Five years ago, the cast of Saturday Night Live dropped a music video that cracked us up and made us cringe. “(Do It On My) Twin Bed” is a girl-group bop outlining home-for-the-holidays sex in all its awkward glory: from trying to not make the bed springs creak as you and your partner tussle in monkey print sheets, to sneaking in a little alone time under the watchful eyes of an ancient cat with gastrointestinal issues.
Sure, married or long-term couples are often afforded the privacy of rooms with doors that lock and double beds. But more often than not, grown adults have to get creative when darkening the doorsteps of relatives who may or may not understand that we now have…needs. After drawing on my own experiences and conducting extremely scientific research, I’ve come to the conclusion that holiday hookups fall in one of two categories. (Note: All names have been changed in case anyone’s parents are reading this. Except mine. Sorry, Mom.)
The Nostalgia Bang
The name for this category is courtesy of my clever pal Jen, who made the following pronouncement: “the only place to have sex while visiting your family is wherever you sneaked away to have sex when you were 16.”
“And if that’s on your parents’ bed while they were out at dinner with the neighbors,” she adds, “then so be it. You earned this nostalgia bang.”
In 2017, BUST published my short story “Thankful,” about a new couple who sneaks away for some after-Thanksgiving booty by parking at the playground where he used to take girls in high school. While removing the narrator’s panties, my hero sheepishly admits, “I took off a lot of Hanes Her Way in this car.”
For Nicole, the prime place for holiday shenanigans in her single days was “the beach across the street from my high school, where the cool kids hooked up…something I had obviously never done in high school, not being a cool kid.” She did, however, make out with her one and only high school boyfriend one year, “in a closet, for old times’ sake.”
Kim had to get creative in her childhood digs. “My last holiday romp was on the floor of my mom’s home office,” she says. “My bedroom shares a wall with her bedroom [and] me and my girlfriend at the time didn’t want to be heard…so, floor of the study it was!”
We realized that we were both staying in our respective childhood homes, and it was a bit late and out of the way to spring for a hotel room.
Alexander’s not-safe-for-Hallmark fling required the kind of teenage subterfuge that’s been happening since boy first met girl. While visiting his hometown one December, he met up with the woman who’d been voted “most bashful” in high school. (Alexander was dubbed class clown.) “Conversation went from polite to friendly, from friendly to flirtation, then got overtly sexual,” he says. “We realized that we were both staying in our respective childhood homes, and it was a bit late and out of the way to spring for a hotel room.”
Though the pair eventually got down at Alexander’s house “because it was bigger,” they soon had to deal with the challenge of his mother, a “light sleeper.” “In true high school fashion, and despite both of us being in our thirties,” he says, “I snuck a woman into the house, and we had to keep quiet to not wake up my parents.”
Weird? Maybe, but also relatable. “At first, I was embarrassed about the environment of that hookup,” he tells me. “But since then, it seems fitting that a potential sexual encounter from my high school days ended up…so high school-y.”
The Great Escape
In my law school days, I was faced with a problem-solving situation my professors hadn’t covered. I was home on Christmas break along with a house full of people, as was the guy I was desperate to, uh, share my cookies with. My parents’ basement was a contender but not ideal, as I have a tendency to get loud.
Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea. I’d done outdoor theater in my teens, and though the gate to the stage itself was locked during the off-season, the parking lot was still open. Turns out, it was perfect for a tryst: dark, quiet and so tucked away I doubt even murderers knew about it. I had a car, so we were good to go, and once we figured out how to copulate in cramped quarters, our “cookie exchange” went swimmingly.
Everyone loves a good coupling, but libidos are put to the test when family, food and (forced) fun are thrown into the holiday mix.
Though a planned getaway can present challenging logistics and require a little white lie or three, the payoff is often spectacular. Just ask Marie, who had to finagle alone time with her now-husband on a Christmas visit. At the time, Marie’s man lived six hours away, and the two hadn’t seen each other in a month, so they were hungry for more than ham and turkey.
“We told my parents we were going into town to see the lights,” she recalls. “We went the opposite direction, deeper into the country, to a service road beneath a railroad overpass.”
Like the parking lot of my misspent youth, the back road was a splendid solution. “You couldn’t see it from the highway, so it was the perfect spot to jingle his bells,” Marie says. “I was driving a ’93 Subaru Legacy, and we’re both so tall, so things were…interesting. But we made it work. I don’t think my hips could handle it anymore!”
While Marie and her intended were down on the ground, Elizabeth and her college sweetheart went up in the air. “My boyfriend came on a family vacay to the Adirondacks, like, allllll my extended family in one cabin,” she says. “One day, we hiked to the top of Mt. Immortelle and then got down at the summit. A little uncomfortable, but totally necessary.”
And there’s always the tried-and-true cineplex cover. Alexis visited her boyfriend’s family one year, when the couple had only been together a couple of months. “We definitely had to sleep in separate rooms, and the house was full with his siblings, so there was no privacy,” she remembers. “We couldn’t stand it after a couple of days—oh, to have the energy of an 18-year-old again—so we ended up ‘going out’ to see a movie, aka parking in a development under construction and having sex in the backseat of his car, hoping nobody would drive by.”
When Alexis and her man returned, his mother wanted to know how the movie was. Alexis had an answer at the ready. “Really good. A-plus. Would see again.”
Everyone loves a good coupling, but libidos are put to the test when family, food and (sometimes forced) fun are thrown into the holiday mix. Still, these stories prove that when there’s a will to get down, there’s a way. And let’s be honest: The forbidden nature, heightened tension and fear of getting caught make holiday hookups the hottest.