One of the terms associated most often with today’s generation, and more specifically with college students, is “hookup culture.”
As defined by Wikipedia, this is the idea that “one that accepts and encourages casual sexual encounters, including one-night stands and other related activity, which focus on physical pleasure without necessarily including emotional bonding or long-term commitment.”
Or, the way most people like to look at it is this: The hookup culture is a trend created by millennials afraid of commitment, which in turn, has destroyed the realm of dating and relationships.
However, I see nothing wrong with the hookup culture.
While many believe sex should only happen between two people who are in a relationship and are in love, and some even believe it should only occur between a married couple, I don’t necessarily agree that this has to always be the case.
As someone who is very outspoken about equality, every person around me knows I consider myself – wait for it, the dreaded “F” word – a feminist. However, I have had some people, even close friends, say to me I am going against said feminist views by supporting the hookup culture.
But that is where I beg to differ.
I believe the hookup culture makes women stronger and shows that both men and women really can be equal.
Now, you might be wondering what in the world I’m talking about. You might be asking yourself, “How in the world do casual sexual encounters empower women?” Well, let me try to explain to you how I look at this.
Take a minute to think of how society reacts to people sleeping around.
For decades now, men having sexual encounters with multiple women, most of who they are usually not in a relationship with, is seen as totally normal. However, if a woman does the same, it is frowned upon. She is seen as easy; she is seen as impure and dirty and she is slut shamed for it.
And of course, I am sure every one of you has heard some version of this horrifically sexist metaphor before: “A key that can open many locks is a master key. A lock that can be opened by many keys is a shitty lock.”
This is a misogynistic idea that has gone on for far too long.
However, with the hookup culture becoming more prominent, women are changing, too.
There are more and more females in today’s society who are unapologetic about their sexuality. There are more women who choose to engage in the hookup culture without being afraid of the stigma that comes with being a woman who enjoys casual sex.
Both women and men today, especially young adults in college settings, are told it is OK for them to experiment with their sexuality. It is OK for both genders to enjoy sleeping with more than one partner. It shows them they have the right to have consensual sex with another person even if the two people are not in a romantic relationship.
The way I look at it, the hookup culture has, at least, one advantage: It helps shatter double standards and promotes gender equality.
That is the feminist side of me that supports the hookup culture.
However, even if you put the feminist aspect aside, even just as a millennial myself, I believe that the hookup culture is really not as screwed up as many people believe.
While writing this piece, I decided to research more on the effects of casual sex, and I came across a Ted Talk at the College of William and Mary given by Dr. Zhana Vrangalova. Vrangalova specializes in studying the ways sexuality and psychological health is interlinked.
While she discusses that casual sexual encounters are definitely not for everyone, her conclusion is this: For the most part, there is absolutely nothing inherently “wrong” or dangerously unhealthy with having casual sex.
Aside from this, I also believe the idea that the hookup culture is destroying relationships is nothing but a myth.
Society’s acceptance of casual sex has not abolished real relationships or love.
There are still many people who believe in waiting until marriage or until they find someone they love. There are still many people who would much rather date and get involved in a committed relation, and that is completely fine.
This is not my way of saying every person should participate in casual sex. I am not saying you should go sleep with a different person every weekend. Rather, I am saying it is OK if you choose to do that, just as it is OK if you choose not to.
At the end of the day, each person has their preferences as to how they want their relationships and sexual encounters to be, and as long as they are all happy, it is up to us as a society to stop judging this “hookup culture” and just let people be.