Rules of Engagement

Margo Scott

By Margo ScottPLAY Columnist

For every social interaction there are generally accepted rules of engagement that socialization has ingrained in all of us. This includes flirting. You see someone attractive across the room, you coyly smile at them and look away quickly. When you catch their eye again, you “eye fuck” them and hope for a positive response. You find your way over to them and strike up what you hope isn’t a totally lame conversation. If they seem interested, you begin to close the deal with the usual “Wow it’s getting late, I’m not really that tired, would you want to come over and maybe watch a movie?” type conversation and hope for an affirmative response. Now, at this point, there is an understanding that something sexual is going to happen, probably a “One Night Stand.” Most of us have had one – or more than one, let’s be honest – before, and many of us have a lot of thoughts and feelings about the matter. In fact, because of what I do, I’ve heard many a harrowing tale.

Part of the above formulated social interaction is expectations, but perhaps a clearer cut understanding is necessary for One Night Stands. Now, expectations and anticipation can be hot and great foreplay, but it also can lead to people making bad choices and doing things they don’t really want to because they think they have to, or should. This is rule number one for all One Night Stands, for all sexual activity in general: Don’t do anything you don’t want to, aren’t comfortable with, or will regret later. Period. The second rule is to respect others’ decisions in that area. Always.

If you have decided to continue along the One Night Stand Trajectory, there are some other suggestions, or rules, that I’ve collected and condensed for your reading pleasure. Third rule: if you’re going to someone else’s place, make sure you know where you are and how to get home. This is not only for safety reasons, but also helps to cut back on the “walk of shame” time. If someone is coming to your home, make s/he feel as comfortable as possible. Tell them about the neighborhood and layout of your place (bathrooms, kitchens, etc.). A tour is a nice way to show the person the lay of the land, and then an easy transition to the bedroom. Fourth rule: Try to have both people set the pace. This is kind of tricky, but important, as it can be overwhelming to have someone pounce on you out of the blue. Fifth rule: After you’ve done whatever sexy things you are going to do that night, try to gently figure out the sleeping arrangements. People don’t always want to spend the night, and people don’t always want you to spend the night. Be kind with this discussion, it can be touchy. Remember, this almost always has more to do with their comfort level, so don’t take offense. If both of you decide to sleep (and I actually mean sleep this time) together, make sure your guest is comfy with blankets, water, etc. If your guest decides to leave, walk them to the door. Your mother would be proud of your manners, and it’s easier to have the awkward “I’ll call you” conversations as close to an exit as possible.

So, there you have it kids. It seems obvious enough, but I can’t tell you how many times people fuck it up. So go, have fun, be safe, and for Pete’s sake, follow the rules!

SESP Senior Margo Scott is a PLAY sex columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]