'Hookup culture' has become a popular trend as a result of the acceptance of casual sexual encounters and encouragement for self-expression and freedom. Often occurring outside the boundaries of romantic or committed relationships, one of the biggest contributors has been the rise of feminism and feminist movements and its glorification in pop culture.
Sexual behaviour outside the confines of traditional committed relationships is becoming more socially acceptable and increasingly typical. And it can be a good thing, depending upon the end trajectories of each individual. Tinder's popularity (although now on the decline) is testament to how more casual interactions have been favoured in recent years.
However, just because hook-up culture has been widely accepted doesn’t necessarily mean that it's always the right thing to do.
Dr. Lisa Wade, a sociologist renowned for her critique of casual sex and its effect on mental health has found that hookup culture can be damaging for our wellbeing. Many health experts agree that this approach to intimacy negates your emotional needs as well as putting you at an increased risk of STDs, which can ultimately leave you vulnerable, and mentally unprepared for long-term or lasting romantic relationships.
Books such as Unhooked by Laura Sessions Stepp have also highlighted the adverse effects of hookup culture. The truth is that even though sex shouldn’t be taboo or a secretive subject that we speak about in hushed tones, hookup culture does not encourage the mutual respect most people want in long-term relationships.
Sex is an act that you do to show someone you care deeply, and that you want to gain a deeper understanding of them for the sake of a relationship. Having someone you think of passionately, see often and want to grow with is an incredible aspect of being human. When you choose to have sex with someone, you give up part of yourself and they, in turn, trust you enough to participate with you.
If we lived in a different world, maybe we could all have sex with each other with mutual understanding and respect. However, the truth is that the world we live in is pretty judgmental. In the end, it's highly likely that someone will get disrespected, used, or hurt in a way that won’t be easy to forget. Worst of all, misaligned goals can lead to heartbreak, feelings of inadequacy and emotional trauma.
It can be said that hookup culture promotes the objectification of other people, and the more you get into it, the harder it is to have an appreciation of what it means to cultivate love and passion with someone you care about.
What is often only apparent after the fact, is that this culture is promoting unhappy and unproductive behaviours. Have you ever hooked up with someone else, only to regret it later? Many people who engage in this way report negative physical, emotional, and social consequences. Many say they feel embarrassed about the hookup, as well as feeling loss of self-respect.
But the biggest price we pay, is the waste of precious time and emotional energy on people who do not see our long term happiness as their priority. It is a culture that is often glorified, but the truth is that most of us are looking for connections that will be the foundation of a long-term relationship with lasting commitment.