A couple months ago I got out of a long-term relationship.
There were a lot of things about it that I haven’t missed (having to make time for another person, annoying fights, my ex’s racist mom). But there are also parts of it that I really miss. It was great having someone to talk to when you needed it, someone to laugh at your stupid jokes and watch bad movies with. But to be honest, above everything, I really missed the sex.
One of the main reasons I broke up with my boyfriend was because I really didn’t have time to maintain a healthy relationship. So I knew coming out of my relationship, given that my schedule was pretty much the same, I was in no position to enter a new one. But the sex. Did I mention I really missed sex?
The obvious solution to my problem was to download Tinder and get swiping. But Tinder almost seemed like a relationship in itself—swiping and coming up with witty one-liners to send people consumes time. Plus, I wasn’t into hooking up with a string of strangers.
I must have been putting out pretty strong “I want to have sex” vibes because a couple weeks after my breakup, a friend and I hooked up after a party. It was everything I needed—fun, consensual, satisfying.
We were both in similar positions, having gotten out of long-term relationships. And we were both young, busy professionals with no time for a full-blown relationship. One afternoon, during what was going to be long days at work for the both of us, he told me to stop by later that night. A dick appointment had been scheduled.
Let’s clarify the term “dick appointment.” It isn’t just another word for “booty call.” Booty calls are spontaneous, but dick appointments are literally appointments. Some people pencil them into their planners or Google Calendar. Some people have pre-dick appointment rituals (mine is running Piccolo’s motivational speech from Dragon Ball Z in my head). The critical difference between a dick appointment and anything else is that you know what’s going to happen and when it’s going to happen. And there’s a sense of freedom in that scheduling. You can get things ready: protection, nice underwear, a good playlist. It’s also a lot easier to set boundaries, especially if you pick a single partner.
Since coming out a little over a year ago, Mark McKelvie, a second-year journalism student at Ryerson University, felt like relationships with guys and taking things slow wasn’t working out for him. “If you don’t think you’re the best version of yourself, you’re not going to be able to go into a relationship that is healthy for you.”
McKelvie says that with living in the Village as a gay man, it hasn’t been hard to find partners for safe, consensual and casual sex. And the scheduled, methodical nature of the dick appointment has helped him figure things out safely and comfortably. He says he always schedules his “appointments” a week out so he can “think on it.”
“It’s kind of comical in a way when you think about it like ‘Oh, let me pencil that in,’” he says. “But I think it’s kind of healthy to do that in some ways, have a person to do stuff with and have your boundaries figured out—I won’t do anything spur of the moment, especially with the recent events in the Village.”
The assurance of safety is one of the more appealing factors of the dick appointment. Not just in terms of consent, but with the steady rise of STIs, having a trusted sexual partner you know is safe is important. Though for many university students with hectic schedules, also knowing when they’re going to have sex gives them a little more structure.
Third-year student Jessica Sanders* schedules dick appointments, even in her committed relationship with her boyfriend. “We’ll go out for dinner and a movie but the whole time we both know what’s going to happen at the end of the night,” says Sanders. “Sometimes it’s just about being straightforward and saying ‘Hey, I need sex on this day.’ It makes things simpler for the both of us.”
Sanders says her favourite part about it is knowing what days to wear nicer underwear. Being in control of the situation boosts her self-confidence, which she says makes the sex better.
“It’s also nice to have something to look forward to.”
Dick appointments seem like a pretty solid solution for people like me, stuck in the limbo of not wanting a relationship, but still wanting a comfortable sexual relationship. But people are messy and emotional, so things don’t always work out the way they’re supposed to.
Part of McKelvie’s dick appointment ritual is getting to know the person he sleeps with. He likes to develop something he has in common with them and build up a rapport before entering a sexual relationship. It makes his whole experience a little more comfortable, but in becoming more comfortable with someone, sometimes McKelvie can’t help getting a little attached.
“When you think about it, sex is one of the most intimate things you can share with a person so when you go into this dick appointment, always in the back of my mind I’m thinking ‘Is there a way to get out of this if I need to?’” he says. “It does get hard to cut it off.”
“Dick appointments are probably unhealthy and problematic for me sometimes, but I think that has to do with self-confidence.” For McKelvie, not ditching the appointment for a relationship comes back to one thing: he wants to work on himself before he works on being with someone else.
I like the self-care aspect of the dick appointment. Millennials are on track for becoming one of the most overworked and sleep deprived generations. It gets harder and harder to balance things as more responsibilities consume us, so recognizing that you have sexual needs and taking safe, consensual actions to satisfy them seems like one of the ways we can take back control. And if I have the opportunity to take control of anything in this crazy, crazy world we’re in I’m going to jump at it.
A couple weeks ago I was spending a Saturday evening in a tub (post-sex baths are part of our ritual) with my sexual partner. “Riot Van” by Arctic Monkeys was playing. It sounds cliché, but it was so nice. I had a tough week but being in a tub with a boy who wanted to be there with me and was equally happy about it was so, so nice. We were safe, we were comfortable, we were happy. We scheduled this for ourselves.
*Names have been changed to protect anonymity