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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Recent data reveals that between 60 percent and 80 percent of North American college students have experienced a “hookup” in some manner. Hookup culture is incredibly prominent not only on social media but also in the daily lives of the majority of college students. Dr. Lisa Wade of Tulane University contends that the hookup culture is eradicating people’s conceptions of emotionally satisfying sex, reasonable expectations, and boundary-setting. 

She quotes, “Notably, my research suggests that hookup culture is a problem not because it promotes casual sex, but because it makes a destructive form of casual sexual engagement feel compulsory. Students who don’t hook up can end up being socially isolated, while students who do engage in this way are forced to operate by a dysfunctional set of rules. Hookup culture encourages a punishing emotional landscape, where caring for others or even simple courtesy seem inappropriate, while carelessness and even cruelty are allowed.”

How do we deal with hookup culture when it seems as if we are being suffocated by it? Here are a few tips for dealing with the toxicity of these societal norms.

When you feel lonely, take time to improve yourself

There will be periods of your love life that are seeming to appear a touch more lonesome than usual. That’s okay! Instead of ruminating over this, take some time for yourself. In addition to making you feel better, focusing on something positive, like taking up a new hobby or simply spending time with friends and family, will help you from obsessing over the fact you are single. It’s not worth your time! 

Learn about what you want in a relationship

Recognizing and acknowledging the distinction between whether you’re searching for a one-night stand or a committed relationship is crucial. It is only possible to meet people who share your interests in romantic relationships if you are clear about what you also personally want. If you can’t communicate what you want, then you not only are confusing yourself, but anyone you are trying to engage with romantically.

Don’t rush yourself into new relationships

You don’t need to hurry into or try to force a relationship. When it comes to finding the right person for you, there is nothing wrong with taking your time. Allow the relationship to develop naturally by moving gradually. Don’t get involved in a hookup just because your friends are or you’re hankering for some physical affection.

Gain respect for not only yourself, but also your partners

Intentions and ethics start with you. Do not settle for someone because you feel pressured to hook up with them. People are something we take for granted in this day and age and exploit for our own ends. We only find value in people that are valuable to us. Learn to respect others for who they are as individuals, and perhaps you’ll gain respect for yourself also.

Be yourself!

Don’t belittle yourself; you are more valuable than that. Simply be who you are. You can’t waste away comparing yourself to the other people they’re hooking up with, or contemplate why certain individuals don’t remain around for longer. Those who like you will continue to do so, and you shouldn’t waste your time on those who don’t. Your soulmate will be the person who liked you for you.

While hookup culture may seem all-consuming, implementing a couple of these concepts into your daily life may prevent you from succumbing to the toxicity.

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Lexi Lackmann

U Mass Amherst '26

Lexi Lackmann is a freshman at UMass Amherst majoring in journalism with a concentration in public relations. In her free time she loves reading, horror movies, drawing, and experimenting with makeup and fashion.