help me do this casual hookup thing?
May 13, 2012 5:26 PM   Subscribe

looking for some NSA encounter while travelling, willing but clueless: help me do this casual hookup thing?

I'm visiting Berlin and Amsterdam in the next couple of weeks, and for a bunch of reasons to do with new life goals which include broadening my horizons, I'd like to experience a discreet genuinely no-strings-attached sexual encounter with someone I'll never see again. I have never done this before, and I have no idea where even to start. I'd appreciate some frank and basic tips. Assume total ignorance and naivety. Relevant details:
- Im mid-20s female looking for male
- I have never picked a guy up, only been in long-term relationships
- I'm attractive, good dancer, socially confident, I just never did the whole random hookup thing

what I want to know are things like
- specific places in Berlin and Amsterdam I might go to safely hook up with guys in their late20s-30s. I like nice bars with good vibe, dancing optional but not against it
- how to maintain discretion eg do I lie about my name?
- actual logistics of the hook up. please excuse my total ignorance. do they come to my place? do I go to theirs? What if they come to my place and refuse to leave?
- how to avoid STDs
- how to stay safe? I don't want to end up in an ugly situation, drinks spiked, lost kidneys etc
- anything else the more experienced of you can think of for a casual sex rooky

I thought of craigslisting this but most of the w4m personals seem like BDSM/fetish types, which I'm not interested in. I'm also generally creeped out by craigslist. just looking for some regular fun. much appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I can address the STD's thing - the guy wears a condom. It's simple as that, basically.

As for who goes to whose place - that is something you negotiate in the moment. Personally, I tend to prefer that most first (or only) sex happens on my turf, because I'm a tiny bit safer that way. I've never had a problem with someone refusing to leave; although, I have a pretty well-tuned creep meter.

Lie about your name if you want, don't if you don't.

And don't put too much pressure on yourself for it to happen, because that'll come across as a desperation kind of thing and could put guys off. The few times I've had spontaneous romps while traveling, I had absolutely no idea that it was going to happen when I met the guy; it started out as me asking directions in the hotel lobby or something, and he said "oh, I'm going to thus and such a place too," and then we end up going to thus and such a place together and it's a great conversation and then the conversation just starts getting even more interesting and then there are sparks and bingo. I didn't enter EITHER of those situations looking to hook up, it just happened. So - embrace the idea that you just might end up going home alone on a given night and be ready to roll with that (and then you may not after all).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:39 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I lived in Berlin, a fun singles club was Zu Mir Oder Zu Dir, basically my place or yours. It has a great hook-up vibe and most people know what they are there for; mainly one night stands. If you want, you can give a guy any name you want and just make sure you follow the Empress' advice.

FYI, I do know at least one couple who met here as a one night NSA hook-up that ended up married, YMMV.
posted by Nackt at 5:44 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Hooray for broadening horizons and being sex positive. However, I really think you are over thinking this. Don't put pressure on yourself. It will happen or it won't. I hook up with strangers on a fairly regular basis, and the below are tips from my experience:

Go to a bar. Wear your hair down and wear something you feel confident in.

If you flirt with a guy and you like him, makeout at the bar, see what it's like. I don't think it is necessary to lie about your name (you live in another country, right? and are not a famous person?).

Getting an STD and getting in an ugly situation are chances everyone takes when they have random hookups. You can be safeR in these situations, but you can't 100% say something unexpected will not happen.

For STD stuff, follow all the usual "precautions." Decide ahead of time what you will and will not do with and without a condom, a glove, and what you just will not do at all. This will make it easier for you to voice it later on when the hookup is actually happens. Have condoms with you. Make sure they aren't old or have been out sitting in the sun, or in your purse for months. If you anticipate wanting or needing gloves or lube, bring that with you too. I also do an STD talk with the guy.

As for the spiked drink scenario, make it easy for yourself: Order your own drinks. A guy can pay for it, sure, but order it, watch the bartender make it, and watch the bartender hand it to you. Keep it in your hand at all times--bring it to the bathroom with you if you go.

You can go to his place, your place, or just hook up somewhere a cab, an alleyway, etc. I usually have us go to my place, because it feels safer on my own turf, and because I'm lazy. You can have him leave whenever you want. Just ask him to leave. Say you have to wake up early, you can't have guests (if you're staying with a friend--wont really work in a hotel), you don't sleep well with someone else in the bed, or just say that you had a great time and he needs to go.

Mostly, have fun, be confident, use common sense, and keep expectations very low.
posted by manicure12 at 5:50 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

You tell them your first name and use condoms. Bring some yourself, regardless of where you want to end up. As an attractive woman, you probably won't have a problem getting attention in a bar. If you are willing to make moves, you can afford to be picky. You see someone who looks nice, seek eye contact from a fairly close distance with a friendly smile on your face, and then you ask something based on you being a foreigner to start a conversation. If you're the one taking the lead, chances that you'd end up with a kidney-snatcher are even slimmer than if he approaches you.

