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Sex + Relationships

Evolution of Spring Break and Hookup Culture

Every year thousands college students make their way to a beach to drink and party for a week-- they call this called spring break.


Spring break has been a time for college students to get away from school since the 1930s. It started as college swimmers making their way to Florida for warmer weather and became an annual trip which has evolved over the years into the spring break we have today.


Florida is the main destination for Spring Breakers and there is a reason Florida has been so popular historically. Up until 1987 Florida's drinking age was eighteen. Although that has changed Florida's spring break popularity has not.


Last year the Orlando Sentinel predicted about 2.8 million visitors to come to Orlando alone for spring break, most of which are college students.


The sexual revolution in the 1970s was the beginning of the wild spring breaks we see today. The first wet T-shirt contest was held in 1975 and has been a degrading part of spring break ever since.


The sexualization of the spring break culture skyrocketed with the introduction of MTV. The popular TV network filmed and broadcast the wild parties, drunk college students and half-naked women to the rest of country and established the idea spring break was the epitome of fun.   


The 90s brought the “Girls Gone Wild” films, which promoted women taking off their clothes, flashing the camera, and performing sexual acts. This created a culture where this behavior was not only encouraged but expected.


Today, spring break is still very popular and with each passing decade it seems that there are less boundaries and more sex.


Men on spring break start to expect more out of women, sexually. Spring break becomes time where students to the beach, get drunk and have casual sex. The time off school is an excuse to “let loose”.


Another driving force behind spring break culture is that the idea of spring break has been romanticized by movies and TV. There have been numerous films about spring break that warp the realities of it.


The hookup culture surrounding spring break is accompanied by some serious repercussions. The addition of alcohol does not promote sound decision making. There are many cases of sexual assault during spring break and the risk of contracting an STD or becoming pregnant are highented.


It is interesting to look back on the concept of spring break and see how it has changed. Spring break has always brought in enormous amount of money to hotels, businesses, and media outlets that capitalize on young people’s desires to party and have sex.


Spring break has created a culture that has created many problems. If you have decided to head to a spring break destination this year stay safe and be responsible. And remember that despite what the media may tell you, nothing sexual is required of you. Enjoy your time off school and have fun...but not too much fun.

Kristi is a senior at the University of Kentucky, with a Journalism major and an English minor. She is from Pittsburgh, PA and enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and watching documentaries. She hopes to find a job where she can write and be creative after graduation.
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