How to be a Great Hookup

When I was approached to write a post about hookups, I was really excited to jump at the chance. I thought back to my time online dating and realized how much it taught me about what to look for — and what to avoid — in partners of all kinds.

And then I remembered that that was five years ago.

Y’all. I’ve been out of the game. And I’m not, like, announcing my return here. This isn’t a Mario Lemieux situation. Instead, I want to talk about what a great hookup would mean for me now. Knowing what I know now, having learned so much about sex geekdom, the intricacies of consent, and just plain how to be an adult, what would my dream hookup look like?


Is your space hookup-ready? I’m not suggesting you do a full, top-to-bottom spring cleaning before hopping on Tinder… But you should definitely do a quick tidying up. Put some toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet, empty the bathroom and/or bedroom trash, and change your sheets. (Seriously dudes, change your goddamn sheets.)

This might be controversial, but don’t light incense or candles — you never know if your hookup might have allergies or just bad scent memories. Instead, open up a window and your bedroom door to get a nice, fresh cross breeze.


Simply put, be kind, not just nice. What does this look like in practice? Kindness brings together elements of enthusiastic consent, thoughtfulness, and healthy boundaries.

Be honest and forthcoming about your intentions.

For example, “I’m looking for a hookup and I’m not really interested in anything seriously romantic right now, but friends with benefits is a possibility.” 

Look for enthusiastic consent. 

It can be challenging to communicate about sex, especially with someone you don’t know very well. Someone who’s enthusiastically consenting is most likely someone having fun — smiling, relaxed, making eye contact, and giving affirmative answers. The worst sex I’ve had has been with partners who didn’t know or didn’t care that I was uncomfortable. The best sex I’ve ever had has been with partners who made me laugh and helped me fully relax.

Try to please your hookup, but don’t make it all about the orgasm.

Some of the basics of dirty talk are actually all about finding out what a person likes, and making it super hot to ask and answer. This of course ties into enthusiastic consent. Ideally, both (or all) of you want to be HELL YES-ing your way through this whole thing. But sometimes, an orgasm just isn’t happening.

It’s natural to want to please your partner. If you’ve had partners in the past who had orgasms really easily, you might be put off if a new hookup isn’t quite getting there. But another person’s orgasm really isn’t about you. If they say something like, “Hey, I don’t think I’m gonna be able to come, but this is really fun,” please don’t take that as a challenge. The best thing you can do is make sure you both continue to have a good time.


I know not everyone has 100+ sex toys and sixteen varieties of lube at their disposal, but you can easily put together a safer sex arsenal to suit all your hookup needs. Depending on what kind of bits you have — and the bits of those you’re hooking up with — your kit might look a little different from someone else’s. Let’s go over the basics:


You’re an adult and you know what condoms are good for. But because condoms come in different sizes and different materials, it’s a good idea to have a couple different kinds on hand for different partners or different situations. If you buy your own — rather than getting them from a safer sex resource like a university health clinic — I’d heartily suggest my favorite non-latex condom, Lifestyles SKYN. In the past, I’ve also loved Durex UltraThin (latex), and I’ve heard a lot of great things about Crown (also latex), too.

Other Barriers

Yep, there are other choices beyond condoms! Nitrile gloves are a particularly popular choice among sex geeks. Gloves are a great choice for group sex (change partners, change gloves), fisting, and safer finger-banging. You can also cut a glove (or a condom) into a makeshift dental dam to act as a barrier for oral sex or rimming.


Like condoms, lube isn’t really one-size-fits-all.

Water-based, low-pH, low-osmolality lubes like Sliquid Sea or Good Clean Love are great for vaginal sex, and they’re condom-friendly. Silicone-based lubes like Sliquid Silver are great for longer PIV sessions, sex in the shower, and anal sex, and they’re compatible with condoms. Oil-based lubes like plain coconut oil or The Butters are vagina-, penis-, and anus-friendly, but they’ll weaken or destroy latex and its derivatives.

Depending on your favorite ways to have sex, you’ll want to choose a lube that suits your needs. If you just want a good all-rounder, I’m a big fan of Sliquid Silk, since it’s a silicone/water hybrid that has great lasting power, is safe for use with silicone toys, and is well-formulated.

Sex Toys

I’m not going to get into sharing sex toys here (because that could be a whole ‘nother post!), but rather keeping your own and bringing them to hookups. For this, I would really recommend something smallish and relatively quiet, preferably either with a travel lock or with removable batteries. The We-Vibe Tango seems to be a popular choice. If I were to head out the door right now to hook up, though, I would grab my L’Amourose PRISM V.

In Conclusion

Be kind. Have fun. Make good choices.

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