Your problem may very well be to shake off guys you don't want to hang out with. Do that nicely and most of the times it will be fine. If the guy is a pushy one, he can consider it a challenge or a negotiation. Try to keep it nice but don't be hesitant and if you have to, remove yourself a few meters from the spot you were in so he'd have to chase you to keep talking.

When judging who to approach and who to end up with, value cleanliness (look at fingernails) and emotional warmth/kindness.

By the usual protocol, you don't shoo the guy off in the middle of the night unless you said so from the start. If you're uncomfortable, that is of course within your rights, but if it happened to me I'd conclude that I'd done something very wrong. You typically sleep together, and it isn't uncommon that everyone is too tired or drunk to have sex in the middle of the night but that it happens in the morning instead.
posted by springload at 6:21 PM on May 13, 2012

The princess of hips is correct and true, as usual: don't even think about condomless sex outside of a long-term relationship. Carry your own condoms, too, to avoid a problem/excuse later. But once you're condom-equipped, don't worry about the risks outside that: it's so minimal it will just stress you out worrying about it.

You're apparently a young attractive woman. You won't need Craisglist or anything organized as long as you're not so shy you're helpless. Go out, smile and don't shy away from eye contact with every attractive guy you see. And take your time: there is no need to jump at the first offer, since you will have many men to choose from sooner or later. Just talk and be sociable, go along with wherever his conversation takes you. In Europe, most men will more confidently take charge of the conversation and attempt to steer it where they like than your average sexually-stilted American male, so you'll know soon enough what's on his agenda. If you lose interest in the man, you can steer him away, and it doesn't really matter how clumsily you do so, since you're a few minutes away from moving on, anyway.

Hint: "Waiting for my someone" is a nice half-lie you can use to dissuade the ones you're not (or are no longer) interested in. And if he doesn't leave graciously, you can always wander down the street to the next bar or restaurant or cafe and start again.

Relax, be confident in your own desirability, and you'll have fun.

Oh, and clean your hotel room *before* you go out for the evening. You never know.
posted by rokusan at 6:35 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

EmpressCallipygos: "I can address the STD's thing - the guy wears a condom. It's simple as that, basically."

Just to add on to this, there are a variety of STD that can be transmitted even in the presence of condoms such as herpes. Best practice includes at least basic inspection on the junk to be enjoyed before the act, which can be rolled into any number of fun acts of foreplay, to further reduce risk.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:56 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would take the guy to my hotel room, because it's a strange city and it might be tough to figure out how to get home when you're ready to leave (especially if you don't speak the language--you don't want to be dependent on him to call a cab or give you directions). Don't drink too much.

Lock up your valuables before you go out. If the guy won't leave, call security. Carry condoms. Know the emergency number (whatever their version of 911 is). Make sure you have the address of your hotel written down somewhere on your person.

Just a general going abroad tip: Photocopy your driver's license, passport (just the page with your info on it), and credit/debit cards and keep that separate from your purse. That will make it easier to replace/cancel/file a report if they get stolen.
posted by elizeh at 6:57 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are certain realities to life. One is that I often see other men running around parks pre-dawn. I rarely see women doing the same thing. Another is that a man has a different risk profile being alone and looking for sex in a foreign city than does a woman.

It's not fair but neither is it fair if you're the smaller polar bear cub. Not something chosen, but something that will certainly impact your future.

And you have the range above from pom-pom cheering for positive sex, to Dr. Doom right above with the devaluing of marriage prospects (fascinating stuff, haven't seen before) and the save-your-kidneys-by-masturbating tactic (that's new too).

The reality is that as an attractive woman on the prowl alone, looking for sex in a foreign place is WAY riskier than doing the same in your home city or home country. Primarily because you're a tourist. Being a foreigner is a risk in itself. You're not from the place, and stand out as a target. So you're really multiplying your target criteria. (Risk of running around park at night) x (Foreign place) = Risk profile.

Not trying to talk you out of it, but just saying, somewhere in between your sexual awakening and a bathtub of ice lies a whole lot of possibilities. And at the crux of the problem I suppose is being alone. Bad things seem to more easily happen to people when their alone.

If you want to roll down this road, I would strongly suggest either taking a friend or finding a friend there, or doing something to minimise the physical risk. Find someone who will call the police if a strange man drugs you and is trying to carry you away. That can happen in a few hours. Be nice, make friends. Be cared about by someone.

As far as the sex risks, them's the breaks. Ain't nothing free, after all. Personally, I think it sounds like a bad plan. Basically, it sounds like going and getting drunk, and putting yourself in a bunch of risky situations. And I say that as a man. Why not go and try to find a lover? Have a few dates (like you would at home I imagine). Yes, it's traveling, yes time is shorter, but don't be stupid, because herpes is forever, the kidney's never coming back, and you already know all these rules.
posted by nickrussell at 7:16 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't want to end up in an ugly situation, drinks spiked, lost kidneys etc

Yes, it's traveling, yes time is shorter, but don't be stupid, because herpes is forever, the kidney's never coming back, and you already know all these rules.

