You go out on a first date with someone who’s handsome, fun, and nice. You’re having so much fun, you don’t want the night to end. So, you invite him back to your place, you have great sex, and fall asleep feeling yummy. After a quick morning coffee the next morning, you say an awkward goodbye and vaguely confirm that you’ll “be in touch.” At this point, all those satisfied feelings from the night before turn into a knot of uncertainty. Was it just a hookup or the beginning of something more?
It’s obvious at this point: Sex is no longer an indicator that a relationship is getting serious. In fact, it doesn’t imply a relationship at all. In a May 2016 survey conducted by Relationup revealed that 59 percent of men and women thought hooking up on the first date had no impact on whether it would evolve into a long-term relationship. Despite this, 72 percent of the women and 34 percent of the men surveyed admitted that they have difficulties managing the post-hookup relationship.
If you’re not sure you’re ready to handle a hookup, that’s totally OK. It’s not for everyone. But if you do think you want to venture into the fray, here are four tips for minimizing the potential for awkwardness or hurt feelings and maximizing the potential for fun.
1. Don’t expect a hookup to turn into anything more.
It’s easy to get carried away by the closeness and start to feel like you’ve finally met your match. Keep your expectations in check. If something develops, great. If not, chalk it up as a fun experience.
2. Don’t confuse sexual intimacy and emotional intimacy.
Your relationship is in its infancy. You have to pace yourself. Don’t expect texts throughout the day or even a call. You may even notice a bit of distance right after your intimate evening. That can be intended as a signal that this isn’t a relationship yet.
3. Don’t mistake a desire to hook up again for a desire to deepen the relationship.
Your date may have enjoyed spending time with you and having sex with you. Follow-up contact doesn’t necessarily mean that this is going to turn into a relationship. With a bit of time, you’ll be able to tell if this person perceives you as a booty call or if they want to keep getting to know you.
4. Don’t let the uncertainty get the best of you.
If you venture into the world of hookups, you have to accept that you’re playing in a gray area. If you know that uncertainty or undefined expectations make you worry or obsess, you might be better off avoid casual sex. To have a satisfying hookup, you have to be OK with never hearing from that person again. Maybe you will. But if you don’t, that shouldn’t ruin the experience. If it does, then you weren’t looking at it the right way. It’s all about perspective.
Hookups can be a fun beginning to a new relationship, or they can just be one night of spontaneity. But whether or not you enjoy yourself in the context of a hookup comes down to knowing your needs and respecting them.
Written by Rhonda Milrad, LCSW
Founder and Chief Relationship Advisor, Your Sage