How Do I Respectfully Grind With Someone?

A college boy wonders how to navigate a crowded club and move in for the kill—or just the grind.

Dear Sexes: I’m a single male college student, and I went out to a popular club last night. I’m good at dancing, but only on my own—crazy dance moves or just feeling the vibe and grooving—but what about when the club becomes crowded there’s only really room for grinding? I’m enjoy grinding, but I rarely figure out how to approach girls in this situation. I’ve tried introducing myself, or just catching an eye and making a move, but most seem reluctant (or have boyfriends). Do you have any tips for this?


She Said: I wish I could be encouraging about this grinding-strangers-in-public thing, but quite honestly, I’ve never been much for seeing someone across a room and then having their sausage jammed against my flesh in a matter of moments. It’s cool for the people who are into it, but I’d like to know a guy (or at least his name!) before I determine the specs of his equipment.

That being said, I think it’s awesome that you’re sensing reluctance and respecting that—you don’t realize how many guys don’t sense it and just keep pushing. That’s off-putting and disrespectful.

I think you should take this discomfort with the whole silly ritual and turn it into a conversation starter for women (like me) who seem less interested in sweating on one another and more into face-to-face conversation. Make a joke about it, be honest and open. Women love and respect openness, and you may end up with something way better than an anonymous sausage grind.


He Said: Chivalry has (almost) no place in a crowded club. Everyone’s there to dance. Some are there to get others to buy them drinks. No one is there for conversation. So … you don’t need to go out of your way to be a perfect gentleman (in this setting). But you also shouldn’t be a classless caveman.

Crowded club grinding starts with good eye contact. Use your eyes to signal the girl you’re interested in. Don’t leer! A couple quick to medium-length glances (and maybe a lil’ smile) will do. If she’s interested, she’ll smile and/or look back. If she’s interested, but doesn’t want you to get ahead of yourself, she’ll smile, half-look at you, and continue dancing with her girl friends. After eye contact is established, you’re ready to try your next move: dance on over to her. While you’re dancing her way, pay attention to her reaction (again). If she turns her back and barricades herself with her friends, set your sights on someone else. If she holds her ground, and gives you the half-look and smile combo, approach cautiously. Now you’re ready for some dancing … together!

For starters, keep your hands (and hips) to yourself. She’ll let you know, in numerous womanly ways, if she wants you to dance closer. If and when that happens, move in for the grind! Happy dancing!

Just remember, dancing is dancing. It’s not sex, and it doesn’t mean it will lead to sex either. Don’t assume anything. Also, be observant. Grinding is different from groping. Grinding is hardcore dancing, with all participants interested. Groping is something different, and in general, something you should steer clear of. And lastly, you should take notice of your surroundings before you start any dancing courtship. That hulking mass of muscle standing next to your dancing crush may just be there because it’s crowded and there’s nowhere else to stand. Or he may be there because he’s the protective friend, boyfriend, or husband. Be observant, and try your best to know the situation, before you make any moves.

If you want a more comical approach (though still instructional) to grinding etiquette, check out this video.

P.S. If it seems like my response could be describing a wild animal interaction from the Discovery Channel, you’re right. It’s a jungle out there (in the human world), and nowhere more so than a crowded club! Dance well, be careful, and good luck!

If you have a question for Josie and Eli, ask it here.

Originally appeared at SheSaidHeSaid.

—Photo ajcreencia/Flickr

About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so was born.


  1. Displays of raw female sexual aggression only cause more objectification.

    You cannot have it both ways.
    (watch the hamsters spin)

  2. The secret to clubs is to go to clubs with groups of girls. If your group is you and 4 girls they’ll dance playfully with you because they’re your friends and you’re safe. Don’t overdo it with them. You’ll be floored at how many other girls will notice this and ask you to dance.

    On making friends who are girls: you’re already awesome at this. When you ask a girl out and she just wants to be friends this is a really good thing. Say “Even better! you wanna know a secret about having lots of guy friends?” she’ll say yes. “they’re no fun to go out dancing with. They just stand there and look at shit! Girls are way more fun to go out with.”

    Each failure is actually a step toward success as long as you’re respectful and try to have a good time. HAPPY GRINDING!!

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Alex – you’re awesome!!!

