The internet is quite a strange place. You can find anything, from the last season of A Different World to a new significant other, all with a few strokes of the keyboard, and the click of a button. Dating in this generation has been revolutionized with the introduction of websites such as Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Hot or Not, etc. etc. the list goes on and on.
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Most of the time you meet someone on these sites, you hang out a few times, and then you never hear from them ever again, but, why? We have entered into what I like to call the ‘Vortext’. You meet an individual, you text them for a week (a week and a half if you’re kinda funny), hookup, and then, you never speak again. Tragic, really. You’re left wondering what you did wrong, and now you’re up ugly-crying and playing Beyoncé’s Lemonade (specifically Sandcastles) on repeat for the next 4 hours (I feel for you, my friend. Stay strong). So what is this hookup culture? What has it done to our relationships?
Hookup culture is defined as the acceptance or encouragement of casual sexual encounters, including one night stands and other related activity, which focus on physical pleasure without necessarily including emotional bonding or long-term commitment.
Now for some people, this works, but for others it doesn’t. According to a 2012 study conducted in Canada, almost 80% of college-aged men and roughly 70% of college women reported feelings of regret post hookup (over a period of time). Within this group, 27.1% of participants reported being embarrassed, 24.7% reported emotional difficulties, 20.8% reported feeling a loss of respect towards the other party involved and 10% reported having difficulties with keeping/having a steady partner.
The interesting piece to think about is the fact that even within these results, there are still more factors that come into play, such as the presence of drugs and/or alcohol. According to another study done in 2012, people who were more prone to low self-esteem reported ultimately feeling the same way after hooking up, and those who didn’t feel self-conscious to begin with, reported feeling more self-conscious afterwards. What about these people, or even, what is it about us, that makes us so self-conscious after hooking up with someone? Could it be that we often find ourselves thinking about the person we told ourselves not to think about, or want?
Personally I feel like the media portrays this concept of no strings attached, and robotic action so much so that we have been desensitized to the point that we hate the idea of even acknowledging the fact that we have feelings and as a result we do not know how to express them. Of course, this is a situational topic. Some people may be able to have casual sex and not feel anything or have any problems with having/keeping a relationship, but there is a silent population of people who are almost made to feel “crazy” (And I use the term lightly) for having and being in touch with their feelings.
So what are we to do? The only way to “protect” yourself from this hook up culture is essentially to just ask and see what the intentions of the individual are before engaging in sexual activity. It’ll save you time, and heartbreak.
Dominique is currently studying Psychology at Bridgewater State University with a double minor in Middle East Studies and Music. In her spare time, she is a poet and artist. She hopes to use her voice as both a journalist and artist to empower the unheard.