The hookup pact: How students are staying safe and having sex during COVID

Photo Credit: Deon Black


In July 2020, the Chicago Tribune reported that more than half of people they surveyed had broken quarantine to have a sexual encounter. With cities pulling back on restrictions and February being the month of love, that number can go nowhere but up.But, let’s be real: thinking of contracting a deadly respiratory disease during sex isn’t exactly a turn on. So, students across the country – and here at the University of Miami – have turned to hookup pacts.

To put it simply, a hookup pact is when two people decide to fracture the rules of social distancing for physical pleasure – but only for one another. And while this may sound similar to monogamy, most of these agreements are strictly sexual in nature. Emotions are left at the door, and, in that moment, the only thing that matters is getting off while not getting COVID.

One UM student who requested anonymity opened up to The Miami Hurricane about her experiences with this pandemic-friendly form of friends with benefits.

“I have several friends and family members living in the area who are immunocompromised,” she said. “There was nothing that would hurt me more than if I knew I was responsible for getting one of them sick.”

Last semester, the student met her hookup partner on the popular dating app Hinge. They exchanged messages and phone calls for about three weeks before meeting up for the first time.

“I was incredibly nervous,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how well I could get to know him, or more importantly, trust him over texts and FaceTime. After three weeks, I felt as if we had established some ground rules for one another, and I knew that he also had loved ones who he didn’t want to pass the virus to.”

She said she continues to see her quarantine lover weekly, but other students have not been so lucky.

Another UM student who requested anonymity, spent weeks scrolling through Tinder and Grindr before finding someone he thought he could trust.

“I was horny; that’s it,” he said without hesitation. “I couldn’t help it, and it was driving me insane. I can’t lie and say that I felt completely secure seeking out someone I didn’t know for sex, but at the time, it felt right.”

After only a week of texting and establishing guidelines, he decided it was time to invite him over.

“It worked well for most of last year,” he said.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last.

“Near the end of the semester when COVID cases were on the rise, I caught him posting pictures at the bar on South Beach, completely maskless among a sea of shirtless men. Thankfully, I never got COVID, but I felt betrayed by him for putting me at risk.”

The student said there is an inescapable risk of contracting COVID-19 when looking for sex outside the home.

“It’s important to remain as safe as possible while maintaining your sanity,” he stressed. “COVID fatigue is certainly a real thing, but that isn’t an excuse to abandon all guidelines. But…if there’s one thing a pandemic can’t stop, it’s sex.”

For advice on maintaining sexual health during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.

Featured image by Deon Black. Visit the full gallery here.