      I always met awesome guys when I was single because I had guy friends. Made it really easy. Guys love the girl who is making all her guy-friends laugh. Same as your point, just vise-versa.

    • Hmm, you must be an entrepreneur: “failures” are opportunities to learn, and by adapting and expanding you positive network, it’s only making things better. Right on!

      Great thing to remind all our friends who are terrified of rejection!

  3. Watch Girls gone wild.

    Grinding is initiated by the female thrusting her near naked buttocks into the air and
    thrusting her hips up and down,side to side in a simulation of the sex act.

    It is an animal behavior designed to trigger the aggressive male response.
    Feminism has robbed young women of feminine expression,they are sexually confused.

    Nothing respectful going on there at all.
    Not to either gender.
    How very empowering.

  4. Actually, grinding is an empowering, soulful act by which a man can demonstrate his alignment with feminist principles.

    Any grinding is respectful grinding, and….no grinding is a sign of disrespect and inappropriate male inattention.

    Grind away!

    • I’ve seen plenty of nasty disrespectful and nonconsensual grinding and groping. Occasionally I’ve seen it turn into “crushing”, where instead of crotch-to-ass it’s boot-to-crotch. Watch those stilettos! Very entertaining.

      But it definitely can be totally consensual and great!

  5. Marcus Williams says:

    ::nervously raises hand:: Umm…what’s “grinding”?

    I’m probably showing my age here, but having not been in a crowded dance club for many years (and not often even when I was the right age for it), I’m guessing that grinding denotes not just dancing close up, but actually bodily rubbing up against your dance partner, as in “bumping and grinding”. Is that seriously how people who don’t remotely know each other dance now? I had a hard enough time just asking someone to dance when it meant dancing with space between us. Is a dance club invitation these days really interpreted by both sides as seeking consent to immediately start dry humping on the dance floor? I can see how maybe with instant chemistry and attraction maybe some dancing would lead to grinding, but starting there? Holy crap!

    • MorgainePendragon says:

      Dude, you don’t remember The Bump? Back in the 70s? It got pretty damned grindy!

      • Marcus Williams says:

        I turned 10 in 1979, so no, I don’t remember The Bump. I remember doing The Pogo at junior high dances, but that was just jumping up and down. There was always slow dancing and some of the grindy stuff couples would do, but I can’t say I recall heavy grinding being part of the dance card among casual dance partners, even when I was just a wallflower watching everyone else.

        I know I sound like such a geezer, but I’m seriously wondering, does “grinding” describe a dance style where crotches are being rubbed against each other’s bodies? (Or even unidirectional crotch rubbing)? I’m not seeing much distinction between that and dry humping, and nothing against dry humping, but it’s something I never would have considered as a socially acceptable *first* dance with some stranger in a club.

        • MorgainePendragon says:

          “Dancing: The vertical expression of a horizontal desire legalized by music.” –George Bernard Shaw

          That’s why Baptists don’t have sex standing up: SOmeone might think they were dancing.

          I’m GLAD to see the puritanical US standards falling apart (again, like they did in the 20s, the 60s-70s, et al) and people being free to express their sexuality.

          I’m GLAD for men like the Original Poster, who wants to participate AND be respectful.

          I’m GLAD for anyone who wants to participate in a sexually, sensually open society where everyone can feel free to BE their own sexual/sensual selves without fear of violence, assault, shaming or retribution.

          It’s a BIG part of what I work towards, as a sex-positive feminist.

          • Marcus Williams says:

            Wait, am I supposed to be like the Baptist prude here, since that was in reply to me? I’m a big fan of sex, dancing, and sexy dancing, especially the “AND be respectful” part.

            What I’m still not getting is a direct answer to is whether “grinding” involves actual rubbing of crotches on other crotches (or butt or legs), such that it’s literally like dry humping, albeit with music. Anyone?

            If grinding is not dry humping, it just sounds like a new kind of suggestive dance to me. If it is dry humping, I’m surprised (in an admittedly geezer way) that anyone would consider it respectful to expect a stranger to want to dance that way as a first dance. Maybe it’s just another example of evolving sexual mores, but I always thought that rubbing genitals was something you worked toward, not started with. Maybe I should start wearing a cup in case crotch grabs are the new handshake.

