I was skeptical before reading a post called “How Accepting The Hook-Up Culture is Getting 20-Somethings Nowhere” on Elite Daily. Most articles aimed towards 20-somethings about sex are about emotional entanglements, neglecting problems like STIs, need for easy access to contraceptives and rape culture. Unfortunately, none of these problems were referenced in the article. While there are a sprinkling of interesting observations and the acknowledgement of a general trend, the article quickly devolves into sexist assumptions.
It’s all summarized in the final notes, “As for the women out there: Let’s drop the delusion that a series of hookups will hook a boyfriend, and instead hold off on sex until a commitment has been made.”
Not every woman wants a boyfriend. And not all sex has to be about “hook[ing]” a man. The idea that sex is a weapon for women to somehow ensnare naive men is as old as the Bible. Hookup culture means that both women and men are enjoying sex for mainly physical, selfish reasons. Which, for women, is a pretty new freedom. While slut-shaming is still a very serious problem in American culture, the preference towards hook ups may make sleeping with many men normal.
Also, if a woman has a delusion that a series of hookups will hook a boyfriend, then the problem isn’t the hookups, it’s that she’s not openly communicating with her partner. Do you want the boy you’re hooking up with to be your boyfriend? Then ask! Do you just want to enjoy fun sexytimes without commitment? Then say that!
I think the article is trying to observe how it may be more difficult for ANYONE to voice intimate feelings in a world of one night stands and friends with benefits. And that is very true. It’s a world of whoever cares less wins. But that doesn’t just apply to women. Assuming so is a dangerous, slippery slope.
Of course, this article just isn’t iffy about its assumptions about women. There’s some for men as well: “To the men out there: It’s worth sacrificing other options for a special lady, and please bring back the traditional date. You will score major brownie points with women.”
First, women can ask a man out on a date. Do you want the traditional date to come back? Ask for the traditional date.
More importantly, this statement implies that open relationships are less intimate than exclusive ones and so completely disregards polyamory. I know many couples that care for each other deeply but do have sex with other people. Their secret? Communication. Talking about boundaries and what’s okay.
Now I know all this may seem harsh. “Well, Christina,” you cry, “that sounds good in theory but what if I don’t WANT to ask the guy out or have the awkward ‘what are we?’ conversation?” Okay. That’s totally normal. The idea of asking a guy to dinner and a movie makes me want to barf behind a garbage can. Not in it. Beside it.
But would you be any more nervous about asking a guy out if you guys weren’t hooking up? For me, the horrifying risk of being shot down is felt as far back as elementary school. And men feel it as well. Everyone feels scared of being rejected, because it’s personal and emotional. And the physical doesn’t help or hinder that.
“Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Gandhi about something way more important and life-threatening. The truth is, some women enjoy hooking up. Some men enjoy relationships. Some couples are in puppy love and still want to bang their neighbors. What hookup culture means is it’s all a bit better now. You’re hooking up with a guy and it’s okay? Hallelujah you’ve got it way better than women forty years ago. And if you want something different, more traditional or more polyamorous or polygamous or whatever, then it’s becoming a little better for that as well. “Accepting the Hook Up Culture is Getting 20-Somethings” EVERYWHERE. You just have to know where you want to be.
[Lead image via Augustino/Shutterstock]