What Is A Booty Call

Men's Dating

What Is a Booty Call? Origins & Mechanics Explained

Mackenzie Buck

Written by: Mackenzie Buck

Mackenzie Buck

Mackenzie Buck is an experienced writer who earned a master's degree with distinction from the University of Manchester. Her relationship advice has been featured on the New York Post, among other publications. She has worn a variety of hats in the digital marketing space over the years and is excited to bring her unique voice and storytelling chops to DatingAdvice.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is a dating and relationship expert who has penned over 1,800 lifestyle articles in the last decade, and she still never tires of interviewing dating professionals and featuring actionable advice for singles. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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If you’re anything like me, the first time you heard the word “booty call” was in 2010 when pop sensation Ke$ha leaked an absolute banger of a song by the same name. The song is and always will be a bop, but the meaning was completely out of my range of experience at the time.

What I soon learned from good ol’ Google.com, and what we’re going to dive into deeper today, is that a booty call is defined as follows: “a communication (such as a phone call or text message) by which a person arranges a sexual encounter with someone” or “a person to whom someone makes a booty call, especially regularly.” 

what is a booty call

In plain English, a booty call is the act of reaching out to someone you’ve likely had sex with before — perhaps a FWB, an ex, or someone you’ve met during the late hours of swiping on dating apps — and asking to hookup. If you’ve ever gotten the “u up?” text at two in the morning, you’ve been booty called, my friend. Take that for what you will. 

Origin | How It Works | Pros & Cons

Origin and Evolution

Although it’s not that crazy to think our human ancestors participated in some booty calling themselves (maybe they passed notes between temples in the early hours of the morning of ancient Mesopotamia), the actual phrase originated in the 1990s. Billy Bellamy, a budding comedian at the time, used the term “booty call” while appearing on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam

booty call came around in 90s

Now regretting not trademarking the term, Billy explains to the podcast hosts of People in the 90s that booty call is “just a clever way to say you’re trying to get a girl to come by.” 

Billy points out that the meaning of the term translated a lot more clearly at the time than it does now. This is because, before the existence of cell phones, people had to actually dial the phone number and shoot their shot on the call (yes, with their actual voice – gasp!). Now, we’ve got dating apps to help us speed up the process and ease the sting of rejection. What a time to be alive. 

Cultural Influence 

Since Billy Bellamy’s appearance on Def Comedy Jam, the term “booty call” has been sprinkled all over pop culture, finding its way into movies, TV shows, and music. The popular ‘90s show Sex and the City employed the term regularly, using a booty call as one of its comedic plot points. 

booty calls in pop culture

Ke$ha isn’t the only one who thought to name a project after this popularized term. In 1997, Jamie Foxx, Tommy Davidson, and Vivica A. Fox starred in a buddy comedy titled Booty Call. The movie centers around two male friends and their desperate search for condoms. A simple booty call turns into a wild night of danger and adventure. 

Music is the artistic medium that has likely seen the most use of this term. In addition to Ke$ha, the term “booty call” has also been used in songs by LL Cool J, TLC, Destiny’s Child, Usher, and Ginuwine. When Beyoncé has a song about it, you know it’s real. 

Modern Usage 

Comedian Billy Bellamy probably didn’t know it at the time, but his attempt to get a good laugh from his audience became a stepping stone toward sex positivity in Western culture. In the past, talking about sexual relationships outside of a romantic partnership was highly taboo within the cultural zeitgeist. People were likely doing it behind the scenes, sure, but participating in a late-night booty call would have come with a lot more guilt and shame than it does today. 

what is a booty call

We’ll touch on the specific benefits of booty calls later, but the key point here is that people now cringe a little bit less at the topic of casual sexual encounters. In fact, talk of booty calls and other similar bedroom banter may even be considered commonplace, especially between friends. This paves the way for more open communication about sex and, therefore, safer and more enjoyable intimate experiences. 

How it Works

In a world where everything seems so complicated, I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that executing a booty call is fairly simple. Here are the steps:

1. Make the Call (or Send the Text)

They just gave the last call at the bar you’re at downtown. You’re feeling good. You’re feeling buzzed. You’re feeling like you want to keep the party going at your house — but this time, it’s a party of two. 

Or maybe you’ve just gotten off a 14-hour shift at work. You haven’t gotten it in (Jersey Shore reference) in several weeks, but you don’t feel like swiping for a date. 

What’s your quickest option? Text your FWB and ask them if they’d like to come over. Texts like “u up?” are common amongst Gen Zs and Millenials, but some other options are: 

  • “Hey, tryna come over?”
  • “Whatcha up to right now?”
  • “Can I see you tonight?”

