It’s an unnecessary discomfort to see someone you’ve recently hooked up with, yet many of us feel awkward and act avoidant. But there’s no reason you can’t say “hi” to someone (or someones) after a session of thumpin’ and bumpin’. Yes, even a no-name-exchange one-off is a meeting of people, and it’s not only cool but meaningful and important to honor that you connected with another human being. So let’s take a look at proper hookup etiquette.
Sex is always a relational and social experience, regardless of whether or not it’s meant as a way to form an ongoing romantic relationship. It’s not necessarily a commitment to anything more serious, and neither is a friendly hello, but that hello is about being a good person.
My clinical office is full of people wounded by others, and it demonstrates how powerful all human interactions are on each of us. Sex and dates of every kind can leave us feeling better in the world or worse, and can contribute to tanking our self-esteem. Our self-worth is social, and it’s an accumulation of the ways others have treated us — even random hookups.
No one is beyond needing to work on more kindness, especially in our current political climate where multiple systems of oppression still operate openly and proudly, and most heinously on sex and dating apps with overt sexual racism and body shaming. Beware of those clearly marketing a lack of kindness by listing the races and body types they feel secure announcing their bigotry towards.
Sex is a great way to build friendships, form diverse styles of relationships, increase body esteem and explore and learn about yourself. Let’s stop using it as an antisocial way to distance ourselves from others out of shame for anonymous or random sex.
Don’t slut-shame yourself or the other person — own it! Say “hi,” wave, smile and maybe even acknowledge how you know them. That’s proper hookup etiquette, and there’s no shame in having a sex life.
Let’s not perpetuate the idea that sex carries shame or makes you less respectable, which is what your silence and avoidance of a sex partner communicates. A person’s health is in how they treat others and not in how much sex they have or how they have it.
If your friends give you shit for your sex life, remind them that slut shaming you or calling you a “sex addict” says everything about their integrity and nothing about yours. Sexual confidence is a huge act of empowerment in our sex-phobic world.
So exercise proper hookup etiquette: the next time you see someone you hooked up with, be friendly and treat them as a whole person, not as a used-up sex toy you’re finished with.