Whether meeting people in real life or online, hooking up is always risky. But if you’re doing it for the right reasons, it can be fun and rewarding.

The Risks of a Sexy Hookup
The Risks of a Sexy Hookup

In one study, women who participated in a casual-sex experiment answered open-response questions about the benefits they received from their most recent hookup.

1. Keep it low-key

Whether you call it casual sex, friends with benefits, hooking up or whatever, the most important thing is that both parties give clear consent. The only exception is in the case of rape, which is never okay and has far more serious implications for both parties.

If you’re looking to turn your casual hookup into something more, that’s totally fine, just be sure you’re both on the same page. Be open about what you’re looking for and how you’re planning to handle things, sex educator Jules Purnell says. Don’t set routines like daily phone calls and meetups, as these can signal a greater commitment than you intended. Instead, space out your time to keep it low-key and leave room for spontaneity. Also, always use protection, even in casual situations.

2. Don’t talk about hooking up

In hookup culture, people can mean a lot of different things when they say “hooking up.” It could be anything from kissing to heavy petting to full-on sexual intercourse. It’s a very ambiguous term and it’s important to clarify what you want before you start dating.

If your potential hookup is only interested in hooking up, you’ll know it by how they treat you. They will not be interested in talking about your childhood, your fears or dreams. They will be more focused on sex and physical intimacy.

Also, if they are always busy with other stuff, it’s likely that they only want a casual relationship. Don’t make your life revolve around them. It’s not worth it. If they are only in it for the hookup, let them know that and move on.

3. Make him work for it

In our current culture, hookups can look a lot like dates. Two people will match on a dating app, meet up at a bar and chat about their interests. If they both resemble their photos and don’t mention future children or vacations to Nantucket, they may go home together.

A good way to avoid this is to be clear about what you’re looking for from the start. “It’s important to be up front about what you want in a hookup, because the wrong person might get their hopes up if they don’t,” says sex educator Georgie Wolf.

4. Don’t forget about the neck

The age at which young adults first begin to marry and have children has been pushed back. This has led to an increase in a sexually adventurous, non-committed relationship, referred to as a hookup.

Depending on who you talk to, a hookup may mean anything from petting someone’s neck to going down for the fuck. It’s important to ask for what you want and to be clear about what you expect.

It’s also important to avoid drinking too much – drunk sex isn’t fun for anyone. Finally, remember to use sexy phrases that will turn your hookup on and get her horny. It’s a great way to make your hookup more memorable. Just be sure to keep things safe and discreet. If you don’t, she’ll find out quickly.

5. Make him feel you up accidentally

A lot of people confuse hooking up with sex. It’s a fuzzily defined term that can mean anything from making out to full-on sexual intercourse. Typically, it’s a one-time thing that happens at a party or bar with someone you don’t know very well.

It’s important to be clear about what you want, says sex educator Jules Purnell. “If you’re not on the same page, it might be time to go no further,” she says. Warning signs include ignored text messages, a lightened ring line on his finger and photos flipped upside down.

These tips will help you have a sexy hookup that’s more enjoyable for both of you—not to mention healthier and safer! Plus, you’ll have a better chance of finding out whether or not you really like this guy.