That’s really all you need to send for a booty call. This is a case where less really is more.

2. Get Consent and Set Expectations 

If you haven’t already discussed the guidelines of this relationship, now would be the time — or, at the latest, when you get to their place. What you don’t want to do is have sex with someone first, and then explain your intentions with them after the fact. That’s a recipe for hurt feelings — and for you to end up with your Bumble profile pictures plastered all over a Are We Dating the Same Guy? Facebook page

The best thing to do is make it clear that you see this relationship as strictly sexual. Let your partner know romantic opportunities are not on the horizon. If this person has feelings for you and may be interested in something more, do them the courtesy of shutting it down before you take it any further. You would probably want the same done for you. 

3. Enjoy Casual Sex

This step is the best one, hands down. This is when you finally enjoy what you came for (pun intended).

As long as both individuals are sober enough to consent to the sex, we encourage you to let loose, have fun, and, as always, use protection. 

Pros and Cons 

Because we like to give it to you straight here at DatingAdvice.com, we’re going to list some positives and negatives to ponder while considering whether the art of booty calling is for you. Weigh your options carefully before moving forward with that late night text.

Pro: Fulfillment of Physical Needs

pro physical fulfillment

At the end of the day, sexual desire is a normal and healthy part of the human experience (lucky us!). And when you aren’t in a romantic relationship where the opportunity for regular sex is more abundant, this can sometimes mean seeking sexual pleasure elsewhere. 

With a booty call on lock, you can hit up your sexual partner when you’re looking to get that itch scratched and, if you’re lucky, your sneaky link may just oblige.

Con: Increased Risk of STIs

You may not be at a place where you and your booty call can openly and easily communicate with each other about sexual safety. And that increases the risk of sharing STIs.

con STIs

A booty call could easily lead to the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases by one or both of you, which, you probably guessed, really puts a damper on your bedroom fun.

Additionally, assuming both of you are not in committed relationships, this could mean that you’re engaging in sex with multiple partners at once, which also increases your risk of getting the kind of itch you really don’t want to scratch. 

Pro: Convenience and Spontaneity

pro is convenience

Anyone who has been in the digital dating space for more than a few weeks can tell you that swiping on dating apps can be a real mood killer. It’s monotonous, frustrating, and downright exhausting. When you find a person that’s mutually interested in being summoned (or summoning you) between the hours of 10pm and 3am, it really does something to streamline the whole process. 

Plus, that dopamine hit you get after seeing a text from your booty call is a nice rush to get you through the rest of your boring work week. 

Con: Potential for Misunderstandings

con potential for misunderstanding

The success of a booty call is founded upon a mutual understanding and predetermined expectations. When either one of these pillars is broken, feelings get hurt, STIs get transmitted, and friendships fall apart. 

Pro: No Commitment

More young people, especially women, are choosing to be single nowadays. This could be for multiple reasons: focusing on growing their careers, questioning the validity of the institution of marriage, or simply setting higher standards for what a good relationship looks like. 

pro independence

On the one hand, this likely means spending a lot more time at the office, traveling, deepening relationships with friends, or otherwise enjoying the bliss of single life to its fullest extent.  On the other, this means a lot less time looking for love — or scouring the dating apps for a new sexual partner. Having a FWB (or a trusted sexual interest) on call means these singles can bump uglies in the ungodly hours of the night and still crush their work, life, or friendship goals with energy to spare. 

Con: Emotional Fallout

con emotional fallout

If we’ve learned anything from rom coms like Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached, it’s that FWB or booty calls are difficult to maintain for an extended period of time. And sometimes they crash and burn. People typically lose interest, end up ghosting, or catch feelings for their sexual partner — the latter of which makes complete sense considering that sexual intercourse releases feel-good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin that can create a sense of closeness.

This isn’t to say that we discourage you from giving the whole “booty call” thing a shot, but we encourage you to understand the risks at hand. 

Booty Calls Put Casual Sex on Speed Dial 

The days of shaming human sexual desires are long gone — back with electroshock therapy and thinking that cigarettes are good for you. Thanks to Billy Bellamy and the pieces of art, music, and media that followed, the concept of the “booty call” — and other terms that exist within the realm of casual intimacy — have become a fairly normal part of modern Western culture. 

With a healthy mindset and a solid foundation of agreed-upon expectations, single people of all kinds can now conveniently indulge in their favorite nighttime snack without having to be 1) shamed, or 2) in a committed relationship. 

Casual sex is here for the long haul. So, stay safe, stay vigilant, and stay sexy. Good luck!