’Tis the season to be horny… but please be sure to avoid awkward holiday-related moments in your “relationships.” Here are some tips for the most common situations; this simple guide can help you figure out how to navigate the holidays without making the wrong choices and, well, playing yourself.


‪This is someone with whom you have a strictly sexual relationship. You don’t have any real romantic ties with your F-buddy. You probably don’t even speak on the phone much. You just text “cum over Friday at 10,” and it’s understood what’s going down.

‪1. Don’t exchange gifts, as they convey care and appreciation beyond your connection. To keep things strictly on the sexual level, don’t inject the intimacy of gift-giving. An e-card works, assuming you have your buddy’s email address.

‪2. Don’t make plans to meet any friends or family. Honestly, how would you introduce this person to your nosy auntie? “This is the person who makes my toes curl every other week”? You don’t want your moms asking your jump-off when she’s getting great-grandbabies, either.

‪3. It’s fine to make plans to have sex during the holiday season, just never on the actual holiday or the holiday eve. Again, you don’t want to remotely suggest that the person is more than a means to achieve that clutch orgasm, and holidays weigh heavy on the romantic scale for most.

Friends With Benefits

‪This is your good friend with whom you share physical intimacy. You spend most of your time talking about work, school, sports, etc. You support each other, trust each other, and are sometimes there when you need each other in crises. You also happen to know what each other look like naked (and tastes like after the sun goes down). Hey, it happens. You’re just not interested in having a romantic relationship because maybe something isn’t quite clicking for either of you or the timing isn’t right. You’re simply two mature adults who’ve found a way to enhance your friendship by exploring physical intimacy with amazing sex.

‪1. Gifts can be exchanged, but nothing that costs a lot of money. Keep it at $25 or less and accompany it with a holiday card celebrating friendship and sending well-wishes. Because you’re friends, this isn’t out of the ordinary. Stay away from the more intimate, romantic items like lingerie, perfumes/colognes and spa packages, or any big-ticket items like TVs or iPads.

‪2. There’s a good chance you’ve already met each other’s friends and family members, so going to each other’s homes for a holiday meal isn’t a far-fetched idea. The key is to wait for an invitation rather than assuming you’re welcomed. Because of the possibility of the person dating someone else, it might get awkward, and you don’t want to contribute to or experience any weirdness involving your friend and his/her romantic interest. If you’re invited, it’s important to not read into it as being more than a “Hey, come hang with my peeps” invitation unless your friend indicates that maybe it is more. In that case, you need to have a conversation about what it means and if it works for both of you. FWB often progress into something more and the holiday season can be a catalyst. Go with what works best for you and keep communication open to avoid hurt feelings and loss of friendship.

‪3. Sex during this time can be awesome, especially if you’re both single. Hey, it’s cold out there! And who doesn’t love a warm body filling the bed? Just be mindful that the holidays often generate feelings of intimacy and longing that might be a bit beyond your type of relationship. Check yourself and check in with your friend, keeping a finger on the pulse of your connection before getting down and dirty under the covers.

New Boo

‪This is someone you’ve started dating within the past three to six months. Your romantic intentions are clear, you’ve spent a good amount of time together, and probably have already had sex. Maybe you haven’t officially agreed to stop dating other people just yet, but it is clear that you primarily focus on each other.

‪1. Gift giving is great and should convey more romantic sentiments. The spark of “newness” calls for sexiness and excitement. Don’t go buy a car or book a holiday cruise. Focus instead on getting something more intimately meaningful. It’s your first holiday season together, so why not celebrate the spirit of the season with memorable tokens?

‪2. Your families have big gatherings at various points during the holiday season; the question inevitably becomes, “Do we meet the parents?” The answer depends on how things have progressed since you began dating. I can’t stress how key communication is in this situation. Ask, don’t assume. Don’t feel rejected if s/he isn’t as comfortable meeting family as you are. It isn’t necessarily an indication of feelings for you or about the relationship. If you’re not invited and hoped to be, let your partner know how not being invited made you feel and hear out whatever explanation is given as to why you weren’t. If it doesn’t sit well with you, you might consider making changes somewhere.

‪3. You better be having sex during the holiday season! This is the best time of year to cuddle up and get nasty under the covers. If it’s a long-distance situation, make that trip! There will be no confusion because your intentions have been clear from day one. If you’ve not yet had sex, the holiday season can be the perfect time to give the sensual gift of tantalizing sexual pleasure.

Feminista Jones is a sex-positive Black feminist, social worker and blogger from New York City. She writes about gender, race, politics, mental health and sexuality at FeministaJones.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FeministaJones.