Caitlyn Harkins is an English sophomore and Mustang Daily copy editor and sex columnist.

Nostalgia time. Remember way back in high school, telling your friends that you and that person you’ve been into forever finally hooked up?

Never mind the vagueness of the phrase “hooked up,” your friends wanted to know the dirty details. As they eagerly leaned forward to hear about your rendezvous, they asked, “Did you get to second base?”

I remember the first time I was asked about bases, mostly for the confusion it invoked. I remember thinking, “What the hell does baseball have to do with making out?”

I quickly caught on to the idea though, and spent many late nights with friends debating over which aspects of foreplay belong to third base and which aren’t even on the same field. So, dear readers, I have for you my definitive guide to the hookup bases.

Lining up to bat
Get your bats ready, ladies and gentlemen. You’re warming up for the play.
You two are definitely sitting too close to be just friends. There’s a palpable tension in the air, and it’s not from the horror movie you thought apt to watch. Your fingers are winding together; maybe an arm is thrown over the other’s shoulders. So far, everything is PG. A light kiss — mouth closed — definitely qualifies.
You make a move to heat up the kissing, essentially letting the bat make contact with the ball. And with that, you’re on your way to first base.

First base

If you weren’t completely facing each other before, you are now. Hands are probably resting awkwardly on each others’ arms or around each others’ backs because the moment is too fresh for anything more risqué.

The kissing is getting more intense. If someone walked in on you two right now, you would be slightly embarrassed but not mortified. Your mouths are open, and your tongues venture forth into new territory.

Second base
Hands are wandering at this point. Moving forth on the bold front under the shirt, groping generally escalates to the point of removing excess layers of clothing. If you’ve still got your sweatshirt on at this point, it’s probably time to take it off.
Hands are on bare skin, but most likely still above the bra. While pants are unbuttoned, shoes are still on — it’s not that serious enough to get down to your business socks yet.

You’re both still kissing, but second base is a happy home for roaming hands and exploring. Once the bra comes off, you’re starting to creep toward third base. But really, third base exists in the pants.

Short stop
Right between second and third base is the moment when you slip your hand into their pants.

Third base
You’ve been patient, going as slowly or as quickly as both of you are comfortable. But finally, sweet mercy has been bestowed upon you both and pants have been cast aside.
Third base is where things start to get serious. Fingering and other manual stimulation are the name of the game. Depending on the seriousness of you and your partner, oral can be relegated to third base as well. Personally, I find oral to sometimes be more intimate than sex — it wouldn’t be unfair to say that cunninglingus or fellatio can be considered home runs (especially when they’re so damn good).

Home Run
After a tour of the bases, you’ve made it to sex. Sex in all its glorious forms can include vaginal penetration, anal, oral, 69-ing, sex toys and many more.

Using the bases as a euphemism is handy if you have curious friends, but don’t want to give a full play-by-play of your endeavors. It gives the general impression of how far you went, but not the nitty-gritty details.

However, the bases do have the drawback of not including all types of sex-play. It’s hard to categorize sex acts that are kinkier or BDSM, or things like rim jobs.

If you really want to avoid awkwardness, just shoot your friends a wink and let them know it was out of the ballpark.

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