I have never felt a spark when I've met someone. I've never felt an overwhelming need to touch anyone or had my thoughts consumed by one person. I never liked Tinder. In my English classes, I get about 10% of the sexual references in our texts. I'm a college student but I feel more like a grandma. It used to bother me but recently, I've decided that it's okay.
It's okay to live outside the norm of millennial relationships. It's okay if you don't want to define your relationships automatically. It's okay if you only want platonic relationships.
A few weeks ago I was watching a TEDx Talk given by Dr. Donna Freitas, a professor at the University of Notre Dame. In the Ted talk, she tells a story about a class discussion. Up until that point, everyone in the class had been talking about Hookup culture as if it was the staple of college life until one girl raised her hand and said, "I don't really like it."
I would venture a guess that many college students, male or female, would say the same when they gave an honest reflection on how hookup culture effects their lives.
It's a lonely world when you want to talk about that book you just read and yet all of your friends want to talk about who "got with" who last weekend. It's lonely when you have to ask your fellow students, as an adult, what reference you missed. It feels silly. But then I think about it, and maybe I'm not the one who's silly.
Sex has so permeated our culture that I can't go a day without hearing about it, whether that's in the line at Starbucks, chatting with my friends or even buying clothes at the mall. Some of us really just want peace and quiet.
Yet when you bring this up to your peers, you're branded a crazy person. You can't be telling the truth. Everybody does it.
No, not everybody does it or wants to do it. Some people partake in hookup culture and they don't want to. It's troubling to me that my own generation has become so saturated in the media and that we can't seem to form relationships worth anything unless sex is involved.
The truth is that you don't need to be having sex in order to have a strong emotional connection with someone. In fact, I would argue that sexuality muddles a relationship and that basing a relationship exclusively off of respect, knowledge, and compassion isn't a bad thing at all. If you like hookup culture, more power to you, but no one should feel like they have to.
It's a lonely experience after all.
The pressure that college students face from their peers to take part in one specific type of culture can be disorienting and confusing. I know first hand that it can lead to depression. The best thing that we can do is speak out about our feelings so that others know they're not alone.