Drunken booty calls. Friends with benefits. “It’s complicated” relationship status. Sound familiar? If you’re between the ages of 18 and 35, chances are, you too are (or have been) a part of the hookup culture.
The hookup culture, which emerged on college campuses, is seen from high schools to the working world. It’s the idea (or reality) that dates are now replaced with casual hangouts or hookups that lack any real emotion. As a result, young adults get a false sense of sexual empowerment, but are left feeling empty, lonely or regretful.
If we regret our hookups, why the popularity? According to Justin Garcia, sex researcher at the Kinsey Institute, over half the respondents in a recent study said they hook up because they hope to start a romantic relationship. Students prefer casual sex because they’re too busy to maintain a relationship, yet see a long-term monogamous relationship as their end goal. If you’re too old to hookup, but too young for marriage, what happens in between?
A “friends with benefits” situation gave some firsthand insight. On one hand, an easy O is enticing. On the other, he might only view you as benefits, and miss the genuine friend. Do you do it anyway and risk the friendship, or backtrack the booty calls and lay down boundaries? Is a “friendly” hookup even possible?
In one word: no. During sex, the pituitary glad (it’s in your brain) secretes oxytocin. This chemical increases sexual arousal, receptivity and, whether you like it or not, bonding. It’s exactly why women get “clingy” after sex.
Easy sex is good, but great sex is mental. Hookups are robotic. Take off shirt. Kiss. Take off pants. Go down… If you subliminally feel someone’s actions are only means to an ends, it’s going to impact your orgasm. On top of that, mentally rehashing STD stats while getting oral is a total buzz kill. Passionate sex and the ability to let loose makes a major difference.
Alas, not all is lost. Some men still ask women out. However, many are apprehensive saying after a few dates, women interpret this as “on track to a relationship.” As a result, they don’t ask. Those that do usually pull a DMA. How else should women interpret PDAs, compliments and frequent communication? Unfortunately we live in a society where politeness is mistaken for something more.
Hang up the hookup culture. It’s empowering. Ok, sex maybe once a year sucks, but it beats a broken heart. Get to know people before getting down. They will not only respect you, but likely be more attracted to you. A good personality is sexy. Who wants to date someone they laid on the first night? Moreover, if you know someone’s personality, you might see it wouldn’t work in the first place. Retire them to the friend shelf, because sometimes the best relationships start out as friendships.
Many of us don’t want a relationship, but companionship. We want someone to share in our success, travels, love and laughter. There’s a misconception with Millennials that we can sleep our way to a relationship and it’s just not true.
So until there’s a 10-point seriousness scale, with 1 being a one-night-stand and 10 being marriage, we’ll continue to battle the waves of the dating tide pool. While we might be drowning in loneliness and confusion, at least it’s better to die with dignity.
*Photo is for illustrative purposes only. You know that ‘ish wouldn’t fly with me.