The Art of Not Being a Hookup
Imagine this scenario: You’ve been on a few dates with a dude and it’s all going well, it all feels very promising, and you are filled with hopeful anticipation. You share what you think is a pretty magical night together — the chemistry is palpable and you are definitely vibing, and when you part ways in the morning you have no doubt it’s true when he says he’ll call you later. But later comes and you don’t hear from him. Days and eventually weeks pass, and he’s avoiding your texts and hasn’t been in touch. You are blown away by your egregious misperception of the situation. What the hell happened?
Or, maybe you’ve been in a situation where you really dig a guy but the only contact you have with him is when he texts at 2 AM with a “You up?”
Or, perhaps you find the guy you’re dating never actually calls you to go out on proper dates but will happily “Netflix and chill” and then leave. Like he has no interest in getting to know the “real you” (which, of course, is fabulous!).
What is going on in each of these scenarios?
You have been relegated to a hookup, that’s what.
What gives? Why do men keep calling you for all the wrong reasons? Why do men hook up with you and little else?
First things first: you can’t change the way someone sees you, because it’s not in your control, simply put. And if you could control other’s perceptions of you it would be an exhausting pursuit. So, what can you control?
If you answered, “myself,” then congrats–you are absolutely right! You can control not only your actions, but also your perception of yourself.
Here’s where it gets tricky. It’s easy to chalk up this hookup phenomenon to “guys being guys” — sexually driven and wanting nothing more than to sample from a smorgasbord of women, but I invite you to ask yourself one question:
Do you view your worth as limited to the bedroom? Do you see yourself as a hookup?
Let’s be honest: women in our culture are over-sexualized and are told from a very young age that their looks, beauty, and inherent sex appeal are their most valuable commodities. It’s not much of a leap to think, then, that if that’s all you focus on, then at some point your vision of these qualities becomes myopic, and it feels like all you have to offer.
Just look at social media and how “thirst traps” are rewarded. How many likes can you get when you stick your butt out just so? It’s no secret our society rewards the blatantly sexy.
But here’s the truth: if you see your value through a sexual lens, men will too.
I’m not trying to victim blame, here. But I invite you to do some soul-searching and look for places where you might be valuing yourself as merely a hookup.
Some men will still see you this way because that’s just the way they are. You probably know some men like this and (hopefully) know how to avoid them.
But if several men view you like this, or you notice a repeating pattern, chances are you're participating in the dynamic to some degree.
How are you enabling the man’s behavior? How are you allowing it to continue? How are you consenting and agreeing that, yes, your value is between the sheets?
Sexualizing Emotional Needs
Another aspect of this worth mentioning is the sexualizing of emotional needs.
You may have a need to be liked, for instance, and feel compelled to sleep with a man so as not to hurt his feelings or offend him. You might have a need for approval or love and use sex as a way to meet this need.
If this feels true to you, then consider some other ways to get those needs met. If there's a connection you’re wanting, if there is a vulnerability you’re hoping to share, if there is an experience you’re after, what are some ways to explore these outside of a sexual context?
What is it that you can reveal about yourself? What are some conversation topics that you can initiate? How can you create emotional intimacy?
To put this into practice, decide on the number of dates you’ll go on with a man before you become sexual with him. Pick whatever number is relevant for you – it could be five dates, or ten, or more.
This boundary clears the hookup confusion – if you’re going to see a guy five or ten times before even having sex with him, then you can’t be viewed as a hookup, because you’re simply not hooking up.
You may also try turning down the volume on some of your more internal “sexual” questions, things like, “Does he find me attractive?” or “Does he want to sleep with me?” And instead turn the volume up on questions like, “I wonder what new and creative ways we can connect?” or “I wonder what really makes this person tick?”
Because, the thing is, if a man is only valuing you sexually, having sex with him won’t change that dynamic. Instead, it’ll only reinforce it.
The Bottom Line
The key is, then, to value your real self, your authenticity, the essence of who you are. When you can do this, something magical happens: you’re no longer interested in taking part in the game.
Your power returns to you: You recognize that all parts of you have value.
And, when you run into men who want little more than a hookup, you can spot them from a mile away. And then you’re in a place of choice: take it or leave it!
When you start to value your whole self, you might also find that you start to reveal yourself more deeply to others. You’re more vulnerable on first dates, you’re more open, you’re more willing to give of yourself and put yourself out there.
That kind of willingness helps flip the dating script in your favor by attracting men who are actually worth pursuing.
So, the next time you feel as if you’re being viewed as a hookup, stop and ask yourself: “What is my value in a relationship? How do I see myself in relation to men?” If you just came up with an answer off the top of your head, dig a little deeper.
Somewhere you know what it is that you can provide that goes way beyond your sexuality, something that is irreplaceable and unique. Keep in mind: The more you value something in yourself, the easier it is for others to value it too.
If you’d like more information on this, join us for our webinar on Three Keys to Attract and Keep a High-Quality Man. Just click this link to register.