            • Joanna Schroeder says:

              Marcus! Let’s reframe this for us old fogies:

              Grinding=the dirty dancing in the movie Dirty Dancing… but more intense. I’m not into it with strangers (as you can see by my response as She Said) but I think it’s great for others.

              So, yes, grinding=crotches rubbing to music 😉

  6. I’ve actually had very similar problems, given that I’m generally more interested in talking to someone and getting to know them before any sort of intimate contact whatsoever. However, the reality of college dance parties/clubs/whatever is there little to no room for this sort of interaction actually exists.

    Do not dispair! There are solutions!

    It took wingmaning a good friend at a gay bar (where chivalry most definitely exists) for me to understand there exists a respectful way to approach someone and determine there intrest in grinding. Succinctly: ask them to dance. Preferably, after you have already exchanged some glances and/or smiles and/or other positive signals. In a densely packed party/club environment, anyone will know that “would you like to dance?” is probably a euphemism for “want to grind?”, and will, in my experience, seize the initiative this opening provides them. If they are not interested, or for whatever reason don’t want to (for example, because they’re a straight guy being propositioned by another male in a gay bar) they can simply decline and will probably provide a reason. Even if they turn you down, they will most likely feel flattered and you score points in the eyes of everyone involved as a respectful gent.

    Party on!

  7. Seems guys are unhappy that they need to read social signals to navigate the mating game. Unfortunately the world we live in relies mostly on social signals for almost everything and has for maybe a couple hundred years, at least since the Industrial Revolution. Skill in social signals tends to define the winners in job success and dating mirrors that fact. It’s possible education & child raising are failing to give guys what they will need, leaving them (figuratively) stuck in phys ed when intro to family & society is needed more.

    • I Know That Feel Bro says:

      that’s not the issue at all, the issue is how a good man should choose to use those skills to get what he wants without disrespecting other people. Since respect is in the eye of the beholder, just telling people to do so in a “respectful way” is not practical.

      • Then I guess you’re left with these alternatives:
        -go with your own definition of respect & know you will be at peace w/ yourself
        -try to figure out the def. of respect of the individual beholder (theory of mind)
        -fall back on a 3rd-party def. provided by pop culture, peer group, church, legal advice, etc.
        -a combo of above

  8. A crowded college party, or college in general, is not any place for a conversation . Telling him to not go to clubs and trying to start a conversation is basically the same as telling him to be a monk. It’s the ultimate hypocrisy. Girls go to these parties for sexual contact — telling him not to at least attempt is the same as telling him to keep yanking the worm and hoping. I hope he throws out your ridiculous advice before he realizes it’ll keep him celibate and miserable.

    • I Know That Feel Bro says:

      I approve this message, as somebody who spends his time celibate and miserable 😉

      gender egalitarian minded women will respond gracefully to constant attempts at giving them their space and ignoring the status quote behavior of turning a sliding eye glance into a rubdown but sadly, the fact o the matter is that is not most women (or people for that matter). Most women are going to tell you that they expect you to read their social “signals” without any verbiage at all and when you are “properly signaled” to “make a move” without being controlling or overbearing. They will also feel entitled to punish you and socially shame you if you read things wrong. Is this feast or famine approach totally irrational and constantly place your sensibilities between casual encounter and sexual assaulter? Yes. But sadly this is the world our generation got handed to grow up in. You either accept the fact that no mater how many times you try to communicate like a caged animal and read the emotions of your attempted partners without any spoken language at all, eventually your going to screw up and you might get called an assaulter; or you give up on the idea of casual sex and peruse more feminist women through conversation and the potential fostering of a relationship.

      I would love it if both sides would agree to a common set of terms to simply ask for what you want without getting smacked and called offensive by the other side but neither one sees what the other side is doing as the “right thing to do” so for the next few generations until the die hards on either side die off, were going to have to put up with this idiotic sexual landscape.

      • MorgainePendragon says:

        Dear I know that feel Bro,

        Sadly, I fear that you are fairly astute in your assessment– neither women nor men are well-socialised to be open and upfront in either verbal or non-verbal communication, particularly in social situations such as the one described above (in the USA anyway).

