Vaxxed, waxed and ready to kick off Shot Girl Summer in L.A.? Here are 5 expert tips

Illustration of a vaccinated woman enjoying summer romance, drinks and the beach.
Are you ready?
(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times)

On TikTok “only hot people get the Pfizer vaccine,” but in the real world antibodies have universal sex appeal.

As more and more young people get vaccinated, there has been an influx of horny tweets and vaccine thirst traps on Instagram as people try to manifest a summer 2021 that will more than make up for the abstinence of 2020.

In other words, get ready for Shot Girl Summer.


“I think we’re all craving just feeling free,” said Sarah D’Andrea, a Los Angeles-based sex and relationship coach. “Free in our sexuality, free in pleasure, free in dating, just free in being able to have fun and not being so limited by everything that we can do or people that we can see.”

If you spent the last year interacting via Zoom meeting and hanging out at parks, avoiding crowded indoor spaces and hugs from loved ones until the two weeks after your final vaccine shot, then Shot Girl Summer is for you.

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Like Hot Girl Summer before it, Shot Girl Summer — also known Vax Girl Summer or Hot Vax Summer— isn’t just about hooking up with as many people as fate and fortune put in your path. To quote Megan Thee Stallion, it’s “about being unapologetically YOU, having fun, being confident, living YOUR truth, being the life of the party.”

“Basically, if you’re vaccinated, you’re vaccinated, period, over and out,” said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiology professor at University of California, San Francisco. “The problem arises when a bunch of people aren’t vaccinated and a bunch of people are vaccinated, and the kind of mixing that could go on.”


If California continues down its current path, the state will fully reopen the economy June 15, with some safety precautions — including mask wearing — in place. In other words, concert venues, museums, movie theaters, amusement parks, restaurants, breweries and bars will be able to operate at their pre-pandemic level of operations. Many indoor events have already returned at reduced capacity.

While the thought of being in a sweaty, crowded nightclub with no masks and poor air circulation might make an epidemiologist’s skin crawl, this summer could be a kind of kickoff to this century’s roaring ’20s. Maybe not the summer we thought it’d be but — with a little patience, a few reasonable precautions and an appreciation for what your body has survived the last year — it has the potential to be a great one all the same.

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“Be conscious, understand what your risks are and understand that immunization is almost perfect but it’s not all the way perfect,” Rutherford said. “And don’t get chlamydia.”

Here are five tips for living your best Shot Girl Summer in L.A.:

1. Don’t worry if it’s been a while since you’ve hooked up with someone

The joy of Shot Girl Summer is that it’s not all or nothing. The pandemic has left us with a deep, lingering skin hunger. But it’s also left some of us anxious at the idea of being around people — particularly indoors and unmasked — and concerned about how strong our social skills will be post-pandemic.

When it comes to hooking up, it’s OK if it’s been (what you consider to be) a long time. You never want to get the point where you’re so confident about sex that you don’t even have to think about it, said D’Andrea, who has a master’s in human sexuality..

“You always want to be approaching it with a new mindset, as if it is the first time,” she said. “It keeps you more engaged, it keeps you listening to your partner more, it just makes you a more enthusiastic partner.”

On a more practical note, few things are sexier than a partner who cares about their — and your — sexual health. So please, get tested (and do so regularly) so you know what’s going on with your body, even if you haven’t had sex since the pandemic started.

2. The beach will welcome whatever body you bring it

“Summer is just around the corner and everyone is eager to leave the past year behind — and the extra pounds that came with it,” reads a recent marketing email from a gym I will not be joining.

So many routines were upended by the last year — personal grooming, fitness, childcare, not to mention work — and our bodies have felt those changes. You shouldn’t feel bad if you gained or lost weight. That doesn’t mean you can’t change (or join a less judgmental gym) if you want to, but embrace who you are in the current moment too.

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As Emma Specter put it in Vogue: “In a year so indelibly marked by loss, am I really going to keep a T-shirt on over my swimsuit at the beach when I could be dipping every inch of my body in the cold water alongside my friends, exulting in the sheer bracing joy of being together?”

If your clothes don’t fit like they did last March, get new (or new-to-you secondhand) clothes if you can. Dress up your athleisure wear. Do what works for you.

3. Remember: Outdoor spaces can help you ease into things

Soon you’ll be able to weave your way through a nightclub to order a drink at the bar. Until then, drink al fresco at outdoor patios and converted parking lots across the city.

Not everyone in your friend group is going to be ready to eat indoors, go to the movie theater or go bowling (assuming they enjoyed that pre-pandemic) right away. Remove some of the tension of post-vaccine socializing by keeping something, especially large group activities, outdoors. Drink German pilsners at Red Lion Tavern in Silver Lake, watch the sun set over the ocean at the Ballast Point tasting room in Long Beach or enjoy food pop-ups and cocktails at Summer Social Club, the outdoor space hosted by Employees Only in West Hollywood. For something a little fancier, check out rooftop bars at places like Margot in Culver City, Hotel Erwin in Venice and Broken Shaker in downtown L.A.

And if you’d like to show off a little more skin, try getting a day pass at one of the many hotel pools throughout the city.

4. Avoid travel stress by researching your destination first

Fully vaccinated people are allowed to travel without quarantining, according to the CDC. But if you are venturing outside of Los Angeles, do some research on what COVID transmission levels are where you’re going. Across the world there have been recent surges in COVID-19 cases and difficulties rolling out vaccines at the rate of the U.S. There have also been recent outbreaks across this country. Your international eat, pray, love trip may need to wait until 2022.

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“Some people aren’t going to want you,” said Rutherford, the epidemiologist. “Your chances of going to New Zealand this summer are about nil.”

Closer to home, there are several great options, including Palm Springs, Napa Valley and Las Vegas.

5. You don’t have to wait until summer

Officially, the summer solstice is June 20. Less officially, Memorial Day weekend kicks off summer. Unofficially, Shot Girl Summer starts two weeks after your second dose.