The “Hook-Up Culture” Myth

I keep hearing the term “hook-up culture” and it being used in a derogatory manner.  They say that it’s causing “the decline of meaningful relationships” and indeed if you look at some of the statistics compared to the days of yore it can be twisted to reflect such a message.  But the fact of the matter is that it’s bullshit.  In fact, the term “hook-up culture” is just a way to generalize a much broader concept: sexual self-reliance.

“I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone...”  (Hell yes Emma!!)

“I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone…” (Damn straight Emma, you tell em’!)

The most common story comes from those crazy college kids these days that are just getting together and having wild drunken sex parties.  But they act like this is something new.  This is not new, it just keeps getting better. Looking beyond the filthy bullshit that is male entitled rape culture (I know it’s a bleak reality, but I’ve ranted about that already and that’s not the point here…) and what you have are individuals that aren’t afraid to be individuals.  But to say that this is a college thing, or that it’s a new concept is ridiculous.  I literally read an article yesterday about Emma Murano, a woman who is one-hundred and fifteen years old and do you know what she credits her longevity to?  Raw eggs and being single since 1938.  Do you think she’s been celibate since 1938? Hell no.

The truth is that “hooking up” has been happening forever and the current time frame isn’t even the first time it’s been given a name.  In Roman times it was a common occurrence (especially among the higher classes.) Hundreds of years later in the 60s and 70s it was “free love”, but then many referred to it as a “counter-culture” made up of “dirty hippies”.  That’s basically what happens now.  Certain groups of narrow-minded people that fear the concept try to generalize and degrade it with labels.  The same goes today with those trying to label and put a negative spin on “Hook-Up Culture”.  You don’t have to look far to read about how this culture is “destroying” things like “traditional dating”, “modern romance”, “Love as we know it”, “Gay youth culture” and even an entire generation.  I mean.. shit!  Who knew the power of getting it on with somebody you probably don’t want to be with forever was so potent!  Next time we got to war, instead of sending the troops over and dropping bombs, let’s just send some “Hook-Up Culture” ambassadors to their country to fuck the love right out of their whole generation!   It’s a crisis!

...and sending that text when the mood strikes...

…and sending THAT text when the mood strikes…

What has really happened is that with the power of the internet and support that was previously too hidden or distant for us to see, individuals have found that they don’t have to conform to outdated and gender-bias/misogynistic traditions or rules to run their romantic life.  Instead, they feel more comfortable wanting what they want and the fear of god/society/etc no longer keeps many of them from acting on those desires.  Now it’s okay to be a successful unmarried woman with a healthy sexual appetite (we have shows about this now!)  Likewise you’re not a loser if as a man you don’t have or even want a wife or family.  We’ve gotten to the point where we can talk about men hooking up with men, women hooking up with women, and gender-neutral people hooking up with both, or none, or whatever they prefer.  “Hookup Culture” isn’t about hooking up at all really, it’s about people deciding they are going to sexually be what they want, fuck who they want (as long the partner is willing…) and not have to conform to meet expectations.   There’s no more hooking up than there ever was before (trust me.. your parents had just as much sex, they were just afraid to talk about it.)  We’re simply being more open, educated, intelligent and accepting of it all as a part of our lives.  That scares a lot of the more traditionally conservative people to death, so they feel the need to slap a label on it and cry doomsday.

But you know what?  Love is still happening.  Marriage is still happening.  Kids are still happening (granted Japan is in a bit of a population crisis… you might wanna make a few more babies over there…)  If the birth rate goes down a little in the US or even the world, that’s okay for a while.  We have a pretty serious global over-population issue as it is and a lot of quality human beings with a great deal of potential that need adopting.

Go ahead and try to tell me those children don't have a beautiful family life. :)

Go ahead and try to tell me those children don’t have a beautiful family life. 🙂

Speaking of which, thanks to hook-up culture, we have a new breed of successful singles that don’t have to be married but want kids.   Those folks along with the growing  government acceptance of gay marriage (which is also simultaneously “destroying” most of the things Hook-up Culture is…. along with the “sanctity of marriage”) are giving a lot of those kids who need adopting really amazing homes and families.  I’ve personally witnessed better parenting from some of these singles/couples than I’ve seen from a great deal of heterosexual parents that either accidentally reproduced or did so under pressure from their non-hook-up culture (when they didn’t even really want children.)  Who’s going to be the better parent?  The ones who feel forced to have kids they aren’t sure they want, or the ones that have to deliberately apply and invest in a very thorough process in order to raise children they actually really want?   Which of those family situations is more likely to produce better-rounded contributors to our upcoming generations?

If “Hook-up Culture” is a real phenomenon and things are truly changing so drastically, then it’s for the better.  Perhaps the traditional marriage rate is dropping, but if that’s true, then I would wager the majority of the marriages that aren’t happening would’ve been the unhappy ones.  The truth about culture now is that it’s becoming the sexually and romantically liberated culture.  People are learning that they can have sex, and it can just be sex.  They can have love, with whoever they want.  They understand that sex and love do not have to be mutually exclusive (but they still certainly can be, if they want it to be.) Most importantly they are realizing that there’s not a damn thing wrong with any of that.  

Oh my god you're right!!  LOVE IS DYING!

Oh my god you’re right!! LOVE IS DYING!

Love and romance cannot simply be killed off because somebody got a boner for a girl he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life with and she liked how his abs looked when he was shirtless, so they did their thing and got on with their lives.  I like to think love is a bit stronger than that.  I’m also pretty certain that both “Generation Y” and “Gay Youth” are doing better than before because of the shift towards acceptance of individual sexuality. (and honestly we still have a long way to go…)  In the end, “Hook-Up Culture” is just a label that will be used and abused as propaganda (which is almost always false.)  If there’s been a cultural shift, hooking up is a product of it, not the reason.

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5 comments

  1. You find the same thing occurring with threesome and other alternative sexual practices. Media plays a huge part in misrepresenting trends. A lot of has to do with advertising revenue and viewers, I am assuming. Best things we can do is to present the topics in an honest and balanced light.

    1. Much agreed (I should’ve elaborated a bit on that (but I’m sure I’ll post a bit more on it in the future.) I feel like as long as everyone in the relationship (be it sexual, emotional or whatever combination of those) is honest with each other and fulfilled by their role, then more power to them. It’s really narrow-minded to think that everyone can only love one person ever. I think it’s great that we’re GETTING to a point that we can discuss and explore these ideas without immediately being shut down by a narrow-minded culture / society. There’s a common misconception that multi-partner situations are all about the sex, which is in many cases very far from the truth. 🙂

    1. Unfortunately there’s still a long way to go. There’s still WAY too many ignorant people out there (some in frightening positions of power) and a lot of people who are still afraid to express themselves as they wish to. But we’re certainly making progress as a culture!

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