On college campuses, the social scene is dominated by hookup culture and partying. It’s not just a way for people to meet others and make friends; hookup culture is inherently damaging, even to those who don’t participate.
Having been in college recently and having observed this phenomenon, I began to ponder how this affected the men and women who were participating and those who were not. I found that those who participated in hookup culture typically didn’t end up happy while doing so, and they frequently even regretted the event. It led me to think about what drew women, in particular, into this trend, and what the negative impact of this is on our society as a whole.
Dating Apps Encourage Meaningless Connections
Dating apps like Tinder and Bumble make it easy to find others who are just looking for a casual night of "fun." You swipe through dozens of people and judge them on a few-sentence bio and a few pictures. Women and men are meeting each other without knowing very much about the stranger they just invited to their home. This, to me, is a recipe for disaster. Not only does this raise concerns about their physical safety when it comes to meeting strangers, but there's also the obvious concern about the spread of STDs and other illnesses when meeting with multiple partners whom you don’t know much about.
It’s so easy to fall into hookup culture because, in the moment, it can make you feel good.
Hookup culture is easy for young women to fall into, particularly at a time in our lives when we’re insecure, seeking social acceptance, and learning to navigate the adult dating world. During your high school and college years, all you want is to have friends and be loved and feel valued. It’s so easy to fall into hookup culture because, in the moment, it can make you feel good – the men flatter you, they think you’re attractive, and for a night they want to be with just you. It provides a false sense of self-worth; you seek external validation and when you achieve that, you can genuinely feel good about yourself. However, I saw how this was only a temporary feeling. It left women feeling more empty and alone than they had been before they ever participated in hookup culture.
The Problem with Hookup Culture
The fundamental, most basic issue with hookup culture is that it can never achieve an emotional connection between the two participants. It prevents men and women from bonding emotionally, and that causes both the physical interaction to suffer and the resulting happiness of the men and women to suffer.
Without emotional intimacy, people are much more likely to experience depression, loneliness, and feelings of isolation. However, the act of hooking up with another person in and of itself causes a connection between two people due to the release of oxytocin, so when men and women choose not to have an emotional connection in their hookups, but that feeling develops over time anyway, it’s very confusing to both participants and leads to more feelings of unhappiness. Essentially, hookup culture can never achieve what it’s meant to achieve – physical intimacy without the commitment to emotional intimacy.
Hookup culture can never achieve what it’s meant to achieve – physical intimacy without emotional intimacy.
You can go online and swipe through potential matches like you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes. Both sexes are judged almost entirely on looks, and then are surprised that they're only able to find shallow "matches" rather than lasting connections.
It's Normal To Want Connection and Love
Our society is waging a war against the most meaningful things in our lives – family and genuine human connection. We have this idea that sex and intimacy are meaningless things to exchange between two people. People aren't encouraged to put the work into real, substantive relationships or into the things of value in life like family and purpose.
We're no longer allowed to ask for what we want: romance, love, and commitment.
In the name of freeing women from "patriarchal" sexual rules, this new freedom may come at too high a cost. We're no longer allowed to ask for what we want: romance, love, and commitment. Hooking up also makes it hard to sort out lust from love. How can you put love to the test when there's no test in the first place?
Young women are inundated with messages about hookup culture in the media, TV shows and movies, and even our music. We know deep down that something is wrong, but we're not allowed to talk about it. Hookup culture even hurts those who don't want to participate. Women must start standing up for what they really want – love and commitment. Not one night stands. We're worth more than that.