Enough of the nausea inducing articles entitled; “Surviving New Years Single!” They’re enough to make anyone a nervous wreck. If you are single, enjoy and relish it! Think of all the people you know in unhappy relationships and don’t pressure yourself to have the perfect New Years Eve. The holiday is not an indication of how 2016 will pan out.
If you do want to embrace “hooking up” over the holidays, here’s some tips about how to do it healthily.
Be honest and don’t play games.
No Strings sex should NOT mean lying, rudeness or hurting people. Everyone has different expectations around “hooking up”. Some people hope it will become a relationship, others want a one-night stand. Dating rules are so blurred that being clear about what you’re looking for from the onset is essential so people don’t get hurt. Don’t treat someone as anything less than a friend because they’re hooking up with you. Don’t ignore someone the next day. Politely tell them you’re not keen for more rather than hope they’ll ‘get the message’.
Sex isn’t something you “score”, take from someone or use for revenge. It’s freely given and whether for only one night or one year- people deserve respect.
Honestly, what do you want?
Don’t fall for the potential of people, what they “could become” or how you could “change them.” Focus on your end goal. Do you want to be married with kids? Do you want to only have friends with benefits? Where would you like to be in two years? If the answer is a committed and serious relationship then settling for people only interested in one-night stands or casual flings isn’t going to get you closer to your goal. It’s going to stop you meeting the right people whilst you waste time on the wrong people who want different things.
Similarly, don’t lead people on who want a relationship with you when you only want a fling.
Be honest with your Intentions
You don’t need to indulge in hook ups to be “sexually liberated”. You can be just as liberated if you only want to have sex in a long-term monogamous relationship. Feeling pressured to engage in activities because of some societal idea or peer pressure isn’t what meaningful sex and connection is about. A lot of men and women hate one-night stands and hook ups and that’s ok. Don’t compare yourself to what your friends are doing. Their needs are very different to yours.
Are you using “hooking up” as a shield to protect yourself from becoming vulnerable and experiencing true intimacy? Examine your reasons for hooking up with a new person. Is it because you genuinely feel in a good space to explore or are you trying to complete a need or lacking within yourself?
If you don’t think you will cope if the hook up doesn’t lead to a relationship then don’t do it. If you know you’ll be okay if nothing comes of it then go for it.
Words: Cat O Dowd, Sex Therapist – Relationship Counsellor – Arts Psychotherapist