5 Steps to Surviving an Office Holiday Party Hookup

5 Steps to Surviving Office holiday Party HookupHoliday season means Holiday Party season! And for a lot of us, it means OFFICE Holiday Parties, where co-workers take advantage of the open bar and/or make questionable decisions. You’re probably thinking, that’s just a rumor, right? That the IT guy hooked up with the HR gal?

Nope. It’s real! Lingerie company Ann Summers polled 2000 Brits and found that a whopping 39% admitted to having sex AT the company holiday party! And that’s NOT counting folks who took the party elsewhere. We’re a little skeptical of those numbers–the reader poll conducted by The Mirror suggests it’s more like 20%–but clearly a non-negligible number of people are using their company holiday parties as a sexual marketplace. 

There’s no need to discount these festive encounters as just hookups, either. In the US, 25% of folks surveyed said that an office romance began as a result of a holiday party. Another survey suggests that 1 in 7 British women began an LTR with a colleague at the office party. Colleague sex happens. We’re just not sure if it really happens on the boss’ desk as much as people suggest.

And, as long as they are consensual and legal, we’re all pro office hookups! But we know it’s a challenge to navigate the transition from co-workers to hookup buddies. The potential for awkwardness abounds. So, the way you and your colleague act after the hookup will set the tone how easily you can maintain a good working relationship. How you get into the hookup is all on you…we’ll just help you manage the aftermath.

Casual Sex Project Presents: 5 Sex-Positive Steps to Navigating a Holiday Party Hookup!



Step 1: Don’t lie, don’t leave. Accept that it happened. Be cool. Sneaking out after a sleepover, leaving right after sex with a quick “see you at the office,” or just being overly nonchalant sends a message that the sex and the other person were meaningless. Ouch. Even if you regret the hookup and would rather forget it, pretending something didn’t happen never works. Silence leads to DRAMA. Then…

Step 2: Thank your partner for the experience. He or she had sex with you! Awesome! Cut the tension by making a joke about the experience being best Secret Santa Gift ever. Laugh about it, even if you have mixed feelings, because your partner may be anxious about the situation.  After the thank you…

Step 3: Feelings! Talk about them. Don’t assume anything. Think about the ideal outcome of the hookup and what you want. Listen to what your partner wants. Is the hookup the beginning of a potential relationship? Do you want to keep sex-ing this person but don’t want a relationship? Are there other concerns like other partners, office hierarchies, or other factors to consider? Are you worried about pregnancy or STIs? Are you worried about anything else? Get it on the table and talk about it. Be as honest as you can. If you know you’re inclined to get attached to sexual partners, don’t pretend you’re not. This conversation is pivotal and probably the hardest part of the post-hookup process. Be honest about what you want and negotiate with your partner to figure out what’s next. You can’t make someone want to date you but you shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask for what you want. Consider possibilities. Accept “no” for an answer.

Step 4: Decide how to handle your relationship at work. There may not be a reason to change anything. (HR managers really don’t want to hear about your hookup as much as you don’t want to tell them about it!) If it was just a hookup, you can probably just move on and agree that nothing changes at work.  But, if you’d like to date each other it may be a bigger deal. Some companies have policies about romantic partners managing one another. Figure out the right thing to do. The right thing might be an uncomfortable hassle. But you shouldn’t have to look for another job just to keep dating.

Step 5: Self-care. Do what you need to do to feel good about the encounter. Maybe that’s an STI test, the morning-after pill, an evening alone, a conversation with a friend about it. Be cool. Be kind. Be respectful. Do NOT stalk the other person’s Facebook page or try to make the hookup into something it’s not (refer to Step 3!). Do NOT brag about the sex to other coworkers or speak disparagingly about your partner. He/she is not a slut for hooking up with you. He/she is awesome for that.

Step 6 (optional): Give us, the Casual Sex Project, all the juicy details!

Happy holidays, CSP!


Thanks to Marley Magaziner & Kenneth Play for their contributions to this article.