Hookup Culture: Helpful or Hurtful?

The hookup culture is the latest happenings in college and among teenagers. If you are wondering if hooking up bad, we have the answer for you.

Being in a relationship in the 21st century is like being on a scary roller coaster. These days’ relationships are more than complicated. It has lots of twists and turns and highs and lows. Hookup culture in college is most often observed due to peer pressure.

But, is hooking up bad after all? We have all created a very high expectation for what our life partner should be like. This is due to social media and movies. When we cannot find the right person, we often get depressed, rejected, and disappointed.

However, some believe that this roller coaster isn’t meant for them. Such youngsters prefer to be like the free-flying birds enjoying casual sex without any commitments.

Most millennials have a different view on hookup culture. They feel it is the answer to most of their relationship questions. It is like a solution to their fear of commitment.

What Is A Hookup Culture?

Hookup Culture Helpful or Hurtful-AlignThoughts

The hookup culture is a prevalent term these days. Sex is no longer a taboo. It is also known as casual dating or casual sexual encounters. Some also call it a one-night stand. In a hookup culture, there are no emotional attachments. One doesn’t have to worry about long term commitment.

The University of Montana researched the hookup culture. They found so many different definitions among the students. Some referred to it as “hanging out.”

Whereas some referred to it as a “stress buster.” The term “Hookup” has been widely used in the USA since at least 2000. Hooking up may not involve sexual intercourse. Instead, it can involve only kissing, oral sex, or casually hanging out.

As per the 2014 British Sex Survey, conducted by the Guardian, almost 55% of men and 43% of women had engaged in a one-night stand. One-fifth of people said they’d slept with a stranger.

The hookup culture is quite popular among teenagers, young adults, and adolescents. As per a survey conducted, almost 14.4% of people prefer casual sex over a committed relationship.

Apart from this, one in five relationships begin online and turn into non-committed ones.

Tinder states that it has matched over 75 million people since its inception in October 2012.

How and Why is Hookup Culture So Popular?

In recent times, hookup culture has gained wide popularity all around the world. Youngsters are moving from person to person having meaningless sex. All this is without worrying about any commitment. This makes them feel more relaxed and free.
One of the reasons for the popularity of this trend is the media. The hookup culture is quite popular in movies and TV Shows. We often come across scenes where a boy and a girl have eye contact in a bar, share a few words, and end up having sex in the toilet.

Moreover, millennials believe and follow the phrase “YOLO” (You only live once). This is also why they don’t want to settle or be restricted with any commitment. The internet, too, plays a major role in the popularity of the hookup culture. 

Sadly, the statistics of hookup culture in college is quite shocking. The most recent data states that between 60 to 80 percent of North American students have been a part of hookup culture in college.

Popular websites like Tinder, Grinder, Happn, Casualx, OkCupid, etc. are being used to meet new people. These people share the same “no strings attached” policy.

When OkCupid surveyed its user base, it found that between 10.3 and 15.5 percent of users looked for casual sex rather than a committed relationship.

Most people believe hookup culture gained its ground on college campuses. This is because students hang out and have casual encounters during parties, out of curiosity and excitement, or just to let off some stress.

For many teenagers, the idea of being with the same person for a long time can be boring, and they prefer to try out something with more freedom.

Is Hookup Culture Good or Bad For Youngsters?

While I cover this point, I would like to keep my religious opinions aside. On average, both men and women appear to have a higher positive affect than negative affect after a hookup.

A study was conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) on the hookup culture.

The participants were asked to characterize the morning after a hookup. The results revealed 82 percent of men and 57 percent of women were generally glad they had done it.

Hookup culture can help if you are never interested in being in a committed relationship or don’t want to be emotionally invested. Dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder are increasingly becoming hubs for stalkers.

Many people feel casual sex can be a big stress buster. For some, hooking up or casually seeing someone helps them stay invested in other important things like career and productivity.

On the positive side, being single helps you free up time and pursue other hobbies and goals.

Some feel that hook up culture helps them save money (relationships are expensive). Another plus point is you can meet different types of people before making any commitment. However, not everyone may feel the same.

Negative Effects of Hookup Culture

1) Health Risk

One of the most significant consequences of being in a no strings attached relationship is the fear of getting infected by any sexually transmitted disease.

Meeting eligible partners online or through dating apps and having unprotected one night stand with them can lead to the spread of various diseases like HIV/AIDS, etc.

2) Affects Self-Esteem

It’s all fun and games at the beginning. But what happens once you “accidentally” start to care?

