h2>Dating : Doing ‘the Dirty’ (College Hookup Culture Edition)
Sex is everywhere. The funny part about it is that you don’t even have to engage to know that its presence still lingers within your surroundings. Our lives dwell in an era where media, technology, magazines, and music constantly accentuate love in the form of a casual romance with platforms such as Cosmopolitan & Vogue or popular artists like Drake shying away from bringing dating into the conversation and getting straight down to doing “the dirty.”
Don’t get me wrong. By no means am I deeming this cultural shift to be bad, but there is something particularly interesting to be noticed about today’s trends. It’s now all about sex and less about love — more friends with benefits & less relationships, more pleasure & less affection, and perhaps more sexts & less texts (at least in good ol’ NYC, it seems). And for some, this culture is one big “hell yes!” For others, it’s just not their cup of tea.
Perhaps we should credit the millennials for invigorating what 20-something year olds pen as the “hookup culture.” Though we often associate the baby booming era for bringing forth this craze, the past decade has specifically cemented the idea that sexual intimacy no longer has to have meaning or rather an emotional attachment at all. For those who have not been on the college scene for a hot minute, “hooking up” is a widely renowned practice that calls for sexual interaction without commitment, focusing on the rule that both parties will have little expectation of the other person following through or attempting to continue the relationship. While on the surface, this may just seem like a passing phase of the campus experience, we have gotten to a point where young adults may be feeling pressured to engage in sexual activity without actually considering their own comfortability. Does hooking up transform sex into performance rather than a felt experience? Are teenagers assuming that sex will ultimately lead to a relationship? Has the hookup culture diminished the idea of love? Is love now considered hooking up? The problem with casual sex isn’t necessarily the quantity, but the quality of it.
Let’s talk about the ladies for a sec. In the report, “Hooking Up, Hanging Out, and Hoping for Mr. Right: College Women on Mating and Dating Today,” the Independent Women’s Forum conduct a national 18-month study on the behavior and values of a diverse group of college women on 11 different campuses. According to the study, 40 percent of women said they had experienced a hook up while one in ten reported to have done so more than six times. And when it came to interviewing about marriage, 83 percent of the respondents agreed that courtship was a very important goal with 63 percent fixed on hoping to meet their significant other during college. As a result, the institute has found that while more than half of the population of college women “who said that a hook up made them feel desirable also reported that it made them feel awkward…Many would like to meet a future husband in college, yet it seems that virtually no one even attempts to help them consider how their present social experience might or might not lead to a successful marriage” (Independent Women’s Forum 5). Subsequently, it seems that many students are carrying the mindset that this pattern of meaningless hookups will have no effect on their prospective relationship. And yes, maybe it will. Or maybe it won’t. But seeing as though a majority of campus populations are set on the idea of courtship yet partaking in casual sex, there is an odd implication that one can suddenly set aside the “hooking up” and suddenly find a husband. Who knows, maybe this is the new formula?! There is also clearly an ironic juxtaposition in terms of the emotional expression that women admit to after the hook up in which there exists “a desire for something more to happen with the guy…the next day they’re upset and they regret what they did” (Independent Women’s Forum 18). If the end result is no surprise, why are women in hopes that the next hook up will be any different? And is “hooking up” just the prequel to our chapter of settling down? Guess what — I have no clue. But these are just several questions (suspicions) that arise when discussing sex today. The matter of fact is that times are changing and so is the collective view of intimacy.
The discussion of hookup culture goes beyond the act of casual sex, enveloping in a broader conversation of potential gender imbalance, emotional detachment, and a contradiction towards comfort. Nonetheless, it brings up the question on what will be passed on to future generations. With modern day technology, the media has endorsed our love for instant connection with each other, but at times, this can lean far away from authentic emotion and more towards the use of digital attraction *cough Instagram & Tinder cough.* While on the surface, hookup culture may just seem like a predisposition of the college experience, it has now become a forceful social norm that is transforming intimacy everywhere — beyond college grounds! The idea of relationships seems to be transforming by the minute and so long as social media and hookup culture are around, there is no telling what the definition of “love” will be in the generations to come. Guess we’ll find out in a decade or so…
Just some food for thought. So what do you think?