OP, no one is going to take your kidneys. This is an urban legend. Being cautious is important of course; be alert, keep your drink in hand at all times, and take care of yourself. But seriously, no one's going to steal your organs.
posted by Lobster Garden at 7:33 PM on May 13, 2012

no one is going to take your kidneys.

Is a metaphor. I live in Central London. In quite a busy neighbourhood. Lots of tourists stream by the window. Lots of drunk travellers of all genders. Lots of drunk women being convinced to go home by drunk men. Lots of peer pressure. It's fascinating really. Like a television set into the heart of nightlife.

And whilst kidneys may not be true, I think I have seen that magical moment, when two people decide to have a baby together. Lots of American girls, in groups of two or three, being led to taxis by English guys. Lots of Russian girls, being led to taxis by English guys. Lots of English girls, being led into taxis by Italian guys. Pretty much any configuration you can imagine. And it's not scary. These people are all adults. They all know what they are doing and will gracefully accept the consequences.

And sometimes, you see a girl completely smitten with a boy she's obviously just met. Batting her eyelashes. He's playing her like a fish on a hook whilst they wait for a cab. "I don't really do this." "Maybe we shouldn't" (but he doesn't stop looking for a cab does he) "My flat may be really messy, I'll have to warn you" and she plays along the entire time. They play along together.

And then they get into a taxi, and they go somewhere. God knows, maybe Marleybone, maybe Dulwich, maybe Essex. And she will wake up in the morning, probably with a hangover. Hopefully with a used condom nearby. Maybe to a nice breakfast. Possibly to a bit of confusion as far as transit.

It's like most things in life. 99% chance it will be fine. 1% chance it will not. However, the impact of that 1% chance is massive -- potentially life-changing or life-threatening, thus I advise that people conduct themselves accordingly.
posted by nickrussell at 7:55 PM on May 13, 2012 [12 favorites]

Always safer to go to your hotel room, assuming it's a large enough hotel that there is always someone at the front desk for you to call. Lock up all your valuables and hide your laptop just in case you fall asleep and Prince Charming-Enough is also Robin Hood. As blasedelb says, condoms don't protect 100% against herpes, but neither does a visual sweep for active lesions, so know that you're taking a slight risk there. Have condoms.

Have fun.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:49 PM on May 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

somewhere in between your sexual awakening and a bathtub of ice lies a whole lot of possibilities

Oh man, sounds like someone has been watching too much Law & Order SVU. I'm firmly on the no one's gonna steal your metaphorical kidneys side - the world is not densely populated with predators, and the risks to this kind of adventure are quite low. The easiest way to avoid awkward situations (which, really, is the most likely out of all the risks we're considering here) is to not drink too much, make sure you find a partner who isn't too drunk either, and just listen to your instincts. But it sounds like an awesome vacation - I hope you have fun!
posted by citizenface at 9:18 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's a thought: why don't you skip the bar and work on meeting someone during the day? Make eye contact, smile, and look approachable and you'll find someone cool in no time. I'd feel a lot less vulnerable at a museum, bookstore, or cafe-- not to mention the light is better.

Also, since condoms break, I always use them with vaginal contraceptive films as a backup. Hand sanitizer, mouthwash, and Secura personal cleanser before and after never hurt anything either. And speaking of overkill, buy some Plan B in the US to bring with you in the event of a worst-case scenario. Stay safe!
posted by doreur at 10:05 PM on May 13, 2012

It's not overkill, my doc was happy to offer me a scrip when I was traveling. I didn't take her up on it but sure would be a good thing to have on hand when you're planning to hook up.
posted by amanda at 10:55 PM on May 13, 2012

I would say have a good time, but be mindful of the triangle of (un)safety: darkness, alcohol, unfamiliar places. One is ok; two is manageable; three is not good. So I probably think your hotel and don't get caught up in the 'oh let's jump in a cab and go to this other place' and finding yourself on the other side of town, completely tanked. Or don't drink (too much) so that if you do end up going somewhere, you have some idea of where it is.
posted by AnnaRat at 4:06 AM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

whatever their version of 911 is

It's 112 over pretty much all of Europe nowadays, for all emergency services (police, fire, ambulance), but I've no idea about how easy it might be to get connected to an English-speaking operator.
posted by aqsakal at 6:29 AM on May 14, 2012

OP, no one is going to take your kidneys. This is an urban legend.

Not in India, it's not.
posted by goethean at 7:37 AM on May 14, 2012

For the love of god, don't bring gloves and lube to a one-night-stand. You'd make the guy worry about his own kidneys.
posted by springload at 9:39 AM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

I've never done this, but my advice would be to avoid tourist traps. Go to bars where someone like you would go if you just happened to be Dutch. You know similar age, post college, 20 something's. Avoid really upscale and really trashy places. You know make some guy's night, don't be some someone's prey. Don't get too drunk and absolutely go back to your hotel. No third party unknown places.

And above all trust your instincts. If your gut is telling you a situation isn't right, the guy is a little off in a way you can't articulate, don't talk yourself into it. Remove yourself from the situation immediately and try another night with someone else.
posted by whoaali at 8:46 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

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