Is There Hope? Why Gen Z Is Ditching Hookup Culture For Commitment

Whether it’s another hit HBO series, a friend telling their adventurous explorations in the land of sex, or one more song on the radio that sings the same old message – one-night stand, meaningless sex – it seems the idea of hookup culture is all too popular.

By Chloë Lemaster3 min read
Is There Hope? Why Gen Z Is Ditching Hookup Culture For Commitment

Though our culture and media have made hookup culture increasingly popular, not everyone is on board with the proposal that sex is empty and meaningless. Here are just a few reasons why.

The Heart Is Not in It

More than attention or temporary gratification, all humans do want the same thing. And no, it’s not cheap sex. It’s feeling wanted, and there’s nothing that will leave you feeling less wanted than a situation where a person doesn’t stick around. 

All humans want to feel wanted. Not used and discarded.

No matter how many times we’d like to say we’re “just doing it for fun,” we can’t avoid the emotions designed into us. Several studies have found that men and women alike experience emotional damage and regret following hookups. One study states that 72% of college students surveyed regret at least one previous sexual experience. With our hearts on the line and plenty of emotional evidence to back up the facts, Gen Z is finding it easier than ever to put commitment first.

Commitment Is the New Aesthetic

There aren’t many – if any – romance films that romanticize hookups. And there’s definitely not one that shows purely uncommitted sex – it always becomes something more. Why? Because there’s no heart to it, no happy ending. There’s nothing to share on Instagram and nothing to make other people look over and go “Aww, look at those two. That’s what I want.” Shallow reasoning though it may be, we can’t help but want to show off the things that make us happy, and in the file under “hookups,” aesthetically pleasing simply isn’t found. 

A New Stigma Arises

While hookup culture became increasingly popular among the feminists and sexual rights activists of the ‘70s and ‘90s, the patriarchal blame hasn’t quite disappeared. With sites like OnlyFans offering a financial outlet for women willing to share what they’d like with subscribers, it seems like sexual empowerment is right on the verge of success.  But unfortunately, the demand for sexualizing women hasn’t disappeared, only been redirected. 

Men’s desires have only become easier to satisfy as more women fall prey to hookup culture.

It’s impossible not to question the who behind this new sexual revolution. But with the likes of Tim Stokely (OnlyFans CEO) being deemed “the king of homemade porn,” it seems like men and their desires are still the driving force behind women’s sexuality and empowerment. Hookup culture is no different. While women have been raised to think they can now do what men can do, men’s desires have only become easier to satisfy as more women are likely to fall prey to the myths hookup culture promotes. A few of today’s feminists are seeing through this faulty loophole and aren’t falling for it. 

The Truth Is Out There

One driving force in being discouraged from hookup culture and the negative effects it produces has been more accessible education on uncommitted sex. From Instagram slides to a massive number of articles ready for reading, there’s no shortage of information out there, and Gen Z is using it. 

Television and film aren’t the only influencing elements for Gen Z. Plenty of us are looking in the right places for life advice, and now, more than ever, the information is out there, ready for us. Curiosity might kill the cat, but it also curbs interest in uncommitted sex. With more research about the negative physical and mental health effects of hooking up, Gen Z has been equipped with the facts when it comes to one-night stands.

But Mom, Everyone’s Doing It

Though the kids of Euphoria, Sex Education, and 13 Reasons Why make it out that everyone is doing the deed, the kids of real life know this isn’t the case. The FOMO we’re feeling is for those going strong, the ten-month anniversaries, and dinner with his parents. Those couples who are killing it? That’s what Gen Z wants. Commitment is the new cool. We might be the generation of instant gratification, but we’re also the generation that won’t settle for things that don’t make us happy. 

We’re the generation that won’t settle for things that don’t make us happy

With the likes of Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas, Hailey and Justin Bieber, Avani Gregg and Anthony Reeves, young celebrities have made youthful commitment all the rage. Though jumping on board for a more traditional standard of young marriage might not yet be conventional, it’s definitely becoming a trend to dive in for the long haul.

Millennials’ Mark Made

If Gen Z hasn’t learned from our own mistakes, we’ve most certainly learned from the mistakes of those before us. The kids of the ‘90s and early 2000s were the first targets of hookup culture being normalized. Sure, out of wedlock and uncommitted sex were around before Millennials’ time, but at that point, it was still a taboo subject. Millennials were the first to have uncommitted sex not only normalized, but encouraged. 

With this culture taking root, all of its lessons followed suit. Millennials’ experiences soon became tales passed on to their kids and the generation that followed them. What was considered cool in their youth quickly became life lessons that we’ve all heard a time or two. Gen Z has been given the privilege of learning from the experiences lived by those before us. 

Closing Thoughts

Hookup culture is old news. It’s a bright rebellion that’s burnt out, replaced by a generation that seeks love and acceptance in all places, including sex. We’re a new generation, one that’s grown up hearing all about how our decisions will impact our futures. Though the media wants to paint us a black and white picture of what our sex lives look like, we know better. We’re the generation with instant education, remember? 

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