Whether it is a drunken endeavor or something that happens out of pure boredom, it seems like everyone is participating in the infamous hookup culture.
It is common to see its presence nearing the end of high school, however, the hookup culture predominately cultivates itself on college campuses full of hormonal teenagers and young adults.
Although it may be a cliche, gossip spreads like wildfire amongst college campuses. Sometimes the excitement of telling your friends what ensued after that party, when you left with a stranger, is too hard to resist. While everyone may not be boastful about their experiences that led them to do the walk of shame the next day, those that do share have their stories heard around campus.
When people hear about other's actions they compare themselves and then generally go with the status quo. Even the quietest and most reserved people can feel the need to fit in; it's part of human nature. This is exactly how the hookup culture maintains its power over our generation.
The vagueness of the word "hookup" is partially what adds to the mystery and scandal that comes along with the action. Hooking up with someone has been known to have various meanings.
A hookup could be something as simple as a kiss, or it could be on the other end of the spectrum. Saying that you hooked up with someone brings attention to yourself and because of its ambiguity, you have the ability to share how much or how little you want about what happened. This gives power to the individual that can feed into the hookup cycle.
With it being such a widespread fad to openly make-out with people at parties or even disappear into a stranger's room at the end of the night, it is sometimes surprising for people to hear that most individuals don't actually enjoy the hookup lifestyle. Many people feel like they have to participate in it solely for the fact that it allows them to fit in. They also may feel like there is a certain standard set and that they have to meet an expectation when they do go out or meet another person.
I, myself, have often times felt like hooking up with an individual is what was expected when you met a guy at a party. I can recall times where I have texted my friends saying, "is it rude to hang out with a guy and not do anything?". As silly as this may sound, it shows how much power this lifestyle has over an individual. The hookup culture has taken hold of our generation and has forced the idea of being sexual with someone into a norm. It gives young men and women the idea that casually being intimate with someone is what is expected of people in this generation.
It also leads to the idea that if you aren't this way with one another, people can see you as a "prude" or "not fun".
Girls getting mad at guys for taking things too quickly or being "creepy" to them also shows how most people prefer to be asked out on a date. The hookup culture has helped to deteriorate the idea of taking someone out without the expectation of something in return at the end of the night. It has forced the common perception of guys and girls not wanting to date because they want to have "fun" in college.
"Fun" being defined as making out with multiple people in one night, not necessarily staying loyal to one person, and being open to having multiple sexual partners.
Now, I am not saying that those who participate in and like the hookup culture are bad. I am saying that the hookup culture further pressures individuals into doing things they may not feel comfortable with, solely to fit in with others. It can also be harmful to our generation by ruining relationships that are developed through hookups.
One person may catch feelings, while the other doesn't. This only causes more drama for the parties involved as well as feelings of hurt and distrust. What kind of impact this may have on our generation in the future is hard to distinguish, but it most likely will be a negative one.
It is definitely important to date multiple people and find out what is best for yourself, but that does not necessarily mean you have to give in to the hookup culture at the same time.
It is good to keep in mind that not participating is actually favored by most people. So next time you are at a party and are hesitant to leave with the girl or guy you are hitting it off with, stick to your gut. While it is definitely easier said than done, put yourself first and remember that keeping it casual may not always be the best way to go.