What is a Booty Call? How it’s Defined in Science & Life

what is a booty call

Many would think research dedicated to finding the answer to the question, “what is a booty call,” is silly, but relationship experts don’t think so.

You would think that it’s funny that scientists would even ask the question, “what is a booty call,” but I feel like I understand what they’re trying to do. One of the biggest problems single people are facing today is finding someone who has the same goals as they do. And those goals are usually long-term commitments.

If relationship actions like the booty call aren’t clearly defined, it could confuse people into thinking that having occasional sex with someone you like can be passed off as a precursor for something more serious. But thank goodness someone decided to create an official definition of it once and for all so we can stop asking ourselves, “what is a booty call?” And you can also stop wondering if he’s going to change his mind about his feelings for you if you give him the best sex of his life. Did I say we? I meant people in general. Haha. Ha. Anyway, on to defining the booty call!

What is a booty call?

The booty call is loosely defined as, “a person whom you call to have sex with occasionally.” It can also be defined as a non-romantic and non-social relationship between two people who call each other randomly whenever they want to have sex. [Read: 16 hush-hush signs your friend wants to have sex with you]

It seems easy enough to identify, but unfortunately, the booty call is in the company of very similar forms of relationships, i.e. polyamory, friends-with-benefits, one-night stands, and even the very vaguely defined status, “dating.”

Even when you’re in a long term relationship, you could still be subjected to occasional booty calls. It’s not surprising considering that sex is not essentially a marker for seriousness anymore. It’s technically a hobby for a lot of people. [Read: How to make a sexy and successful booty call]

Why is it necessary to answer the question, “what is a booty call?”

It’s not easy to wade through the billions of single people trying to find the perfect match who is open, honest, and has the same ideas about what a relationship should be like.

In order for people to do that, they need to know exactly what it is they are facing. And the problem is that today, there are more than a few definitions of relationships, and it’s hard to gauge which one you are currently in.

It used to be so easy in the old days, when finding a partner was systematic and culture-based. Today, people are less likely to follow tradition and are more likely to develop their own way of approaching relationships based on their experience, media influence, and social interactions. [Read: The 23 types of relationships to define your love life]

Men and women are not likely to determine the fate of their relationships from the start, which can then lead to confusion and not really defining the relationship. Because of this, many of them ask themselves, what is a booty call, and is this what we’re doing? For some people, the booty call is easy to spot. But for others, it is not. [Read: Booty calls that may seem like true love]

Why not just call it when you see it?

That’s the thing. Since booty calls are part of sex in general, it’s difficult to see it as the only thing that defines a relationship. Some people may not see themselves as a booty call because they might have started out dating or they could be friends who hang out regularly, or worse – they’re in denial.

The uncertainty is what’s making it difficult for people to admit that they are just a booty call. People are reluctant to admit that they are in a temporary relationship because it cancels out their plans for the future. They might be hoping for more, or they might be waiting for something – or someone – else.

Okay, so you might think that I’m just throwing around theories and assumptions, yet you have to admit that there is a grain of truth to what I’m saying. Not just from my own experience, but from the thousands of accounts that I’ve read and heard throughout the years. But in order to confirm these, we need experts to use science and statistics to make it official. [Read: 17 sordid signs you’re just a booty call hookup and nothing more]

So, what is a booty call and other types of relationships?

Defining the booty call was a decision that scientists had to make, regardless of public and peer perception. Psychologists are actually happy that it was done, even if the sample size was only about 200 people.

The study was conducted by Dr. Peter Jonason, a psychologist from the University of Western Sydney in Australia. Their goal was to define different short-term relationships in order to find out why people might get involved with one type of relationship and not another.

The subjects were asked to rank booty calls, FWB’s *friends-with-benefits*, long-term relationships, and one-night stands depending on what their purpose is according to four functions: (1) trial run for a serious relationship, (2) placeholder for boredom or until someone better comes along, (3)  sexual gratification, and (4) social and emotional support. [Read: How to have a no-strings-attached relationship]

According to the study, these are the results and their function ranked in order of relevance to the subjects:

Booty Call

#1 Sexual gratification

#2 Placeholder

#3 Trial run

#4 Social support

Friends with Benefits

#1 Sexual gratification and placeholder

#2 Trial run

#3 Social support [Read: Friends with Benefits rules to remember]

One-night Stands

#1 Sexual gratification

#2 Placeholder

#3 Trial run

#4 Social support

Long-term Relationships

#1 Social support

#2 Trial run or placeholder

#3 Sexual gratification [Read: Are we dating? Read these 17 signs and ask no more]

Analyzing the results…

As you can see, we are coming closer to answering the question, “what is a booty call?” As the data suggests, the casual relationships tend to prioritize sexual gratification above all others and social support comes in at last place. The interesting part about it is that casual relationships can also be considered as placeholders.

This essentially means that the people who chose that option preferred to be engaged in that type of relationship while waiting for a serious relationship, rather than be alone while waiting for their future partner. [Read: How to have sex with your friend]

This study doesn’t offer that much insight into the difference between a booty call and a one-night stand, but Dr. Jonason’s earlier research – another study about booty calls – clearly shows that booty calls were a mixture of sexual and emotional needs. They discovered this when they compared booty calls, one-night stands, and long-term relationships, according to the acts that the couples performed.

People in long-term relationships were more likely to perform emotional acts like hand-holding and kissing, while it was less evident in booty calls and one-night stands. However, people in booty call relationships did perform emotional acts, whereas one-night stands hardly did any at all.

That’s probably why people ranked booty calls and FWB’s ranked ‘placeholder’ higher than some functions because they were more likely to continue the unconventional relationship with their partner. One-night stands were more likely to fizzle out after the first encounter, which meant there would be no time to develop any sort of emotional connection. [Read: How to get a f*ck buddy with the least effort]

Our conclusion

The research didn’t exactly answer the question, “what is a booty call” for us. Nor did it give an official scientific definition of the booty call, but it did give us a better understanding of what is involved when you have sex with someone more than once. In the case of the booty call, it usually runs longer than a few months.

Because of the length of exposure to each other, couples in booty call relationships will most likely end up talking and spending a bit more time together than people having one-night stands. In that timeframe, especially with the help of social media, you get to learn more about the person, exchange more than a few grunts, and maybe even end up hanging out in other locations outside of the bedroom. [Read: How to break up with a friend with benefits]

The thing that people in booty call relationships must remember, however, is that social and emotional connections are last on the list of priorities. If you are harboring stronger feelings for your occasional partner, you have to remember that they may not be thinking along the same lines as you.

Even though some people consider it as a placeholder or a trial run for a relationship, it does not mean that it will grow into that. Some people succeed at putting a ring on their booty call, but there’s no evidence that suggests that it will happen to everybody. [Read: 8 subtle signs your fling is turning into a relationship]

In my own experience, I am glad that my past booty call never became a serious thing. Why? Because it took me a while to realize that I wanted something else. At the time, I was also confused about where things would go.

Looking back now, I see that it was not supposed to go anywhere with that person because I ended up looking at that relationship objectively. Still, if we were ever placed in the same room and given the chance at a real relationship, I’d like to see if he’s a different person than when we met. That’s how booty calls work. You see the sex and only a glimpse of the person. If you want more, you have to place social and emotional support as your top priority.

[Read: Dating material vs a Hookup – 12 ways to split them up]

Did answering the question, “what is a booty call” help you in your situation? Or do you think these scientists are in way over their heads? 

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Danielle Anne
Danielle Anne
Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...
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