Slang is used so liberally in our society, especially among members of our generation, that we rarely even notice it in everyday conversation. Seeing as how at least one portion of my everyday verbal discourse infallibly involves sex, this week I chose to address a sexual term whose definition is, like the balls, too often neglected: hooking up.

However, before I define a “hookup,” I would like to get one thing straight. Baseball terminology is outdated and inconsistent in describing sexual activity simply because not everyone assigns the same bases to the same actions.

Perhaps kissing occurs on first base, and obviously sex is a homer, but for those of you into tossing the salad, is that somewhere in the middle or another game altogether? I mean, if you have one couple over on second base heavily petting and some other girl way out in left field in stilettos, pleather and a dog collar with a whip in one hand and a badminton racket in the other, what game is she playing exactly?

Thus the term hookup is more contemporarily useful because it’s all-encompassing without degree of detail required. Discussing this with others generally evoked two reactions: either agreement that to hook up encompasses anything sexual and people should just get over it, or a feeling of necessity to draw a line separating haves and have-nots.

One individual suggested that a hookup begins only at the level of “extreme oral” activity. What the hell? Either he was talking about some oral sex-crazed superhero or a monster truck rally. “Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, come to your nearest bedroom arena for some Extreme Oral!” This rationale will just not do.

Realistically, people most often use the term hookup to describe sexual activities from the full-blown sex end of the spectrum moving inward toward milder acts responsible for genital joy. So does it start at nipple rubbing for good luck, or some low-five action between Mr. Hand and Mr. Winkie?

In hopes to alleviate discrepancies, I offer up this simple definition: Anything that involves skin-contact genital stimulation should be considered hooking up – which does not necessarily include open-mouth kissing. Although it can occur during a hookup, I exclude kissing as a defining component because a couple can kiss without involving genital stimulation or can sexualize body parts without kissing.

Truth be told, it’s up to you what level of comfort you feel is involved in describing your latest coital convulsion. I suppose, although more up-to-date than its sisters in baseball linguistics, the term hookup is just as ambiguous or more so because it is not always described in stages.

If you really care that much, take time to decide that anything under the clothes and beyond, for instance, is a hookup. The key is knowing the person you are hooking up with may not follow the same definition. For example, he or she could be deluded or desperate enough to think getting your phone number falls under some hookup category. Even baseball lovers would frown on that.

Bad news for the people who stress about inconsistent sexual terminology: There is no real solution; it is in the hands of a sexually skewed society. The only certainty is that a hookup has to involve two or more people. Although if you are pleased to report to friends that you hooked up with your hand on Friday night, go right ahead.

Beyond that, I personally could care less what degree of engagement is implied by use of the term. As far as I’m concerned, hooking up can be as ambiguous as you want it to be because the people that truly want details will ask for them anyway, the nosy perverts. How do I know, you ask? Nosy perversion is one of my specialties.

Daily Nexus sex columnist Kate Rice and her crack team of prostitute/linguists have begun work on the definition of hooking down.