Hookup Guilt and How to Make it Stop

Being a woman in 2018 means having to deal with the idea of casual sex everywhere you turn. As a result of dating apps and the lack of commitment that exists in today’s relationships, “hooking up” with someone is not uncommon. While many people may define hookups differently, I associate the word strictly with sexual relations. Due to recently joining the single train once again, I have found myself riddled with guilt when I even consider hooking up with someone. This often leads me to wonder why I feel this way when it’s clear that the guy certainly doesn’t. I may preach “sex is just sex,” but how much do I actually believe that? So we had sex… why do I feel so guilty?

Personally, I categorize hookup guilt as a feeling somewhere between regret and acceptance. Most of the time, it’s not that I regret my actions, it’s that society's disapproval of my sexual behaviour forces me to reconsider my actions. There exists a double standard: while a man can hookup with a plethora of women and be seen as a “stud,” women who sleep around are seen as “sluts.” Despite my disagreement with the word “slut” being an insult, it is often used as a derogatory term to degrade women in particular. As someone who is open about my sexuality, I grew up being called many derogatory names due to my actions and as a result, became an extremely secretive person for a large portion of my life.

It was around mid-high school when I finally came to the realization that sex is completely normal and that I shouldn’t feel ashamed for liking or participating in it. It was also at this time that I started to reevaluate how I viewed people who slept around while also starting to wonder why everyone seemed to care so much.

Ask yourself this: why are we so obsessed with other people’s sexual choices if they don’t directly affect our own lives? But also, why do we care so much about other people’s opinions of our personal sex lives?

My solution: Let’s all just start minding our own genitals.

However, despite trying to remain open-minded to my own desires and closed-minded to anyone who tries to judge them, I have continued to catch myself in the dreaded cycle of hookup guilt.

After a night out, I catch myself watching the girls who jump into cabs outside of the bars with guys they met two hours ago and wonder if she, too, will wake up feeling guilty the next morning. But ladies… what are we truly guilty of? Is having sex with a stranger really that inexcusable? Often times I hear girls refer to men who sleep around as “f*ck boys,” but is there really anything wrong with being a “f*ck girl” if everything is consensual between you and the guy you’re having sex with? Why do we not think twice when a guy takes a girl home, but refer to the girl who went home with him as “easy?” With dating apps at our fingertips packed full of people to have sex with, why is it absurd to take someone up on an offer if you both thoroughly want to do it?

Even as someone who constantly writes about sex and is very open about the topic, I still catch myself questioning my behaviours in fear of judgement. More times than not, I decline drinks at the bar, don’t reply to proposed hookups, and am mindful about how I respond to someone hitting on me. What I can’t seem to figure out, however, is whether these automatic choices are a result of how I truly feel or based solely on how society has molded me to be. Why is it that women are supposed to be pure and holy virgins while men can indulge in sex as much as they like without being judged?

I believe that 2018 should be the year we eliminate the stigma surrounding casual sex, start allowing ourselves to fulfill our desires, and stop judging those who already do. It’s time we realize that hooking up with someone is completely normal and that having spontaneous sex with a stranger isn’t an act of promiscuity! If you hit on a guy at the bar and invite him back to your place, you should feel empowered, not easy! Whenever that hookup guilt hits you, remind yourself that consensual sex isn’t dirty, that you are more than your sexual behaviours, and that anyone who chooses to judge you isn’t worth your time.

For decades, women have been told to keep an aspirin between their knees, but I say we save the aspirins for our hangovers rather than our hookups.

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