Sorry, Red Pill Men, You’re Not Immune To The Damage Of Hookup Culture

Contrary to what the men on X will tell you, hookup culture is just as detrimental for men as it is for women.

By Mia Gonzalez3 min read
Pexels/cottonbro studio

Women are no strangers to double standards. We’ve all lamented the fact that being assertive will get us called bossy, or that not wearing makeup to work makes us seem unprofessional while men live their whole lives bare-faced, or that unhealthy body standards have glorified one very particular female body type. It’s true that part of simply being human means being confronted with such double standards, but these particular ones are unique to the female experience.

Another double standard that women are faced with? The idea that a woman who engages in hookup culture is forever damaged goods, but a man who engages in hookup culture isn’t affected at all (and is even praised for it); that a man should be able to bed any number of women and expect to marry a woman who’s a virgin; that a man’s body count doesn’t matter one bit while a woman’s directly reflects her value as a human being.

But contrary to how many discussions on this subject go, we’re not here to argue that women should also be able to sleep with however many men they please without any repercussions. We’re not here to advocate for more casual hookups or more one-night stands or a universal standard that says hookup culture is good in any sense. No, we’re here to tell you that hookup culture isn’t only damaging for women – it’s damaging for men too. Here’s how.

It Could Affect His Future Relationships

Hookup culture does have an effect on our relationships in the future. While having slept with someone before has no bearing on our inherent value, having engaged in casual relationships can have an impact on our relationships in the future, from causing jealousy to trust issues to problems with staying committed.

But it’s not only a woman’s future relationships that could be impacted by sleeping around. Hookup culture trains a man to devalue women, to see them as an instrument to utilize for his satisfaction. He is practicing a lack of respect for them.

It’s only logical that a man who has made a habit of seeing women as objects would struggle to cultivate a healthy, mature relationship with one in the future. Hookup culture doesn’t only keep men from experiencing long-term relationships – it forms and feeds habits that will make being in a committed relationship all the more difficult.

It Could Spread STDs

The most common and practical reason not to sleep around? The potential spread of STIs and STDs, which, needless to say, don’t only target women. In 2021, the CDC reported that the spread of STDs was at an all-time high. Studies show that individuals who engage in casual encounters are far more likely to be diagnosed with an STI than those who don’t engage at all.

A real man exercises self-control rather than giving in to his base desires. 

It Hurts Men’s Mental Health

We’ve all heard countless stories about women who regretted hooking up with a guy, but it turns out, it’s not just women who experience this regret. According to the American Psychological Association, a survey of nearly 1,500 undergraduate college students found that 72% of the men who had had a casual encounter felt regret afterward – only a 6% difference from the 78% of women surveyed who expressed the same emotional experience. This hardly reflects the assumption that post-hookup regret is a female-only experience.

Furthermore, a U.S. study found that both men and women who’d gotten tangled up in hookup culture were more likely to have low self-esteem, experience symptoms of depression and psychological distress, report decreased life satisfaction, and state that they felt casual sex had “damaged their soul.” Not just that, but the more hookups someone has points to a stronger likelihood of greater psychological suffering.

It Promotes (Real) Toxic Masculinity

“Women don’t want virgins. A virgin man has no value, a virgin woman is most valuable,” says one X user. Aside from the implication that in order to gain value, a man must, by their logic, devalue a woman that he has no intention of marrying by sleeping with her (thus treating her not as a human being but as an object to use for his gain before discarding), the idea that a man isn’t a real man until he’s been sexually promiscuous is a myth that promotes immature, unhealthy, toxic masculinity.

A real man isn’t toxic. A real man sees women as human beings with inherent value. A real man respects women and desires to love one woman well, just as he would want for his sister or his daughter. A real man exercises self-control rather than giving in to his base desires. A real man uses his strength to protect, not overpower or control. A real man isn’t emotionally detached from all that he does. A real man doesn’t selfishly seek to serve himself, no matter the consequences for others. Sleeping with a slew of women and expecting zero repercussions does not a real man make.

An immature, toxic understanding of what a “real” man is hurts women, but it also deeply harms men and leads them into destructive behavior.

Closing Thoughts

The damaging effects of hookup culture don’t discriminate based on gender. Casual encounters hurt women and men alike, and men pretending to have a green pass to do whatever they please doesn’t change that fact.

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