The other morning, when I woke up unsure of whether I was still drunk or just hungover, I found myself confronted by an important post-coital realization: I had screwed up (pun mildly intended). Before I go any further, understand that this is not that freshman-year-what-frat-house-am-I-in hungover regret. What I’m talking about is the regret that comes with the end of something we have all come to know as the occasional hook-up. That certain somebody who, regardless of previous plans, you end up with in the corner of Smokes, by the bathrooms at Level or whatever drunken proximity leads to a bed.

Over the course of a two-hour scour through discarded clothes, disheveled books and unpaired shoes, the Whartonite and I came to the unspoken conclusion that we had been downgraded from casual hook-up buddies to despised Pennemies. Game over. This messy combination of pleasure and pain caused me to question the appropriate guidelines for casual sex. Not all casual sex is created equal — there is the one night stand, the occasional hook-up, the booty call, the fuck-buddy and the ever-popular (and ever-dangerous) friend with benefits. Casual sex is something so simple that only we overeducated, neurotic Penn kids can fuck it up.

Casual sex at Penn operates much like sex in the real world, only within a 5-block radius. While you may not intend to sleep with this person again, there’s about a 100% chance that you’ll see them again. After all, Locust Walk is the most direct route to, well, pretty much everywhere. In dealing with the occasional hook-up, don’t overextend the relationship, i.e. don’t do lunch. Office hours are from 10 p.m to 10 a.m. In terms of the booty call, the function is as the title implies. Although said act is most thrilling when kept secret, anything goes and much depends on your individual dynamic. The fuck-buddies are the fun ones because the relationship focuses on two non-mutually exclusive things: fun and sex, and who isn’t into that? As for friends with benefits — and this applies to everyone — just don’t. It’s like that last shot of Cuervo. It seems like a good idea at the time, and in the beginning it is, but the only place to go is down. If you think it’s going to end well or cleanly, you’re wrong. But you're probably going to do it anyway.

While there are always exceptions to be made, there is a general outline of what goes down in the pursuit of a non-committal, judgment-free, low-maintenance non-relationship. So play by the rules and get into the game. Or don’t.

Just remember: we all love sex. If you haven’t had it, you love the idea of it. Anyone who claims they don’t is in denial. Oh, and please use a condom.


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