Have a hot girl summer

Sex on Tuesday

Photo of Khristina Holterman

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I’ve come a long way since the start of this year, from temporarily sexless to, well, not. Now, the summer is whispering hopes of post-quarantine cuddles and uninhibited sex. It seems that another “hot girl summer” is in the works. 

We owe the origins of the term “hot girl summer” to the inspiring Megan Thee Stallion, but beyond her song, the “hot girl summer” trend has taken on a life of its own. 

It seems to be a natural trend at this time of year, as spring flings die down and summer singleness goes into full effect. 

But the definition of a “hot girl summer” varies from hot girl to hot girl. For me, it feels the same as the term “hoe phase” — a simple phrase to categorize being reckless and hooking up with a lot of people. When I asked my friends, “What does ‘hot girl summer’ mean?” they had different responses.

“Hot girl summer means you’re getting boned,” my friend who is very much in a relationship said. And my other friend, who is not, replied that “it’s the equivalent of guys fucking around, but for girls.”

It became clear that the term can be translated however you please. If you equate it to having a lot of sex, then sure, you can have a “hot girl summer” even while in a relationship. But my second friend’s definition got me thinking. 

I don’t think that hookup culture and double standards when it comes to sex are news to anyone. And I’m aware that “hot girl summer” is an attempt to reclaim sexuality and confidence, or the freedom to be unapologetically hot and badass. I’m all for that. If it wasn’t for the whole “hot girl summer” hype, I would have nothing to write about.

But being confident, feeling sexy, going crazy, and embracing femininity and sexuality should not be confined to summer and summer alone. I’m here to remind you that being sexual year-round is perfectly acceptable. In fact, you don’t need to call it a “hot girl summer” to feel good about your sex life. 

Why is it that when a woman wants to have free, casual sex there has to be a term for it? From “hoe phase” to “hot girl summer,” the attempts to justify our sexual encounters are never-ending. Even the words “hoe,” “whore” and “slut” are predominantly targeted toward women. 

What do we call a man who has a lot of sexual partners? What do we call it when he decides to have a fun summer (or any season for that matter) “fucking around?” We call him a man. So, in trying to empower women through phrases such as “hot girl summer,” I can’t help but feel it’s our attempt as women to seek the validation we’ve never received from society to express ourselves sexually. 

And when I say society, I mean men and women. Sexist and degrading language to describe women’s sex lives goes both ways. I’ve observed fellow women judging each other or telling guys about another girl’s sex life in an effort to appear “holier than thou” far too many times.

I won’t pretend like I haven’t contributed to it myself, but in recognizing why I would judge another woman for her sex life, I’ve reflected on my own internalized misogyny. 

But who are we trying to impress?

If you don’t have sex you’re a prude and if you do you’re a slut. You can’t win. And as someone who has often been placed in the latter category, I take it with pride. People’s opinions are completely subjective. Am I really a slut? Or am I just a sexual being who doesn’t feel a need to hide it? I have a lower “body count” than most guys I’ve known — where’s their label? 

The double standard in hookup culture is nothing new. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself in being subjected to it, it’s that I don’t actually need a “hoe phase” or a “hot girl summer” to fulfill my desires. 

No label or catchy phrase can sum up my sexual experiences. I’m a living, breathing, sex-having human being, just as Chad or Brad is, and I can find empowerment in that basic fact. 

Somehow promiscuity year-round is not as celebrated. Where’s “Wildin’ Winter” or “Fornicating Fall” (I apologize for that one) or even “Sexy Spring?” There’s no Megan song for them but, still, I wish they were as recognized as “hot girl summer” — which, by the way, doesn’t have a fun alliteration. 

So before I get too excited — making plans, eagerly chatting on Hinge (yes, I ditched Bumble), lining up my hometown hookups for the summer — let’s remember that you can have a “hot girl summer” all times of the year, in every moment of your life. Our sexual nature as women shouldn’t be reduced to a label, even if the patriarchy begs to differ.

Khristina Holterman writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact her at [email protected]