Behind Closed Doors: Friends with benefits aren’t as scary as they seem

Everywhere I go, I feel like I’m constantly seeing articles, forums, classes, interviews and conversations about hooking up. People are questioning whether old-school romance has been replaced with Tinder, one-night stands and booty calls. Young, old, male, female, straight, gay and everyone in between appears to be paralyzed with fear because the traditional monogamous relationships we all know and love are slowly being dismantled by hookup culture. As scary as it may seem, I am here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that you have nothing to worry about. Not only do monogamous committed relationships still exist, but there’s also nothing wrong with a good ol’ no-strings-attached fling.

Though I may no longer be single and ready to mingle, I have enjoyed a friend with benefits every now and again. What’s most important to enjoying hookups and the culture that surrounds them is understanding what you want. If what you’re looking for is a relationship, remember that the next time the cutie you’ve been chatting up at that party asks you if you want to go somewhere more intimate. If it doesn’t seem like the night will end with an exchange of numbers and plans for lunch next week, pass up the invitation. It’s better to turn them down than let yourself down when your cutie hits it and quits.

On the other hand, if you just want to have some fun in the sack without the need to commit, hooking up is perfect for you. As college students, we’re busy enough as it is, and sometimes adding a relationship into the mix would just be too much. Hookups or friends with benefits keep you sexually satisfied without the need to rearrange your schedule to make room for anniversaries and dinner dates. Ultimately, not only do you need to understand what you’re looking for, you also need to let your partner know that as well. Being honest about your interests keeps feelings from getting hurt and will still get you laid.

As Carrie Bradshaw once pondered, “What came first, the sex or the relationship?” The answer to this question is complicated.

If you’ve been in a relationship before and are now entering into the single world, it’s also very important to understand that sex comes in all different forms. When you’re dating someone and have feelings for them, sex involves a lot more intimacy. However, if you’re looking to bang the guy you just met at the College Delly, sex is going to be less about the romance. A boyfriend or girlfriend is also going to know a lot more about what makes you moan than the cute senior in your chemistry lab you’re about to take home. This might seem like more of a con than a pro, but hookup sex does have a plus side. You can make hookup sex all about you. There’s no fear in hurting feelings when you tell your hookup that they need to go a little to the left or that they need to thrust a little harder.

It makes sense that people are a little scared by hookups; getting sexy with someone you don’t know can be daunting. However, owning your sexiness during a hookup can be an incredibly empowering experience. You’re hot, you know it, and you’re going to let this one-night boo thing know.

In the end, hookups can even end in committed relationships. As Carrie Bradshaw once pondered, “What came first, the sex or the relationship?” The answer to this question is complicated; I know a lot of people who have significant others that started as casual sexy friends and grew into so much more. At the same time, a lot of relationships just begin as friendships. Though it is not wise to count on your casual hookup to bud into a Nicholas Sparks-worthy romance, you never know what might happen.

In conclusion, if you’re stepping out into the world of hookups, remember to remember your wants and needs. Stay safe and have fun getting sexy.

Mallory W is a Behind Closed Doors columnist whose one night stands have inspired multiple best sellers by Nicholas Sparks.


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