Get in the Game

How to Have a Successful Hook-Up

Single girls, we were wondering: When was the last time you boasted to your girlfriends about a mind-blowing one-night stand? An unbelievable fling? A hot friends-with-benefits encounter? If it's been a while since you felt that a wild night of casual sex earned you brunch-time bragging rights, you're not alone. For many women, sex of the "I just scored!" variety goes largely uncelebrated, and Alexa Joy Sherman and Nicole Tocantins are here to tell you what a crying shame that is. The coauthors of Happy Hook-Up: A Single Girl's Guide to Casual Sex eagerly point out that single gals have options galore when it comes to sexual satisfaction, and it's high time you (yes, you!) start enjoying that fact. But first, they offer some guidelines for getting your head in the game:

Understand That Sex Is Not Love

For many people '- male and female alike '- this is a tough distinction to make. If you're one of those people, casual sex is unlikely to be in the cards for you. It's true that sex can be amazing when it's with someone you love '- but is it always? No. And the same goes for sex with someone you don't love '- it can be incredible or incredibly disappointing. Sex and love are often two distinct entities. Believe this to be true, and see what unfolds. If you can't, as we said, simply don't have casual sex. Be honest with yourself about your thoughts on the matter and your own moral code.

Keep Your Emotions and Your Orgasms Separate

To do this, you need to have enough self-awareness (and probably age and experience) to understand what you want from the situation and why you want it. Again, you must gauge the situation and be clear and honest with yourself before doing the deed. You might even want to quickly contemplate how you might feel after the fact '- ask yourself if you're sure that you'll be able to walk away without wanting to see him again.

Believe in the Pleasure Principle

Focus on your own gratification, on a purely physical level, and make the encounter about what gets you off. If pleasing him does that, then please him. If you'd like him to do something he's not, ask for it. A successful hook-up is when you feel completely satisfied and happy with yourself.

Make Sure It's Just Sex

As previously noted, go for a guy who doesn't have the whole package '- perhaps just the below-the-belt package. Be clear about your expectations and his, if necessary. Don't spend too much time bonding with each other before or after the fact. "If one engages in casual sex, one must understand that they are meeting a need and not simulating feelings of love. If one begins to cuddle, to share life experiences, one will begin to develop attachments to the sex partner," says Jewel, 41, of Long Beach, California. So limit your conversations with him to the here and now. This can include shameless flirting, observations about what's going on around you or your thoughts on sex and sexuality. Try not to discuss too much about your past or future '- or his. That said, it never hurts to enquire about his sexual history. You can do this in a flirtatious way that makes the conversation hot but also helps you gauge what risks might be involved. Then, focus on the action and the action alone.

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