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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

Hookup Culture: How to Communicate with your Partner during Sex.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

Casual sex—even in 2021 it can be a taboo discussion. However, casual sex in college is very real and communication can be difficult. So, in the heat of the moment how do you talk to your partner about what you’re comfortable with and what you need? 

Having proper communication with a hookup might seem scary and intimidating, but remember you are both there for the same reason: to have a good, consensual time.  Talk to your partner about your boundaries before starting to hookup, this will help both of you know what you are each comfortable with. 

Communicating with your partner

But what if your partner isn’t satisfying your needs? Communicating with your partner about what you need will help ensure that you both have the best possible time. 

Having sex is not just about pleasing your partner but also ensuring that you are equaly as satisfied. This is important to remember because unfortunately the stigma still exists that sex is only for men’s pleasure, this is entirely false. Sex should be treated as a mutually important event for both partners. Hence, a  common issue especially for women is  letting the needs of their partner eclipse your own desires. Ensure that you talk to your partner about what works for you and remember you are not hooking up to do anyone any favors but you are there as a team and for your own pleasure.  

Keeping sex safe

Before engaging in casual sex make sure to talk to you partner about their history with STD/I’s and when their most recent test was, condom usage, and boundaries. The best way to effectively participate in this conversation is by making sure that you are both enthusiastic about what is about to happen and you are both aware of what actions are off-limits. 

In terms of making sure to keep your hookup safe, I talked with a public health major at American University, Julia Tague-LaCrone. She stated that there is a “stigma [around STDs] that you are dirty, unclean and that you are going to cheat on your partner if you are concerned” about their sexual health. 

We discussed how eradicating these stigmas will help people learn to care about their own and their partner’s sexual health and is why it is important to get tested. Tague-LaCrone also elaborated on why it is so important to have safe sex is because STDs can still be contracted through kissing, condoms, and “you can still be a carrier of a [STD] even if you are asymptomatic”. This shows how important it is to have these conversations with your partner because it will help both of you stay healthy. 

Remember, that one of the keys to having a successful hookup is communication. Knowing what works for your partner, helps you both feel more comfortable with each other and allows for the best time possible. 

 Never let anyone tell you what to do with your body, including your partner, friends and family. Never let society make you feel ashamed for having causal sex.It is your body and it is your choice with what you do with it.

 Sex is a normal human action that should not be taboo or shamed still in 2021. However, while the hookup scene in college may not be for everyone, it is important to remember whatever you choose to do with your body,  make sure that you are comfortable and safe. 

Hannah Arthur

American '25

Hannah is a sophomore at American University and is majoring in Public Health, with a minor in International Relations. She plans to focus on global health and women's and children's bodily autonomy. She is the business director of HCAU and is passionate about equal rights and access to equal education.