Relationships

No, Being A “Sneaky Link” Isn’t Cute Or Romantic. It Means You’re A Booty Call

By Meghan Dillon··  6 min read
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You can find a lot of fun content on TikTok, but it’s also the hub for plenty of toxic dating trends.

One of the latest trends is the "sneaky link," which is essentially the modern day version of a booty call. Thousands of young women have taken to TikTok to tell stories about their sneaky links, not realizing that they’ve fallen into the toxic trap of hookup culture and false empowerment. Some even go so far as to make it seem romantic (while pairing their video to songs like “Wildest Dreams” by Taylor Swift), but we hate to break it to them: there’s nothing romantic or gratifying about being someone’s hookup buddy or shameful secret.

What’s a Sneaky Link?

Since I will admit that I generally use TikTok to look at videos of puppies and am not super familiar with this trend myself, I decided to do some digging via the internet’s most reliable source, Urban Dictionary. According to Urban Dictionary, a sneaky link can be defined as “a sexual or non-sexual experience that nobody knows about (it’s usually a sexual experience)” or “when you and another person are f***ing but don’t want anyone to know about it.” 

After scrolling through #sneakylink on TikTok, I found three main genres of sneaky link videos. The first is of women sharing stories about their sneaky links and how it’s hard not to "catch feelings" for him (more on that later). The second type of video is of women and men lip-synching to the song “Sneaky Link 2.0” with the lyrics, “boy you just my sneaky link, please stop texting me, I’m not your b*tch, stop checking me.” 

The third type of video struck me the most, as it was women getting ready to see their sneaky links by showing them getting ready in the shower (scrubbing, shaving, moisturizing, these girls are putting in the work) and picking out cute lingerie to wear under their comfy clothes. It shocked me because these women are putting in so much time and effort for a guy who only wants to see them late at night in secret. I get that it’s supposed to be a casual hookup (or even an affair), but why are these women wasting their expensive lingerie (and their time and their bodies) on these losers who are clearly just using them for sex?

Unfortunately, this trend is just another example of hookup culture at its worst. This trend is glamorizing and romanticizing casual sex and affairs, ignoring the fact that women are more likely to develop feelings for a casual sexual partner than men. It’s also proof that many women today have bought into the hookup culture narrative and don’t see how they’re worth more than a booty call.

There’s a Good Chance You’ll “Catch Feelings” for the Guy 

Many of the women in these TikToks mention how they don’t want to "catch feelings" for their sneaky link, completely ignoring (or are ignorant of) how their own biology works. Hookup culture has perpetuated a narrative suggesting that women should "have sex like men," which is shorthand for casual sex without any meaning or emotions involved. This ignores the fact that women release more oxytocin than men do during and after sex. 

Oxytocin is a hormone that creates and promotes feelings of love and attachment. Women releasing high levels of oxytocin during and after sex means they’re more likely to develop feelings for and a bond with sexual partners than men are. Female bodies just weren’t designed for casual sex because babies are the natural consequence of sex, and it's ingrained in our bodies and brains that having a reliable partner is best for the mother's and baby's survival. Though many of these women are determined not to catch feelings for their sneaky link, it’s only a matter of time before their own biology catches up to them.

For college girls, an overly serious suitor fills the same role as an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century.

Ironically, much of hookup culture is perpetuated by modern-day feminists who ignore the research behind the negative effects of hookup culture in the name of female empowerment. Hanna Rosin of The Atlantic explains this perfectly, as she writes, “To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of a hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women – not men – who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind. For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role as an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.”

With feminism being so popular among young women, it’s no wonder why so many of them buy into the empowerment myth of hookup culture. What’s sad is that many of these women are led to degrade themselves, failing to recognize that they’re worth more than being some random guy’s booty call or secret affair.

You’re Worth So More Than Just Being His Booty Call

I can’t believe I have to write this in 2022. Ladies, you are worth so much more than being his booty call. Despite our popular culture pushing this myth, women are worth more than their sexuality. It’s no secret that both Millennials and Gen Zer's show high rates of depression, and hookup culture likely plays a significant role. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s the sole cause of young Americans suffering from mental health problems (there are probably hundreds of reasons why younger generations are struggling), but assuming that hookup culture has contributed to this is not far-fetched.

Both Millennials and Gen Zer's show high rates of depression, and hookup culture probably plays a role.

Studies show that casual sex (and is there anything more casual than a sneaky link?) can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Susan Krauss Whitborne, Ph.D., writes, “Researchers examining the mental health associations of hookup sex also report that participants who were not depressed before showed more depressive symptoms and loneliness after engaging in casual sex.”

Viewing yourself as a sex object or shameful secret is a recipe for misery and low self-esteem. My hope is that these women realize sooner rather than later that they’re worth so much more than being a sneaky link.

Closing Thoughts

Young women may be romanticizing having a sneaky link on TikTok but, make no mistake, there’s nothing cute or romantic about being some random guy’s booty call or secret affair. These women have bought into the myth that casual sex is empowering, failing to acknowledge the negative consequences that casual sex creates. Though it’s sad to see, it’s important to stop romanticizing these types of relationships on social media because promoting casual hookups does nothing but make women miserable.

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