Hooking Up vs Lasting Love: It's Your Choice
"hooking Up" "friends with benefits" "booty call"
These terms have become all too familiar in today's dating
world. Are they words that you can relate to? Have you lived
them in some way? If so, how have you felt about the
experience(s) both during and after? Chances are that you have
mixed feelings at best. Depending on your age and sex, you may
give a somewhat different response to this question. Whatever
your answer, a close look at this "dating experience" that
impacts so many singles in so many ways may be useful to you as
you think about what your long-term relationship goals are and
what you REALLY want from a relationship.
So what exactly do these terms mean? "Hooking up" is getting
together for sex. There is generally no formal "date" involved.
"Friends with benefits" usually refers to two people who are
"friends" who also have sex together. Again, there's a
distinction between what they share and "dating". "Booty call"
usually describes the act of a man (woman) calling up another
person to come over for sex. The sex doesn't follow dinner, a
movie or other "quality" time together, getting to really know
each other. It's physical.
Do you define this activity (even loosely) as dating? Has this
become a new intimacy for some or many of you? If so, it's
important to look at how/if it meets your needs and if it aligns
with your basic values and relationship wants and goals.
Begin by asking yourself some core questions, such as:
Am I comfortable with intimacy? Am I comfortable with a purely
physical relationship? Am I able to be physically involved with
someone while remaining emotionally detached? How do I feel
about myself when I engage in this behavior? Am I doing this to
please someone or win his or her affection? Is monogamy and
marriage my goal?
If your answers reflect discordance between how you feel and
what you do; it would be helpful to understand the reasons
behind your behavior. Do any of these sound familiar? "It's
convenient" "It's easy" "It's safe" "It requires no commitment
on my part"
In addition to these explanations, some singles express a belief
that "everyone does it" or "it's expected". Therefore, they
often report engaging in it, but not feeling really ok or
satisfied afterwards. Others use it as a substitute for real
intimacy, referencing their difficulties in meeting and dating
Then there are the people who have sex hoping it will lead to
love. This too is a desire for intimacy that can lead to sadness
and disappointment and the possibility of contacting a dangerous
and life-altering infection. It reminds me of the line in a
song, "if I can love you good enough on the outside to make you
feel it on the inside, then maybe you will stay..."
If you recognize yourself in any of these statements and want to
address your issue, begin with an inventory of your values and
self-awareness. Read the articles: "Defining Intimacy",
"Clarifying And Living Your Values", and "How's Your
Self-Awareness". You can find these on:
If you would find feedback that deals specifically with these
issues helpful, take the "What's Your Intimacy IQ" and "Are You
Relationship Ready" quizzes. These can be found on:
Once you have determined what you really want from a
relationship you can begin to make clear, thought out choices
that will open the path that points in the direction you wish to
go. Until you do so, you face the possibility of more
disappointing and short-lived encounters that leave you feeling
more alone and less hopeful about the possibility for lasting