5 Things That (Still) Aren't an Invitation to Hook Up

I've said it before and I'll say it again: communication is the key to any and all sexually related encounters. It is the key to a mutually enjoyable experience, as in, "uh, please don't do XYZ" or, alternatively:

It is also the key to making sure everyone involved wants to be there and is able to say they want to be there and that no one is misreading those *signals* upon which plotlines have been based since the beginning of plotlines.  It's really easy, especially for those on the binary who are less likely to have interrogated a whole host of related factors (internal gender-sexuality relationship, gender and/or sexuality performance, power dynamics in sexual encounters, etc.), to just yell about how

...and that there's really no hope for any of us.  Because how can we POSSIBLY understand what this entirely different species is thinking?  How can we read their signals?  (Apologies for the heteronormativity coming, it's from my personal experiences both where I was involved and where I just watched #fratculture play out.)  Imagine the conversations you're having with your girls in the corner at a frat apartment. You've been dancing and HE was, like, checking you out, but, like, you don't really know if he was looking at you, and, like, you're not even sure you want to hook up tonight, but, like, you did put on this short skirt because one time he said he liked your legs not that you're like dressing for anyone but yourself but like you know, and like "Janet do you think he wants to hook up tonight????  What do I do???"  And then Janet and you come up with this plan that probably involves very little direct communication about the prospect of the evening.  I can't speak from the male perspective as naturally, but I can regurgitate some of the conversations I've heard including, "Yeah I might hit that tonight, I don't know, we'll see how I feel, I might just go up and start dancing with her and see what happens" which again, doesn't include a whole lot of direct communication.

It can feel legit terrifying to just go out and (when you're not drunk, which adds a whole layer to this) be dancing or chilling and be direct about what you want and asking what they want.  I'm not saying you have to go around being like 

But this whole gendered back-and-forth bewteen, "I'm going to be coy and not take ownership and exert sovereignty over my body and let the man take the lead and just kind of maybe go along who even knows" and "I don't know, I just want to get laid, like you don't want to have a bad night amirite" leads to a lot of preventable gray space reagarding sexual assault, consent, and, honestly, mutual respect... for yourselves and any others involved.

In the meantime, while we all go practice our direct communication skills (lol a girl can hope)...

...here are some things that I often see being taken as an invitation to go for it that, when they just straight up aren't invitations, shouldn't be used as a strategy to attract a sexual partner, because, in the current state of our society and gender relations, it weakens our abilities to exert sovereignty over our bodies. I.e., if you say no and giggle 8,000 times but you really want to go home with this person, when you say no you don't want to try *that* (while they should listen, and should have listened the first 8,000 times you said no, no matter how coyly), how are they supposed to know the difference between that no and the other no?  Tone?  Really?  Or, i.e., going into the evening thinking it's more important to get laid to maintain someone else's standards for your behavior then it is for you to make your own decisions about what you want.

5 Things That Aren't an Invitation:

1. A person's clothing

Sure, you might get cute to catch someone's eye, and that can be happening at the same time that you got cute just for yourself.  What someone puts on their body, however, does not indicate they want to sleep with anyone, let alone you.

2. Being drunk.

I know, a ton of us go out and get drunk and your inhibitions go down, both in pursuing and in accepting because the doubts and the fears are quieted, if not downright silenced.  And I'm not saying you can't have consenual sex when you're drunk... but THIS TAKES SO MUCH MORE AND SO MUCH MORE CONSISTENT COMMUNICATION.  Everyone has to make sure the other is in an ok place, and honestly, if there's literally any question about it, wait.  A few hours.  Until the morning.  Damn, if you don't, you're saying that your desire to get laid overrides their bodily sovereignty.  That's f*cked up.  How much we drink should not be an indicator of how willing we are to hook up at any given point... not to ourselves, and certainly never to others.

3. *Flirting*

First off, I highly doubt you and everyone you talk to have exactly overlapping definitions of flirting, so calm down.  If you think they're into you, freaking ask: "yo, do you wanna get out of here?"  It is not that hard.  Like, that's really not that hard.  It can be muttered, and then you peace because you're excited the other one read you right.  And if they're like mmm nah, like, deal with it.  You can handle job rejections, so you can handle someone saying they don't want to hook up with you.

And another reminder: talking to someone extensively doesn't mean they want to sleep with you.  There are infinite reasons they might be gracing you with their presence.  Try to keep your ego and your hormones in check.

4. Saying they want to hook up or feel horny.

I could say that I feel hungry, but that don't mean you shove a sandwich at my face.  It's a HINT, perhaps, and perhaps not.  But it's not an invitation.

5. Checking someone out.

It might feel nice (it also might not), but again.  There are infinite reasons they could be checking you out... and again, you sure you know what "checking you out" looks like to them as opposed to you?  

Hooking up, and especially the "are we or aren't we" game we play all the damn time, is messy.  And the messiness makes dealing with the rampant sexual assault problem so much more difficult because we normalize certain behaviors that really shouldn't be, which lead to sticky situations when we combine them with alcohol and the general social awkwardness we have at Davidson... I mean c'mon, it's a whole bunch of nerds who finally learned to party.  But maybe, instead of just guessing about something that is so intimate, and so iffy, and so volatile, you treat it like you would so many other things throughout our day (Better check before I act).  

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