The fact that hook-ups can be super confusing and anxiety inducing isn’t exactly news. After another weekend of watching students navigate the murky waters of hook-up culture, I’ve decided that it is about time to talk about asking for consent. So, in the interest of no longer being forced to play the middle-panther at parties, I have come up with a list of ways that you can ask someone if they want to have sex with you.
Here goes nothing:
1. Do you want to have sex?
2. Do you want to go any further?
3. Can I take these, or this, or (insert item of clothing here) off?
4. I have a condom, do you want to have sex?
5. I have a dental dam, can I still go down on you?
6. What do you want to do?
7. Hey, before we start this, what are you comfortable with?
8. (Make an effort to be attentive and responsive to your partner, then ask them) “do you want to have sex?”
9. Would it be ok if we tried (insert whatever you want to try)?
10. Is this ok?
11. You down? You up? You good?
12. (If you’re hooking up with a robot) Meep morp, do you want to have sex?
13. (If you’re hooking up with a robot that speaks a different robot language) Beep boop, do you want to have sex?
14. (Complete an elaborate, animal-based mating dance — I would suggest using peacocks for reference — and then, just to be sure, ask them) “do you want to have sex?
15. OOOoooUUUUUuuuuOOga (which, loosely translated, is whale-speak for; “do you want to have sex?”)
The best place to start when approaching a hook-up is to ask your partner exactly what they are comfortable with. No one will ever be offended or turned off if you take the time to check in and ask them what they want. It shows that you care about their experience, that you care about their feelings and that you are interested in creating the best possible environment to engage in any kind of sexual act. That itself is super-hot (and anyone who says differently can fight me, although — fair warning — because I am an actual panther, they will lose).
Remember: sex isn’t a one-time opportunity. If something is wrong, err on the side of basic human decency and stop what you are doing. While asking is a great place to start, consent is made up of so much more than just the words. Consent comes out of context, physical cues and verbal responses, all of which combine to create an enthusiastic and informed “yes”.
What does that “yes” entail? The act of deciding to have sex should be continuous, meaning that you are consistently checking in and making a concious effort to stay tuned into your partner’s needs. It is crucial to understand that someone saying “yes” at the beginning of the night or encounter doesn’t mean that they can’t change their mind at any time. Your partner should be excited and enthusiastic in their responses, both physical and verbal.
These core elements of the ideal hook-up should be your guiding light in navigating a sexual encounter with someone (even if, at the end of the night, everyone’s clothes stay on!). The bottom line is that if you feel daunted by hook-up culture and are unsure how to determine whether a person wants to have sex with you, start by asking them. I promise it won’t ruin the mood. In fact, it may have the opposite effect. Happy hook-ups!