There’s nothing more awkward than making eye contact with your hookup’s roommate as you zip up your pants prior to leaving in the morning.

Georgetown, like most universities, has a very present hookup culture. It has been my experience that the LGBTQ community has a particular preference for casual sexual encounters over something more serious — specifically among gay men.

Let’s not forget about the national “free love” movement that started in the ’60s and exploded in the ’80s in gay male culture. At the time, gay men saw casual and frequent sex as the only way to express gay culture and to struggle against overarching, anti-gay political and societal structures. This attitude among gay men toward sex is still very much present in the LGBTQ community today — a culture of which I am proud to consider myself a part.

I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t actively participated in casual sex since coming to Georgetown. I’d certainly be lying if I said that I haven’t enjoyed these experiences as well as their accompanying sense of freedom.

However, I think that there’s a certain sense of denial among gay men our age that a serious, or even semi-serious, relationship with another guy could actually be a good thing — or that it’s even an option.

Since the start of my freshman year a few months ago, I’ve slept with 15 different guys, and not once was the idea posited by either party that it might lead to something more serious. I don’t say that waiting to receive a high-five for the number of notches on my bedpost — I’m gay, not in SAE.

I say that to emphasize that not one of my 15 partners — myself included — has even had the slightest confusion about our intentions.

Believe me, I don’t walk up to a guy at a party and say, “Hey, we’re going to have sex tonight, then I’m going to put my pants on and walk out the door before you wake up tomorrow. We won’t have to ever talk again. The most you’ll get out of me is an awkward nod when I see you in Leo’s.”

But, we both know that is what’s going to happen. Because why would we ever talk again?

It has become the norm for us to have casual sex because that’s what we’re used to. We still see free sex as one of the only ways to demonstrate gay culture. I can wave a rainbow flag all I want in defense of my culture, but I’m still going to be repeatedly asked for advice on scarves and what a “power bottom”  is — and be expected to sleep around.

But, this culture has prevented me from knowing what to do when I’m talking to a guy that I actually like. I’ve gotten good at sleeping with a guy and not thinking about him the next day. I’ve gotten really good at putting on my pants and walking out of the door without waking him up the next morning, but now that I actually have the possibility of something serious with someone, I have no idea what to do.

How often do I text him? What do I say when I do? What happens if he doesn’t reply — do I risk the infamous double text? I continuously fumble with every word and completely destroy my chances with my mutterings and incoherent ramblings — think Raj from “The Big Bang Theory” trying to flirt.

I’m not blaming the idea of free sex for my overwhelming awkwardness. But, there’s something to be said for my lack of experience with serious relationships and the predominant preference gay men have for casual sex. Let’s not forget the most popular Grindr tag out there, “NSA (no-strings-attached) hookups.”

I’ve never “taken it slow” before, and I don’t know how that works. How slow is slow? I’m confused as to how to go about things in the beginning of something serious after only hooking up for so long. With any other guy, his number wouldn’t even be saved in my phone, and I would have seen him naked by now.

This time, I think that I have real feelings, and — more importantly — I think that I’m ready to pursue them.

But, I don’t know how. However, I have realized that going out on a date with him can express gay culture just as much as, if not more so than, casual sex with any number of guys.

We’ll see how the morning eye contact with his roommate goes.

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