, it probably is! Prioritize your safety and happiness over seeming “chill” or “polite” to a stranger you met on OKCupid, Bumble, or Craigslist. If you get even one bad vibe pre-meet up, don’t go. If you feel a little scared entering their home, don’t go in. You know deep down when you feel safe.
The movies make anonymous sex look spontaneous and sometimes, it can be. But it also requires protecting yourself. Always let a friend or a roommate know the address you’re going to, and a time when you’ll check in via text. If you don’t check in by that time, they should call the police. If someone is coming to your place, get them on the phone and voice verify that it is them and not someone who sounds completely different (for instance, that it’s a 25-year-old woman and not a 58-year-old man). If you can meet in a well-lit public place like a coffee shop beforehand, that’s even better. That way if you change your mind, you can ask for help. Do not get into someone’s car. If there’s nowhere for you guys to hook up, tough nuggies. Do you want to end up on the sex offenders registry or get driven to the desert and dumped? (None of this sounds very sexy, but better alive than sexy.)
A safer middle ground for sex with strangers is going to sex parties. Register for a Fetlife account and search “events.“ Check if the party is 18+ or 21+ so you don’t go and get turned away. Usually the parties have different hooks so make sure you find one that fits your desires. They’re completely anonymous. (I’ve never given out my last name and some people use fake first names too.)
The question I get a lot about sex parties is if you have to hook up. You never HAVE TO do anything in a sexual situation. Especially at these places. You can go solely to watch. You can only touch women and tell men “no thank you.” (At some parties, men can watch even if you tell them no touching, but showing off can be hot!) You can leave after 5 minutes. (Women usually get in free. Straight couples pay. Single men pay more.) The ones I’ve been to have more of a consent clause than a regular bar: any guy seen as bothering a woman is reprimanded and/or thrown out pretty swiftly. (They don’t want YOU to leave so they’d rather he go. Women, in my experience, have all the power.)
There are also less intense “sex” parties like the female-only Skirt Club, which hosts orgies, but also gentle meet-and-greet cocktail hours where women interested in casual sex with other women can drink, exchange numbers, and have a low pressure flirty time.
You can also take some friends and go out to a bar, drink VERY responsibly or not at all, and do a flirt with strangers just to get the hang of it. You can even partake in some making out in the safe space of the bar and you never have to go home with anyone. (Scandalous!)
If you’ve never done any casual anything before, you can start extra slow and meet an anonymous sexting buddy on an app like Tinder or Her. Some people don’t want to meet in person, and are happy to keep your sexy-times digital. This relieves any worry about catching feelings and/or putting yourself in harm’s way for a slap and a finger-bang. For this I recommend exchanging Snapchats, which can be anonymous and tells you if someone has screenshotted you. (If they do it without asking, SHUT IT DOWN.)
I hope this was helpful and also a little bit salacious! And if you find a stranger or a friend to hook up with, I even made you this sexy playlist called “GET YOUR FREAK ON.” Take care of yourself out there, soldier! Safety first!
Gaby Dunn is a writer, comedian, YouTuber, and author living in Los Angeles. She is the host of the Bad with Money podcast and author of NY Times Best Selling novel I Hate Everyone But You. The Bad with Money book comes out from Simon & Schuster in Fall 2018!
Cover Art designed by the incredible Isabella Rotman!