Do you think it would be beneficial for your self-esteem and mental well-being? What if you start developing feelings for the other person? And then realize they don’t and will never feel the same about you?

Many young women and men who go through this phase. They end up criticizing themselves and falling into depression. It can damage self-esteem and cause psychological distress. 

3) Losing Touch with Self

People indulging in casual sexual encounters regularly end up losing touch with their emotional selves. They also seem to become emotionally incompetent towards others around them.

This can have severe consequences on all future relationships, especially in relationships that require commitment.

4) Regret or Contentment

Nearly half of women and 26% of men felt negative about the experience. Many start feeling uncomfortable with their choice of hooking up with a stranger.

Studies suggest that about 25% of people felt used and confused about their most recent hookup.

This feeling of regret is soon followed by self-doubt or self-hate, further causing emotional anguish.

5) Abusive

Having casual sex with someone you don’t know or haven’t met before is always a big risk. People have different fantasies behind bedroom doors. They usually like to test them out on strangers during hook up sessions.

However, sometimes these fantasies can cross the line and turn abusive. But, what if the partner turns out to be violent and forceful? This can further damage your mental well-being.

Worst case scenario, a simple casual sexual relationship can turn into sexual assault. Many times, young people fall victim. People with negative intentions record youngsters during sexual acts. They use such recorded videos to blackmail the victims.

Abusers blackmail the victim with the intimate video by threatening to share it on social media channels and other forums. This is another major risk associated with the hookup culture.

6) Emotional Distress

Researchers examining the mental health associations of hookup sex also report that participants show more depressive symptoms and feel loneliness after engaging in casual sex.

So the hookup culture can have an impact on your emotional level.

Is hookup culture destroying the dynamics that lead to long term relationships?

  1. Firstly, the hookup culture in college carries with it the culture of drugs and alcohol. You end up making bad choices that affect your other relationships.
  2. Young people end up meeting with strangers for sexual encounters. Most of them have fake profiles. However, with such encounters becoming a regular affair, we don’t seem to mind.
  3. In addition to this, you don’t see men or women as people anymore, but as a means to have a fun weekend. It’s like having sex and then high-fiving afterward. You part ways, never to see each other again.
  4. Consequently, there are no communication or relationship management skills developed between couples. As a result, newly married couples these days don’t know how to resolve conflict.
  5. You give in to your physical needs, and your emotional needs are not taken care of. Hookups make cheating more common.
  6. These sexual encounters and hookups are usually filled with poor choices and many walks of shame. As a result, you begin to develop a dark perception of the world around you.
  7. This ends up affecting your long term relationships. The baggage that you carry because of your hookup adventures makes you develop a prejudice about other relationships. All this somewhere tells us that hooking up is bad.

 

2014 study of 1,000 unmarried Americans between 18 and 34 years of age indicates a correlation between the number of sex partners one had and their potential marital satisfaction. As per this study, the more sexual partners a woman had had before marriage, the less happy she reported her marriage to be.

However, it is important to note that other factors affect long term relationships too.

What Can Be Done If You Practice Hookup Culture?

1) Learn to Say NO

Firstly, don’t go with the flow. Remember, hooking up is not a representation of freedom. Don’t do it because everyone is doing it. You don’t need to try to fit in into something that you aren’t comfortable with.

2) Have Ground Rules

Secondly, build a foundation in your relationship before going ahead. Besides, set some ground rules and have clear communications about your likes and dislikes.

3) Speak Up

Do you feel entangled in this web of no strings attached? Do you feel distressed? If yes, it is important to get help immediately.  Speak to someone who understands you and won’t judge you.

4) Report an Issue

Last but not least, speak up. Sexual harassment is another side of hookup culture. It is important that you immediately report any serious matter like abuse. You must inform the police. You can also contact other concerned authorities like NGOs, Distress Helpline, etc.
Here is a helpline number to ‘Love Is Respect – National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline.’ Hotline: 1 (866) 331 – 9474 or Text ‘LOVEIS’ to 22522.

Final thoughts,

Although there are pros and cons of hookup culture, it has to be a personal choice rather than following the crowd. Remember, because the hookup culture surrounds you doesn’t mean you have to be a part of it.

What are your opinions about hookup culture? It is helpful or hurtful? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, stay subscribed for more interesting updates.

Felicia is a full-time teacher and a freelancer with interests in blogging. Also, a die-hard fan of the FRIENDS series.