I wrote this article to focus on the reasons and effects of the “hookup” culture based on what I have SEEN. Obviously at my age, my observations will be limited. I’m just sharing my opinion.
Recently, I was introduced to the app “Tinder” through some of my friends. While my friends explained the workings of Tinder to me and “swiped right”, all I could think about was, how this app further enhanced the “hookup” culture prevalent amongst my generation.
Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I find that the “hookup” culture condones the absence of a relationship rather than the presence of one. With humans being social beings, the need for companionship is a deep-seated necessity. But I’m unsure, whether a “hookup” is really fulfilling this need? Rather, I see it as an attempt to satisfy the need for companionship by exercising sexual prowess and having a one-time sexual encounter with a stranger. They feel desired, powerful and in control for a good part of the night perhaps and yet it most likely leaves they feeling more lonely and emotionally unavailable than ever. It portrays sex, perhaps the the intimate act of love between two people, as casual and meaningless.
I guess a lot of older people reading this will say that they have tried to having meaningful relationships, but it never worked out for “x”, “y”, “z’ reason and now they’ve decided they want casual relationships. That’s cool, do your thing. I can’t say too much about that because I don’t know. However, for people my age (17-23), a lot of us (not all, but a lot) are looking for someone to “hookup” with because we SAY want to have “fun” and “YOLO”. However, I think the reason is different. From what I have seen – a lot of young people (including me) feel a certain amount of inadequacy, uncertainty and instability (though I don’t think it’s something that does away as we get older either?). We’re in that awkward transition from high school to college, part way between becoming an adult and wanting to remain a child. We try to overcome and compensate for this by “hooking up” with strangers. In an ironic way looking for temporary stability and love.
For example, take ANY romantic-comedy you have seen – Walk of Shame, Two-Night Stand, Knocked-Up whatever. Think back and recall WHY any of those characters “hooked up” with someone. To get back at their ex? Because they were miserable? To fit in? They were drunk? The answer is all of the above and more. Only a fraction of the time, it was because the character actually wanted to. Many a time it was a shortcoming within themselves that led them to hook up with someone. As movies have some roots to reality, maybe that is something worth looking into?
I worry about the effects of this on my peer groups, especially my friends. While it’s fun and games now, there has to be SOME effect on a person’s psyche and emotional well-being. There’s a reason why our society places emphasis on long term relationship, right? What happens one day when they look back and regret their decisions? Or some of them start to feel used and their sense of self, self-respect, pride and dignity has degraded significantly? Unfortunately I don’t know. I’m yet to see the effects.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that to all the young people who are “hooking up”, I hope you have considered the long term psychological consequences of what you are doing because while it is fun in the moment and what you want to do, it may be more damaging than you think. And we all know emotional scars are invisible, yet take the longest to heal and often do the most damage.