Sex is a healthy, natural part of life. And, it’s healthy and natural for you to want to have sex. As a young gay man, you will have plenty of opportunities to engage in casual sex (aka hook up). If you choose to hook up, be smart about it.
Here are seven ways you can be smart if you choose to hook up.
1. Set your limits in advance – and stick to them. When I was a younger man, everything seemed like fun. So many things were new and exciting, and I wanted to try them all – right now! Just remember, you have a long life ahead of you, and the truth is that you will have years to try all those new and exciting things. If you’re going to hook up, decide what you will and will not do. And stick to your limits! If the other guy is amazing, and you want to try other things with him, then go back later.
I’ve also learned that it’s best to say no if something is making you uncomfortable, even if it’s not “off limits.” When I was younger and choosing to hook up, I would occasionally find that something wasn’t quite right. The first time I ran into this, I squirmed uncomfortably and tolerated the experience instead of speaking up. I left feeling a little gross, and I can’t imagine it was fun for my sex partner either. After that, I promised to stop the action and go back to doing something I liked. You can do the same. Again, you have a lot of life ahead of you – you can always try again later.
2. Know who you're hooking up with. These days, our phones are hook up machines, and it only takes a few keystrokes to set up an anonymous encounter. Until you’ve spent more time feeling out your limits and understanding your environment, stay away from anonymous sex. Unfortunately, there are men with bad intentions out there. We hear stories of gay people being robbed, beaten, or even killed because they were looking for anonymous sex. At this point in your life, avoid it altogether.
If somebody is really hot, and you think you would have a great time, meet them in a public place. If they aren’t willing to meet you, move on! You will have plenty of opportunities to hook up later.
3. Make sure somebody knows where you are. Chances are good at least one person in your life has earned your trust. Tell that person where you are going (or that you are meeting at your place) and when they should expect you to be done. This means they know the physical address of your hook up, and if you don’t text or call them when your hook up is over, they will be looking for you. One of my friends calls this a silent alarm.
If you can’t tell anybody that you are going to hook up, simply tell them you are going to hang out with a friend, and ask them to check in on you. The point here is to make sure somebody knows where you are, and when they should start to worry.
In addition to being a silent alarm, you can use your friend to help you get out of a bad hook up. Let them know when you’re going to be meeting, and have them text or call five or ten minutes after it starts. If you need to politely leave the situation, you can use your friend’s call as an excuse to leave.
4. Safer sex is YOUR responsibility. If you think your hook up is going to include the need for condoms and condom-safe lubricant, you need to bring them. Don’t rely on your sex partner to provide these.
5. Be aware of sex offender laws. 25% of the people on sex offender registries landed there before they turned 18. In many places, having sex with somebody under 18 -- even if you are under 18 yourself -- is against the law. Even if your sex partner consents, all it takes is one upset parent to report you to the police. Being on the sex offender registry can ruin your life. Be very aware of sex offender laws in your state.
6. Make sure you actually have consent. Many schools struggle to define what consent means when two students have sex. You should understand these rules and follow them. Getting kicked out of school could set your life back considerably. More importantly, you should understand what consent is, and make sure you have it before and during your hook up.
7. Take care of yourself afterwards. Hooking up can be an emotionally exhausting experience. You may find yourself very excited, or you could find yourself depressed. Orgasm releases tons of hormones into your system, and it’s hard to say how they will affect your mood. Be ready to spend some time alone, or talk to your trusted friend.
Hooking up is a part of our culture today. And the choice to hook up or not is deeply personal. If you choose to hook up, be smart about it. Keep in mind, the choices you make today could affect you for the rest of your life. Remember, it’s okay to wait. You have many more years to explore your sexuality.
I'm a gay father with gay sons. My mission is to work with the community to prepare them -- and other young gay men -- for a happy and successful life.