I’m not going to define “The Hook-up Culture” because the honest truth is that you’re reading this article because you more than likely not only know what it is, but are also a part of it. I don’t have to tell you what we are doing as a generation. I don’t have to tell you the statistics. I don’t have to do any of that because the point is that we already know, yet refuse to make a change.
We refuse to make a change because we see no reason to. The problem is that often in life the most dangerous of problems go unseen and there are many reasons to make a change. There are many reasons to kill “The Hook-up Culture”, because if we don’t, it may kill us first.
1. It is destroying intimacy.
Yes, I know that at this current moment you may not be concerned with preserving the value of intimacy, but one day you may. One day you may hope to be married or in a very serious relationship in which sex is a display of honest love and true passion. If we keep making sex more casual and common, we are taking away its ability to be a surreal connection between the people who we will actually be partners with in this world. We are making it cheap and worthless.
2. It’s making us cowards.
No one wants to be the one to look for something more if they are just being “casual” with someone else because then they risk rejection. The thing is, rejection is normal in the dating world. We’re just scared of real feelings. We have created this realm of dating where we can see someone in a romantic or physical way and yet not have to take any emotional risk with that person. We make excuses. We play with naming statuses and technicalities to find our way out of commitment and it’s turning our generation into a bunch of dating phonies and downright cowards.
3. It’s harmful to core self-confidence.
On the surface, a lot of young people may not feel bothered by the culture, but it creates an emptiness that is eventually unavoidable. It’s natural and human to want to be cared for on a deeper level. Sex can give us many things, but it can’t give us everything. And when we start questioning why some people want us for sex but not for what’s in our hearts, we start thinking what is inside of us really isn’t that special anyway. We start naturally lowering our expectation of love and respect from others. We starting losing the self-confidence that this incredibly talented generation deserves to have.
4. It is making it more difficult for us to fall in love and have healthy relationships.
Healthy relationships have a few characteristics that don’t exactly align with the way the hook up culture is going. A healthy relationship consists of respect, communication, honesty, clarity, comfort, kindness, passion, and consideration. If a man or woman respects you, they respect what is in your mind and heart, not what is under your clothes. They seek to learn about who you are and what you believe in, before they seek your body. And if a man or woman is honest and clear with you, they wouldn’t hold you at some relationship limbo where they can decide how much you are “together” one day and not the next. They’d want to be with you every day. When we start losing the ability to recognize the importance of these positive and healthy practices, we start morphing our standards and altering the regard we have in future relationships.
5. To be plain and simple, it’s dangerous.
I don’t necessarily mean dangerous in the sense of your contracting HIV (though STI’s are always a factor). I’m talking about just the nature of hooking up. You are spending time naked and alone with someone you don’t know well. And your judgement is often impaired by alcohol. This could put you at risk for anything from emotional damage to being physically taken advantage of, especially if you are a woman. Is hooking up really as harmless as it may seem?
6. There’s a reason why the dating process has existed for such a long time, it works, and it’s fun.
What the heck ever happened to sitting awkwardly across the table from someone that gives your heart that first date flutter? We are unique and talented human beings. We are young and interesting. Why do we need alcohol and dingy party houses to motivate us to spend time with a person we are interested in? Dating doesn’t mean you are getting married for god’s sake, it just means that you’d like to laugh a little over a few ice cream sundaes with someone you found attractive and intriguing. Wouldn’t you rather trade a lonely walk of shame and morning beer breath for some ice cream and a goodnight kiss?
7. Because we deserve better. Because we are better.
Think about your future children and how much you’ll want for them in this life. If I have a little girl, I don’t ever want her to feel like she isn’t worthy of a relationship with respect for who she is on the inside. And if I have a little boy, I don’t ever want him to grow up in a world where society makes him feel guilty for wanting commitment and honesty in relationships. Do you want your children, or little brothers, sisters, and cousins, to be a part of the growing hook-up culture? If the answer is no, then why would you want it for yourself or for your friends? As a generation, we have incredible potential. We were born into a world that was rapidly changing by technology and we have been able to dive so deeply into that change and bring rich innovation to our culture.
It’s time we start creating and innovating within our personal lives as well. It’s time we start setting the bar for our expectations of respect and love from others at the same place we set our dreams. Reachable, but high enough that it’s absolutely worth the climb.