        I SO appreciate your recognition that “gender egalitarian minded women will respond gracefully to constant attempts at giving them their space …”. By that statement and your other remarks, I would predict that you might be one of those men who can gracefully navigate what actually is quite a fine line.

        My advice to you would be to continue to be sensitive and upfront and ask for what you want. It may take a while but eventually I’m SURE you will meet women who value and appreciate your awareness of these nuances. I certainly would 😉

        All the best. x

        • I know that feel Bro says:

          heh, thnx for the sentiment, but I tend to shield myself by just staying quiet, hence the line about being somebody who spends his time celibate and miserable.

          Almost never getting laid sucks but its better than having an employer have to Google my name and consider me a sexual assaulter because of some angry blog post or worse a police report!

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            That’s part of the problem… Almost no one can navigate this crazy world of dating. Eli and I try to help as best we can, but Morgaine is correct – it’s really tough.

            Be genuine, be thoughtful and cautious if you’re not sure. But also try to be open. You sound like a good guy, I hope you find someone you connect with really soon!

      • Thankfully, there are hot, smart feminist women who are Ok with casual encounters and/or polyamory and don’t mind actual verbal contact even in a big party setting.

        Also, if you decide to make an advance before actually having a conversation, based on flirting/body signals, it still is good to ask “you down?” or “is this cool?”

        Being honest and assertive is key. Don’t fear rejection and just ask “you wanna dance/grind/make out” etc… Worst case scenarios, the other person says: “no” or “i’m here with my man/lady/partner” etc… just make a touch of small talk and then move on, maaaybe apologize for being “forward”. That should keep you conscience clear and your name off google.

        Best case scenario = good times. And even then, keep asking/checking for consent when things get hotter, never wanna assault someone without realizing it. If they want it, they will let you know- if you ask. Yes mean Yeeessssss.

  9. Now to hear the double standard about how women can be sexually aggressive, but men must sit by emasculated.

    If you want to keep your self respect,go home alone.
    If she wanted her self respect,she would not be grinding her private parts in public.
    Nothing “respectable” going on here at all.

    Yes, it is for sale to the highest bidder, thats why it’s in your face.

    Men need to be the pursuer,women taunt that for fun and profit.
    Just be careful that you overwhelm the “big guy next to her.”
    That is what she wants,men to fight for her.
    If you can get it w/o doing that,more power to you.
    But that is what she wants.
    So go do it.

    • Just to clear this up, I think I speak for the majority of women that THIS IS NOT WHAT WE WANT. Just in case anyone was taking this comment seriously. For the love of God, don’t try to beat up our husband/boyfriend/guy friend. This will not endear us to you.

      P.S. We still have our self-respect while dancing, trust.

    • MorgainePendragon says:

      If you have any thoughts that bear any resemblance to those here written by freebird, please DO NOT COME NEAR ANY WOMEN, on the dance floor or anywhere else.

      If you think this way, you are a misogynist and any woman in your company is most likely at threat for assault.

      (Unless freebird– how DARE you use the name of that fabulous song? I’m surprised Ronnie hasn’t swept down from his R&R paradise to take your ignorant head off– is hiding his pathetic misanthropic self-hatred behind such virulent misogyny)

      • Your shaming language has no effect on me cupcake.
        Ronnie would leave you just as he leaves every woman in the Freebird song.
        Because your not fit for long term relation.
        Just the P&D the grinders get.
        Kinda an ironic justice in that.
        Your ignorance is showing.
        Your disrespect for the truth is showing also.
        Your misandry is showing.
        Your immorality is showing.
        Much like a vagina in a thong on a dance floor,looking for sex,but denying it at the same time.
        Two faced double minded reprobate!

        • Another thing “Morgana”
          I see how quick you are to advocate a man do your violence for you.
          “Take your head off.”

          Show some integrity and do your violence yourself sometime,instead of manipulating white knights into doing it for you.
          (after you caused the provocation)

        • MorgainePendragon says:

          I didn’t write it for YOU, mate!


  10. If she’s wearing a thong and grabbing her ankles it’s clear the commodity is for sale to the highest bidder.
    This means a combination of four factors;
    Demonstrate a combination of all four and your the man in tonight!

    The old standard should rear up real quick on this thread.
    Public displays of sexuality are often misinterpreted.


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