5 Things I Learned About Hookup Culture

Definition [well, according to Wikipedia]: a culture that accepts and encourages casual sexual encounters, including one-night stands and other related activity, without necessarily including emotional bonding or long-term commitment.

Welcome to hookup culture: a common, yet messy, part of college life. And from what I have learned, boy does it make you question a lot of topics. However, no matter how complex or chaotic it was, it also helped me understand social concepts I never really considered.


1. You’ll catch feelings at least once and honestly, that’s okay

“Catching feels” is part of being human. There is no invention that indefinitely blocks out the brain’s limbic system (the part that controls emotion). During any physcially sexual activity, especially something as intimate and revealing as sex, partners can be physically drawn to one another even more. Why? The answer lies within a chemical reaction. Sex and emotions, suggested in a 2018 study, are intertwined within the same pathways in the brain. While each is located in different parts of the brain, one being the cerebral cortex and the other in the striatum, both involve a hormone called kisspeptin. (Also, what are the odds of the hormone having the word ‘kiss’ in it? Coincidence, I think NOT.) While many may attempt to block out any emotional feelings that may arise during sex, it is our biological nature to grow feelings of care or love when physical attraction is involved.

Aside from the science of it all, feelings are simply okay to have in general. The toxicity of hookup culture is that it convinces us that commitment and the desire for connection is embarrassing and a PHAT NO-NO. There is a restriction to conceive any type of attraction for your partner unless it is in a sexual context– to broaden one’s views and test having authentic feelings is prohibited. If we are to state that we want more than just casual sex, we may lose the entire relationship in general. The perpetual fear of that and the preference of avoiding any embarrassment results in the shutdown of, well, our feelings. And that’s not okay.


2. It doesn’t make you a slut/whore/(insert-other-objectifying-terms-used-to-label-others)

Accepting consensual, casual sex does not equate nor give any sort of validation to slut-shaming. While there may be judgment from others (as there always is in a society that tends to love spilling tea), nothing should validate the idea of calling somebody a whore, slut, or any sort of degrading language regarding their sexual preferences. If somebody wants to just let their horniness out, let them. If somebody wants just a quickie and done, so be it. Just be safe! 

With that, nobody should feel that their value or “worthiness” has decreased just because they participate in hookup culture. Do not feel ashamed or guilty for giving in to your sexual desires. It’s nature. It’s being human. It’s biological and hormones are a thing. Another toxic component of this culture is that while it supports the idea of casual sex with no attachment, it equally allows outsiders to shame participants and equates them with disrespect, disgust, and humiliation. All of which should not be permitted or tolerated. 


3. It’s normal to want sex

Horniness is a thing, for guys AND girls. If you’re on Tinder, Hinge, or any of the online dating apps, you may feel as though your sex drive is getting a bit intense. Even if it is just a casual, random hookup from a party, it may feel as though we are taking things a bit too far. “Am I really that horny that I’m going to hook up with this guy I’m not even dating?” It’s normal to want sex. It is normal to be horny. Constant horniness is normal in males, but rarely is it discussed for females. While most girls may not be as horny as most guys, they do have their urges. Allowing yourself to indulge through hooking up is perfectly acceptable and you shouldn’t have to question your own sexual desires. 


4. Your safety comes first 

Repeat after me: consent and condoms. Consent and condoms. 

(There are other aspects that are equally as important that I am not disregarding at all; however, these two are key factors I believe should be a priority when it comes to your safety.)

Consent: you may have agreed to it at first, but if you start to get uncomfortable, you are allowed to back out whenever you want. No, you’re not being an inconvenience. It may seem like you are, considering that you and the other person may not know each other well, but it is better to stop then to proceed. No, you don’t need to apologize. If your gut feeling is telling you that you’re just not into it right now, listen to it, please. Your safety and comfortability should take priority over “getting it on.” 

Condoms: protection is always great to help prevent pregnancy and the transfer of any sexually transmitted diseases. While it does help to ask one another if they have ever been tested, the interrogation of one’s sexual health may lead to it being a bit awkward– and nobody likes that, trust. This is why many choose to avoid the heavy question, even though it does involve our health and safety. So, just to be safe, make sure to use protection. 

Image result for mean girls gif on pregnancy


5. Don’t let it change your perception of love or commitment 

With the prevalence of Tinder and Bumble, the idea of love can be diminished with a single swipe. Slowly and subconsciously, we condition ourselves to agree with the idea of being detached and emotionless. Hooking up is a means for temporary satisfaction and sexual urges, not love. And yet, one-night stands and the occasional hookups make us feel as though love is a fabrication or a privilege that only some can attain. Don’t let it. 

There is still such a thing called love. It still exists, no matter how restrained you may feel from the idea of it. Hookups and lust are meant to be temporary, love is not. 


Basically, if you want a summary of this entire article:

  1. Have feelings, who gives a f*ck.

  2. You are a worthy human being and nothing can dimish that.

  3. To have sex or to not have sex, that is your choice.

  4. The 3 C’s: consent, comfort, condoms.

  5. There is something called love, don’t forget that.