When I was a high school student, an inexperienced one at that, one sexual analogy confused me more than all the rest: the use of bases on a baseball field to describe sexual acts. The first issue led from my lack of sports’ knowledge, mostly that I could never remember if homebase came before or after first or if there was such a thing as fourth base. After one too many times looking up the order of the plates (including as I wrote this article), I can now almost completely guarantee it goes first, second, third and then home. But the true focus of this article is my second issue with this analogy: the lack of consensus on which acts constitute which bases.
I’ve heard all variations of what the order of acts is. The most popular in middle school seemed to be french kissing, over-the-clothes touching, under-the-clothes touching and then sex. In high school people seemed to feel that the steps were too small so it changed to kissing, oral sex, anal sex and then penetrative sex. Now as a college student both these systems seem wrong. The first completely ignores a lot of activity, and in the second people in the LGBTQ community might never be able to get off second. So I’ve taken it upon myself to definitively define the college sex bases in a way that is inclusionary and accurate to (at least my) college experience.
First Base: Drunk Hook Up
Hook up is the only term I can use to describe the incredibly wide range of sexual activity college students partake in on a night out. Hook up can be whatever you want in this instance: a dance-floor make out, a quickie in the fraternity bathroom, or even a blow job in the bushes. When it comes to first base, whatever you’re doing sexually, you’re doing it at least a little bit tipsy, because that’s the best way to convince yourself to have sex with someone when you have no intimate connection to them.
Second Base: Sober Hook Up
Taking away the alcohol, and perhaps even the darkness of night, is the first true hurdle in many a college fuck buddy partnership. I didn’t even make it to second base until after freshman year. When you take away the alcohol, that’s when you know you’re consciously making the decision to get with this person. So you have to like them enough to stand by this choice. I had a friend drunkenly hook up with a boy I used to hook up with, and it didn’t bother me. But then she did it soberly, and I was annoyed. At Cornell, where there is both a large drinking and hook-up culture, the distinction between first and second base is quite clear.
Third Base: Extended Texting
Once you have made the conscious decision to have a sober hook up with someone, it can be a slippery slope into third base. Extended texting means texting for a longer period of time, anything more than 30 minutes, about anything other than when the two of you will next meet to hook up. While talking about your classes might seem like low-hanging fruit, it’s a great opportunity to finally learn their major.
Home Run: Public Interaction
Public interaction means not avoiding eye contact or conversation in whatever dining hall, library or dorm where you’ve run into them. It goes without saying that this interaction must be sober, preferably witnessed by mutual friends and occuring the during the daylight hours. I hooked up with a boy for two years and never made it to this step. This final base can be difficult to reach for a number of reasons. Maybe you’re in the same friend group, and you don’t want the circle to know. Or maybe they’re older and more established, and you don’t have the confidence to say hello. If you’ve gotten to public interaction then you’ve made it much further than most.
According to the rules of baseball I looked up for this article, you can only run in one direction. Luckily, in college you don’t have to listen to the rules of baseball. Feel free to skip bases, run backwards or choose not to play entirely.
The Uptight Tart is a student at Cornell University. Slutty Endeavors runs monthly.