If you’re single and dating, you’ve probably got your hands full right now. Between weighing your options for cuffing season, shopping for gifts, and visiting family, you’ll want to also prioritize some self-care. Having a few great orgasms is one method, so hooking up with someone in your hometown could be on the horizon. Think Hallmark, but after dark.
If you’re visiting home for the holidays and are looking for someone to stuff you like a Thanksgiving turkey, there are plenty of ways to go about it. You could hit up your high school exes, slide into the DMs of an old family friend who has aged really well, or even jump on Hinge while you’re chilling on your family’s couch — all solid ways to score in the way you want to. “For a lot of people, spontaneity is not as common as they would like, so a casual hometown hookup can be the spontaneity that you didn’t know you wanted, but absolutely needed,” says sex educator Javay Frye-Nekrasova.
What happens, though, when you accidentally catch feelings for the hottie you spent a few steamy nights with? Even if you were just looking to have fun and stay warm, be careful of catching feelings. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, so read on for expert tips about how to enjoy hooking up in your hometown without the cheesy Hallmark romance.
1. Make It Spontaneous
One of the biggest perks of casual hookups is that you don’t really need to think too far ahead (or too deeply) about them. Unlike when you’re dating someone, a holiday fling doesn’t require lots of communication and planning in order for you to get down to it. “When you’re just in town for a short while, casual hookups lack the pressure of wondering things like, ‘what’s next’, ‘are we going to become something’, and ‘am I going to run into them at this spot again?’” Frye-Nekrasova says.
Wait to text your intended hookup partner at the last minute in order to keep things light and spontaneous. As long as you keep in mind that there are no strings attached and that there isn’t an implication of a future together, you can have a fun and sexy holiday break.
2. Keep Your Focus Elsewhere
Even if you know ahead of time that you’re going to meet up with someone in your hometown, don’t let the excitement occupy too much real estate in your mind. When you think about the person or the time you’re going to spend with them, it can lead you to develop feelings and possibly an attachment — which is exactly what you don’t want.
Instead, experts recommend focusing on what’s important to you, says Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn, a professor of sexual communication at California State University Fullerton and host of the Luvbites by Dr. Tara podcast. “Developing a romantic relationship can be time-consuming, so if you want to focus on your career while having a safe, fun, and pleasurable time, casual hookups are great.”
3. Lose The Expectations
If you’re single during the holidays, you might feel some type of way about spending some of those special moments without a partner. That’s totally valid, and you’re not alone in feeling that void. When you’re planning a casual hookup at that time, however, it’s key to not get your hopes up that it could turn into more.
“So many people have had messages ingrained in them that the holidays are a time for falling in love, reconnecting with lovers, and finding the magic of romance,” says Frye-Nekrasova. “The holiday season releases a lot of endorphins, so those happy hormones — coupled with the happy hormones from sex — can make you feel like things are stronger than they might be.” While a festive fling can have you getting all warm and fuzzy inside, there comes a point where you need to reel it in and recognize the situation for what it is.
4. Set Boundaries
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to be crystal clear with your hometown partner about what the arrangement is — and what it isn’t. Suwinyattichaiporn says that it’s important to communicate about your boundaries upfront before anything happens. “Be clear and transparent with your casual partner that this is a short-term and casual relationship,” she says. “Of course, you can share that you enjoy their company and you're attracted to them sexually, but you don't have plans to nurture a long-term relationship.”
Are you OK with texting to make conversation during the day, for example? Should you sleep over? These are things you’ll need to decide on ahead of time so you can squash those butterflies before they start to flutter.
5. Form A Plan
Once you and your hometown hottie are on the same page about boundaries and expectations, Frye-Nekrasova recommends also forming a plan for how the two of you will hook up. Figuring out where you two will initially meet (if you want to sip a few drinks to warm up), for example, where you’re going to hook up, and what you’ll do after (you’ll probably want to avoid a cuddle sesh) can help. “If you have answers to these questions beforehand, you have something to help you in the next steps throughout the entire hookup, rather than letting feelings from potentially amazing sex guide your decision-making,” Frye-Nekrasova says.
6. Limit Communication
When you’re not in between the sheets with your local lover, Suwinyattichaiporn says it’s probably best not to chat them up for the duration of your holiday vacation. “You might want to limit texting or calling so you're not spending time communicating all day then catching feelings the next,” she says. Although you probably enjoy their company, and it can be tempting to grab drinks with them or send memes back and forth — but doing so can form a slippery slope toward getting attached.
7. Go On Dates With Other People
One great way to prevent heartbreak after your hookup is to keep your attention divided. Suwinyattichaiporn says that going on dates with other people during your stay (or soon after) can do just that. Spending a little time swiping on Tinder while you’re in your hometown may seem like a strange idea, but despite the risk of seeing your former high school classmates on there, redirecting your focus away from the person you’re hooking up with is a good way to protect yourself and your feelings.
8. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
Chances are you’ve seen one of those mushy holiday movies that feature a love story between a stereotypical city girl and a sexy hometown lumberjack. Rather than getting right to the sheets and then parting ways, they kiss under the mistletoe and live happily ever after. If you’re just wanting to have some casual sex over the holidays, this is not what you have in mind — but you are still human.
Even if, despite all of your best efforts, you do end up getting heart eyes for your temporary sneaky link, be gentle with yourself. You’re not the first person that this has happened to, and you certainly won’t be the last. The most important thing is that you’re honest with yourself about it and that you create space between yourself and them so you can brush it off and move on. “If you do fall in love with them and end up getting hurt... remind yourself it's a part of life and this too shall pass,” Suwinyattichaiporn says.
Javay Frye-Nekrasova, sex educator and “The Millennial Sexpert”