I was enjoying a walk with a new female friend when I mentioned that I was hoping I’d have the chance to safely visit a beach before the end of the summer.
I continued articulating this daydream aloud (Let’s face it, dancing barefoot in the kitchen while serenading your cat is the new #Vaca2020), when she stopped my stream of consciousness to ask where I would be going if I could pull it off. When I mentioned visiting a male friend who lived by the ocean, she tilted her head, raised an eyebrow, and gave me a smirk that insinuated I’d be getting more than tan lines from that kind of beach trip. When I laughed and told her I wouldn’t be casually hooking up with this guy, a completely different dialogue began.
Experience Is the Best Teacher
Now, as a single woman, I’m very used to inquiries about my love life, and I field these questions with varying degrees of excitement, discretion, discomfort, and enthusiasm. It wasn’t my new friend’s astonishment about my rejection of casual physical intimacy that surprised me — it was her immediate assumption that I reject hookup culture because I was ashamed of my sexuality.
I can’t be categorized as flawless, prudish, angelic, or naive.
Let’s start with some foundational truths. I can’t be categorized as flawless, prudish, angelic, or naive. My journey towards finding a partner has been one of my greatest teachers in life. I have learned many terrifying and beautiful things by making many, many mistakes. My rejection of hookup culture doesn’t come from indoctrination, a sense of superiority, an attempt at manipulation, or shame. It’s a reflection of my life’s journey.
My Experience Led Me To Reject Hookup Culture
My father taught me my value.
In my youth, I was blessed with a father who taught me my value. This is unquestionably an advantage that I thank God for every day. From him, I learned that my thoughts, drive, and personality were things that made me me. When I moved to a large city and struck out on my own, I relied heavily on my identity as a person. Not as a woman. Not as an achiever. Just as myself. In a new place, where I was anonymous and could be swayed by the influence of wanting to fit in, it was difficult, but it was always that foundation that helped me navigate my own identity.
My dad taught me that my thoughts, drive, and personality were things that made me me.
I’m the exception. There are many women who have to climb this mountain of self-identity with significantly less foundational assurance. Women like that are my heroines. Women like that make up many of my beloved friends.
My father supports me with his love.
On this journey, I had to let go. I had to let go of the crutches of youth. I had to become my own source of assurance, but I couldn’t do it on my own. It was in that valley that I found strength in God and in His love for me. This was a truly tumultuous process. I’m a stubborn woman (Thanks, Dad).
My self-worth isn't dependent on others.
I used to feel ostracized by men and women alike for my convictions, but I had an objective. I had found a value within myself that exists in all of us. I didn’t want to compromise it. Hookup culture didn’t become the enemy; it just didn’t fit my value system.
I Want Something Better Than a One-Night Stand
As a woman, I grew to know myself. I know my heart, and it yearns for a true connection. My version of connection isn’t cookie cutter or even conventional. I just know that in the long run, I’m seeking a relationship that goes far beyond the physical. That truth became my compass, and I stopped fearing the stigma of rejecting short-term gratification. I let go of the need to explain myself. I know myself.
I know my heart, and it yearns for a true connection.
I found empowerment in rejecting hookup culture, not by scoffing at it, but by embracing my own true desire to deeply connect with a partner. At times, it’s terrifying. But isn’t every worthy adventure in life terrifying?
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