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21 April 2021

Casual date etiquette: 8 do’s and don'ts for erotic encounters

Mimi Erhardt

How did single people actually arrange casual hookups before online dating became a thing? Well, for starters, back in the day, we had magazines with dating ads where "horny guys" could look for "fuckable girls." There was also, of course, the good old one-night stand - mostly mediocre intercourse with randos you had taken home from the club. And let’s not forget booty calls for spontaneous hookups arranged by phone call or Whatsapp, usually with people you’d already had something going on with. 

Casual dates with strangers used to be somewhat of a novelty. But with the rise of online dating apps, casual dating and casual hookups have become common amongst singles. As a single person myself, I welcome this change, I need entertainment after all. But with new freedom comes new responsibility, so I’ve written down a few things to keep in mind when dating casually online. Here are 8 do’s and don'ts for online hookups.

Do – sex toys (with consent)

Why not? As long as you’ve communicated with your date beforehand and established a mutual enthusiasm for what kind of sex toys you want to use together.  Surprising your partner with an anal plug on the first date might not go over as well as you hope. And you don’t want to be someone’s first-date-gone-wrong horror story.

If your date isn’t as interested in using toys on themselves, you can always ask to bring toys for your own satisfaction!

Don’t – feel pressure to please

You might ask yourself, “how selfish can I be on a casual date?” In my opinion, completely selfish. You don't owe anything to anyone. Take what you need and hopefully satisfy your date while doing so. It’s great if you make your partner come, but it’s not necessarily a must on a casual date. You’re not acquainted with each other’s bodies, kinks, or preferences, and you’re still discovering if you’re compatible in the bedroom or otherwise. Besides, it's not like you have to fear a shattering review on Yelp afterwards.

Let your imagination run wild

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Do – protect your identity

If you’re not interested in more than a night of passion you shouldn't reveal too much about yourself to your date. Maybe you’re in a committed relationship looking for fun on the side or maybe you’re just out to privately experiment and explore. My advice to you is: don't share Instagram names or phone numbers. Instead, arrange casual dates anonymously and safely via the app.

Don’t – get ahead of yourself

An erotic meeting with a stranger offers an ideal opportunity to experiment and discover new versions of yourself. But there's a difference between trying out sloppy blowjobs and talking dirty and trying out bondage and anal sex for the first time. No one can gauge what you’re ready for better than you. If you’re more experienced maybe you’ll want to try something a little crazier on your dates. But if you’re less experienced don’t feel like you have to use every flogger, rope, or toy in the chest.  Being kinky is sexy, being careless is not.  

Don’t – explore BDSM on a first date

Sometimes a really good first date ends in kinkier sex than planned. But kinky sex doesn’t mean you have to cross boundaries. What if your date asks to be beaten, bitten, or humiliated? What if you’ve just met someone and they demand that you do something you’re not comfortable or experienced with?

For me, this is a hard no. Rough love is one thing, BDSM is another. SM sex should only be done with a trusted partner or within a safe and experienced community. Otherwise, the risk is too high - for both sides. The submissive partner risks getting involved with someone who doesn't accept or understand boundaries and rules, the dominant partner runs the risk of violating someone’s trust, body, and person.

Do – consent! consent! consent!

Sex takes place only with mutual consent. And this consent can be revoked at any time for any reason: because you don't feel comfortable, the chemistry isn't right, or the date online somehow seemed more appealing than the real thing.

Even if you have previously agreed explicitly to have sex, if either/any person changes their mind, that agreement no longer stands. No objections, no coercing, no begging, no insults.

Don’t – forget condoms

Never. And I mean NEVER. Condoms not only protect against sexually transmitted diseases but also prevent unwanted pregnancies. Assuming that contraception is women's business is so 1986. Why should the onus fall solely on people with vaginas to facilitate safe pleasure? Condoms protect, too. Besides, it’s just sexy when someone with a penis confidently reaches for a condom without negotiation.

Don’t – stay the night

Staying over after sex leads to intimacy and suggests an emotional closeness that can make a casual date a tricky affair. 

My advice: A little post-coital cuddling is desirable. Afterwards, pack your things in peace and make your way home.