Note: Huffington Post Gay Voices is a media sponsor for Pace University and ProofPilot's study, "How We Date, Have Sex, and Form Relationships Today." This report comes from a research study led by assistant professor of Psychology at Pace University, Dr. Tyrel Starks. It is written about here by his research assistant, Pace Psychology Masters student Julia Bassiri.
Thank you, readers of The Huffington Post for participating in our study with ProofPilot called "How We Date, Have Sex, and Form Relationships Today." Our main goal of researching this topic is to dispel some of the myths and stereotypes between the dating habits of the LGBTQ community and heterosexuals. The report below comes from data collected from the fifth week of our six-week study, and is entitled “Navigating The Hook-Up.”
It’s Thursday night and you’ve agreed to meet-up up with your OKCupid courter for the first time. The terms are set and mutually understood -- you’ve agreed to meet Duane, overlooking his goofy name in the hopes of peering into his gooey blue eyes, for casual sex. He offers to come over to your place, saving you the trip to his less than tidy (perhaps inexcusably so) broom closet in Brooklyn. You go to send that confirmation text and pause:
Do I want this guy coming by my place -- or at my place? Am I comfortable with “OKC Duane,” (as he’s so appropriately saved in your phone) stopping by -- ahem, more than stopping by -- my pad?
Depending on your gender, Duane may or may not receive that confirmation text. Coordinating those first meet-ups may require some tricky negotiation and, actually, so may each one thereafter. According to our research, men and women -- most of whom are interested in men -- differ on where they like to meet their misters (and occasional misses). Some like it private, some prefer public. Most men fall into the former category. They’d much prefer a private residence -- his own or his or hers or theirs -- to a watering hole.
Now, while both the men and the women of our study reportedly enjoy the pursuit of casual sex, other studies’ findings indicate that men are usually more positive about (and on!) the prowl. Women are said to frown upon the frivolity of a no strings attached arrangement -- but that doesn’t mean they don’t engage. And when two partners do engage, or connect on an emotional level that (one might say) calls their casual status into question, the concern about the nature of or label on the relationship seems to fall by the wayside for both parties. That is, women no longer seem to be uncomfortable about committing to a casual relationship if there’s some degree of emotional reciprocation involved. That scenario, however, sounds deadly.
But so let’s say our two online acquaintances agree to meet at one such watering hole where no one in either of their immediate respective spheres is likely to frequent. Might Duane be disappointed, conceiving of the bar as a literal, physical barrier to hurdle over as opposed to what’s usually an entrée into a good time? Being that we couldn’t probe our online respondents for deeper sentiments, we can only speculate on why these preferences exist, but let’s go ahead.
What are the implications of meeting at a home as opposed to meeting out? Does one route result in the quicker means -- end achievement of sex goals? And what are the potential dangers for a host(ess) who asks a man on upstairs -- or for the guest, who accepts? Without overlooking all that accompanies the safety concerns of offline meet-ups (and yet somewhat overlooking them), I’d dare to argue that at-home boozy couch time is a much surer path to the fulfillment of all “OKC Duane’s” erotic and otherwise fantasies. For at least there, if he’s denied the sexual experience that he seeks, he’s likely to have been fed for free and thus, in some sense, satisfied.
Let us continue to assume that what goes on behind closed doors may happen in a much more rapid, raunchy, unrestrained manner. It unfolds organically, erupts volcanically and then -- well there you have it. It ends. It makes sense then, as our research shows, that repeat or regular casual sex partners would both prefer to meet at private residences -- again, his or hers or theirs. Public spaces and other peoples’ homes were rated as the “least favorite,” or the absolute least appealing places to meet your (or, one of your) boo(s).
And so it seems that no matter what your or your regular partner’s gender may be, you both understand the conditions fully. You commit to the script, carve out a window for the excitement, and let it happen in the domain where it’ll presumably happen best. Smart, sensible planning people -- bravo.
As for those involved in the less regular, sexoccasions as we’ll call them, you folks might have more compromising to do. If there’s a middle ground between public and private -- find it.
Hill, C.A. (2002). Gender, relationship stage, and sexual behavior: The importance of partner emotional investment within specific situations. The Journal of Sex Research, 39(3), 228-240.