Thanks to muggy weather, long days, and lots of mojitos, summer is the perfect time of year for a lusty affair. But summer flings aren’t all fun and games. I’ve had two: one amazing, one a disaster. The amazing one was with a guy who played in a band that was on tour in my hometown; he was only there for a week, so we knew it was all about doing as much as we could with no strings attached. The other was with a foreign exchange student. We hooked up for a few weeks, and then he ended up stalking me for the rest of the summer, when I had absolutely no interest in being his girlfriend (partly because he didn’t speak much English).
Still, I’ve never forgotten either of those guys. Summer flings are always memorable, which is why almost every girl is up for one at some point. But how can you tell if she’s looking for a fling or something more? Read on to find out.
Women tend to be more sexually active in the summer, but it’s not just because we actually give a crap about shaving our legs again. For a lot of girls, summertime offers the opportunity to lead a double life. “I had a boyfriend my first three years in college,” says 29-year-old Camille,* “but when we left school for the summers, it was an unspoken rule that all bets were off. I’d go home and bone my high school ex for two months, and when summer was over, so was that.”
Isabel, 27, says all her summer flings also occurred during college breaks, thanks to an accelerated sexual learning curve. “I lost my virginity as a freshman,” she says, “so when I came home I was more experienced. It was a prime opportunity to use some of my new skills with guys I’d crushed on in high school but had never had the balls to pursue.”
And even once we’re out of college, plenty of women are still fling-hungry thanks to beach- or mountain-house time shares and weekend trips that let us leave our work personas behind. “I hang out so much with colleagues that it’s tough for me to let loose,” says Karen, 31. “But each year I rent a summer house with friends from school, and each year I meet a guy the first weekend who I make mine for the summer. Knowing I’m going to spend the weekends drinking and screwing makes the workweek fly.”
Ripe for the Picking
Obviously, the best candidates for summer flings are women who’ll be going back to wherever it is they came from in September. They’re likely to understand the deal—that this arrangement is temporary. But there are other behavioral clues. For example, if she’s someone you’re going to see regularly all summer, but she still goes for sex right away, she’s probably not looking for a boyfriend.
“A few summers ago I was a counselor at a three-week tennis camp, and there was a super-hot instructor,” says 25-year-old Angela.“ After sending the kids home the first day, I suggested a skinny-dip in the pool. We fooled around underwater and then went to his clubhouse office for a hot, sweaty fuck. When we were done I said, ‘Same time tomorrow?’ and he winked, and that was it: We’d established our daily routine.”
Maggie, 27, used to sleep with a guy she worked with at her summer job waiting tables—until he tried to get cozy. “It was a big seafood-chain place, and he was a busboy. We’d all have drinks every night after closing, and he and I would end up doing it in one of our cars in the parking lot or in the restaurant bathroom.” But when her fling got sweet and asked her on a date, Maggie declined. “That’s when I knew to end it,” she says. “I’m not sure why he thought we were embarking on a relationship when we were fucking in a supply closet next to the mops.”
From Hot to Sticky
If you’re lucky enough to have a summer fling on your hands, the last thing you want to do is push her away. So remember: The point is to keep things light and breezy, just like the weather. “I once had a guy I met at the beach pursue me once we were back in the city after the summer,” says Sarah, who hits the Jersey Shore every July. “But spending lazy days on the beach with someone is completely different than meeting up for a fancy dinner in business attire. It just made the whole thing seem really routine.” In fact, she says, she barely recognized her fling with his glasses and suit on. “Suddenly there was this buttoned-up banker in front of me. I couldn’t believe it was the same guy I’d given head to at a bonfire party just a few weeks earlier.”
Keep in mind, too, that summer love you’re crushing on may not be exactly who she says she is. “I used to make up outrageous lies about myself on summer break,” says Sally, a 28-year-old teacher. “One year I decided to put on a British accent when we went out to bars, and I’d tell guys I was just visiting for a few weeks. Being anonymous made me more brazen. Faking it for a few nights a week wasn’t that hard—until I’d have a very American-sounding orgasm.” Sometimes, of course, you can’t help but develop feelings. Plenty of women have fallen prey to their emotions even when they began an affair with every intention of keeping it quick and simple. So if you sense that your fuck buddy is starting to really get into you, don’t be cruel. “After our summer shares ended, I texted this one guy,” says Vanessa, 29. “He told me he was moving to London, but I ended up seeing him a month later at a party. When I asked if he was in town for the weekend, he confessed that he’d never moved; he was just too much of a wuss to tell me he didn’t want anything.”
Truthfully, though, can you blame the guy? No matter how sexy or cool they are, there’s something almost embarrassing about seeing summer flings out of context, when they’re sporting their real-world selves. Chances are that CPA in her power suit doesn’t really want to be reminded that she liked to throw back shots of tequila and go down on you on your boat. So when it comes to wild warm-weather hookups, perhaps it’s best to stick to the rules laid out in Grease: When it turns colder, that’s where it ends.