Shawn Fredericks | Staff Writer

Hookup culture is a term every college student who has not been hiding under a rock has heard.  Culturally-speaking, hooking up is more prevalent than ever, and the norms and pressures of hooking up constantly affect students.

Hookups, as defined by researchers Justin R. Garcia, Chris Reiber, Sean G. Massey and Ann M. Merriwether in the article Sexual Hookup Culture: A Review,” are “brief uncommitted sexual encounters between individuals who are not romantic partners or dating each other.”

Hookups, like any social encounter, have their ups and downs. On one hand, a hookup can be amazing, sharing a passionate moment with a person that you have a strong desire to be with. Or it could a fun stress reliever.  Hooking up can also be terrible. It can be filled with awkward moments, such as people forgetting names, lack of communication leading to uncomfortable positions, lack of sexual satisfaction, etc.

Navigating a hookup can be treacherous, but do not fear dear reader, for I will put you on game. Or in more academic terms, I shall share the rules of proper hookup etiquette.

When hooking up with someone, there are certain rules that people should abide by in order to have a positive experience. However, it should be noted I am writing this from a cisgender, heterosexual black male perspective, meaning I understand my perspective is limited.

Also note: this etiquette guide is not an endorsement of hooking up. You should not feel pressured to hookup. I am just sharing this knowledge so that as young adults, we can be more informed and better responsible when hooking up.

Communication is key.

Both people, or however many people are involved, should be upfront and honest about their intentions. This was an important thing for Marriah Decosta, a second-year studying sociology. When describing an ideal hookup situation Decosta said, “An ideal situation is one where both people have a mutual understanding as to what the situation is like. Even though it is not a relationship, you should still have guidelines. Both people should know it is not… exclusive. It is not a long-term relationship, but it [is] something for the night and both people should be safe about it.”

No Glove, No Lube, No Love.

People should bring the right supplies to engage in sexual activity.  Nothing ruins the moment more than not being prepared, and unsafe sex is for one thing unhealthy, and another thing, disrespectful. Protection should be used at all times. For example, a man should not take off the condom and risk a woman’s health for a cheap thrill. Safety is paramount, people need to adhere to caution when having sex, especially in a hookup situation.

Understand that sex must always be consensual. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Trevor Jenkins, a fourth-year studying business administration, discussed consent in his ideal hookup situation. Jenkins said, “For me, [I’d] rather be friends beforehand. It just makes things more comfortable. Consent is a big thing, and I feel like consent is more easily asked for or [obtained] when two people have a prior relationship. And what I mean by easily obtained is people are more comfortable asking for consent, and that is always a big thing, when it comes to hookups. I would like to preface this by saying I am in a committed relationship and I am completely faithful, but this how I feel about the matter. It is a better situation when they’re friends before because they’re more comfortable talking about consent.”

Thou shall not receive what thou does not ask for.

Basically, closed mouths don’t get fed. If you want to do something, or to have something done to you, just ask. The person can say no, and that is always okay. For example, if a man desires oral sex, he should ask his partner. He should not push her head down and try to force her to “give it up.” This also applies to ladies as well. Y’all should not expect oral from a dude either. Speak up if you want a sexual act done to you.

This for the fellas: Always be a gentleman.

I cannot stress this etiquette rule hard enough. Being a gentleman means being courteous. Just because it’s a hookup does not give you license to treat the women however you want. She is a human being trying to get herself some pleasure, so be respectful. Additionally, do not, and I repeat do not, speak of other situations you have going on with the person you are hooking up with. It is just plain disrespectful. Wait until the person leaves. Adding to that, after the person leaves make sure to text them later saying that you had a good time (even if you didn’t), so they do not feel like an object. While a hookup is a sexual relationship it is still a relationship.

Hooking up can be scary. Use these principles and rules wisely and always make sure to stay safe. Be blessed. Be safe out there.