Hookups: What Are the Rules?

Hookups: What Are the Rules?

If you’re looking for a hookup — a casual no-strings-attached encounter with another person — then what are the rules of that hookup? Are there any? Isn’t it all just a free for all where all’s fair game? The liberal-minded culture that forms at least part of the foundation of hookup culture would suggest that there isn’t any kind of rule set or etiquette that one has to follow, but this isn’t the case, it seems.

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The reality is that there are indeed rules and etiquette to be followed in the world of hookups. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about a few of them and what they mean. Remember that most of these are “unwritten” or “unspoken” rules, just as most of social etiquette is. Our readers should assume that the law of the land naturally plays a part in hookup rules, and it should go without saying that nothing illegal is allowed or advisable.

Hookup Rules – Etiquette for No-Strings Fun

Rule 1:

Know and Understand What Hookups are All About

The most important thing that people getting into hookups should know and remember is that a hookup is not a relationship. It’s not even intended to be the start of a relationship. There’s nothing to say that what starts as hooking up couldn’t eventually turn into more, but while it’s a hookup, noone participating should be talking about or treating it as anything more than that.

Those who go into hookups and break this rule invariably get disappointed and hurt. Some enter hookups thinking that they will change the other person, alter their mindset, or convince them through sex that they are the person missing from the other person’s life. The higher you try to build up this situation, the further you will fall and the more it can hurt.

Rule 2:
Always Use Protection

The next rule is probably the closest to an absolute rule that you can get in this list, and that is always use protection when hooking up with others, especially if you are engaging in hookups with other people. That’s not to say hooking up with one person yourself is any safer, because you’ve largely no way of knowing how many people they are hooking up with.

Despite our increased access to sex education, and the general understanding in society that condoms and other forms of protection can prevent these diseases from spreading, not to mention unwanted pregnancy in heterosexual pairings it seems we still have a problem fully getting to grips with it. If you are part of the hookup culture, carrying condoms should be your default setting.

Rule 3:
A Rushed Exit is Bad Manners

There is a common belief that hookup culture is just another form of “wham, bam, thank you ma’am,” but actually it’s not quite like that. You are engaging in something that is just sex, but it doesn’t mean that one just spirits oneself away as soon as the deed is finished. There’s nothing wrong with hanging out for a bit if both parties want, perhaps having a chat, having some coffee, or breakfast together.

Sneaking out is generally considered bad manners, even in the hookup world. If you have to go quite soon after finishing, then just let the person know. Tell them you have work stuff to do, or that you’re meeting up with friends. It doesn’t matter if it’s even true, it’s still the polite thing to do.

Rule 4:
Stay Loose When Meeting Friends

If you’re with a regular hookup and you get a chance to meet their friends, be sure to stay cool and not get into much detail about your connection. The best rule of thumb is to describe yourself as a friend (see rule 5 for more). Breakers of this rule tend to try and use social situations to enter into matches of brinksmanship with their hookup, perhaps trying to redefine their hookup connection as something else.

Just imagine meeting his/her friends, and one of them asking you, “so, how do you two know each other?” or “so, what are you to xxxx?” The hookup turns to their friend and asks “I’m not sure, xxx, what do you think? What am I?” That just puts unfair pressure on your friend to try and be “honorable” by introducing you as a date or boyfriend/girlfriend when you know very well that it isn’t the case (see rule 1).

Rule 5:
Hookups are Friends

If you are still unsure as to your “status” when you are part of a hookup situation with someone, the safest term to use is both simple and familiar: “friend.” That’s what you are. You are their friend, and they are your friend. You enjoy each other’s company and allow yourselves the pleasure of a physical relationship while understanding that there are no obligations to make it anything more than that unless both parties are really into it.

Rule 6:
No In-Depth Talks

Hookups can get to know one another on a physical level, and on a kind of superficial emotional level, too. However, when things are strictly a hookup, there’s no real need or warrant to try and understand each other any more deeply than that. For example, there’s no need to get into family histories, childhoods, past (or current) relationships, deep emotions, fears, lifetime dreams and ambitions…of course, if things come up organically and you’re happy to talk about it, that’s fine. The rule indicates that no one is under any obligation to reveal any of the above.

Rule 7:
Fun is the Name of the Game

When engaging in a hookup, the whole point is for all parties to have fun. Without overlapping with other rules above, one important aspect of this is that both parties honor the fun aspect without applying undue pressure, coercion, or any kind of unwanted advances or moves on the other. The magic of the hookup is that everything is supposed to happen consensually, and with the goal of maximizing fun and pleasure. How that happens is up to the individuals involved, but one-sided fun and fun without proper consent is not fun at all.

Are Hookups a Good Thing?

Some are very dismissive and detracting when they talk about hookups and so-called hook-up culture. They call it a loosening of moral values, and a cheapening of sex between people; turning sex into something “transactional.” Many social conservatives hold to these principles, and are quick to criticize anyone engaging in hookups.

Those people have a right to their views, but so too do the hookup fans have a right to engage in whatever consensual sexual activity they want, with whoever they want within legal bounds. As long as no one is hurting anyone else, or breaking any laws, what’s the harm, in reality?

On a personal level, hookups are a fun and good thing to do when you’re young. They can help you explore your sexuality and develop into a seasoned, skilled lover that better enjoys sex and makes sex better for other people that they meet. It can also provide a strong sexual foundation for long-term relationships that might come later on. There is a view that marriage has a better chance of survival if the two spouses can maintain a fulfilling, varied and exciting sex life together.