Yeah Sex is Great, But What About Love?

Yeah Sex Is Great, But What About Love?

A hopeless romantic bemoans the dominance of hookup culture on college campuses.

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I've always been a hopeless romantic. I'm a big fan of rom-coms and corny love songs and mushy love poems (indeed the only time I feel inspired to write poetry is when I have a crush on a guy). And for years, I've wanted to have a boyfriend.

I had my first romantic relationship during my freshman year of high school. Our first date was seeing the live-action Cinderella in the movie theater I had been going to since I was a kid. We lasted a month and seven days. We started dating, broke up, got back together again, broke up again and when after the second breakup I asked him if he wanted to get back together he simply sent me the link to Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" music video on YouTube.

That was my first and only real taste of romance. I've been single ever since, much to my growing frustration. But throughout high school, whenever I complained about feeling sad and lonely being single, my friends would tell me that I would get a boyfriend in college. After all, there were bound to be plenty of openly gay and bi guys in college, so surely I could find a guy who would like me back.

So I started my freshman year of college determined to find a boyfriend and optimistic about my chances. And now the first semester is almost over and, to my disappointment, there is no boyfriend in sight. Granted, I spent a large part of this semester having a crush on a straight guy and that clearly wasn't going to go anywhere. But it feels like at GW, many guys- straight, gay, or bi- simply aren't interested in romantic relationships at all, only hookups.

I concede that this is a somewhat broad generalization but the decline in romantic relationships among college students in favor of short-term intimacy through hookup culture is a trend that's been documented by several research studies. A recent article in the Atlantic notes that hookup culture "might more accurately be described as lack-of-relationship culture" and Alexandra Solomon, a psychology professor at Northwestern has recognized that "many students have absorbed the idea that love is secondary to academic and professional success- or, at any rate, is best delayed until those things have been secured."

Up to 80% of college students in North America report engaging in casual hookups. The reasons for this are varied. For one, young people are more sexually liberated than older generations and less attached to the idea that sex has to occur within the framework of a romantic relationship. Additionally, college students may feel too busy for a relationship but still desire sexual pleasure. And apps like Tinder which were theoretically supposed to be dating apps have in reality functioned as hookup apps, make finding a sexual partner for a one-night stand as easy as online shopping.

I'm not a social conservative and I don't see the rise of casual sex as an inherently bad thing. Sex can be fun and pleasurable and shouldn't have to occur only in a romantic relationship. But at the same time, I worry that too much emphasis on hookups has led to the demise of romance, and for a hopeless romantic like me, that's cause for concern.

As a gay male, I am naturally a big fan of gay sex; I think gay sex is natural and beautiful and amazing. As queer people, our physical intimacy has long been looked down upon and criminalized. Laws banning gay sex were only struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003. I think gay sex should be celebrated, but I also think that gay love is even more worthy of celebration.

To me, a romantic relationship would be far more emotionally fulfilling than a hookup. Yes sexual pleasure is great and it's something a vast majority of humans crave but as humans, we also have other needs- the need for emotional support, the need to be loved. And sex can play a very important role in romantic relationships, like increasing affection. But even more than satisfying personal desires, queer love serves as a symbol, of love that can overcome hate, of love that is proud, love that has no shame. Queer love is beautiful and special because, for a long time, society has told queer people that our love is wrong yet we continue to love fiercely, despite the lingering prejudice and stigma and we believe that in the end love will always win.

Maybe I've just been listening to too much Taylor Swift, or watching "Call Me By Your Name" too many times, or spending too much time on Tinder and Grindr (probably all three). But at the end of the day I, like almost everyone else, just want somebody to love. Here's to hoping I meet him soon.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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I'm Scared To Ask Boys To Hang Out Because Society Has Led Me To Believe That I'll Seem Desperate

Ladies, would you ask a man out?

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Let's get this all out, I'm an anxious person. I suffer from "slight" anxiety, I wouldn't say it's horrible, but I deal with it. Nerves, it's something I'm quite familiar with in life, nerves and I are friends, actually. I've dealt with "slight" anxiety for years and it has stopped me from doing many things, which I regret. My "slight" anxiety has reappeared once again in the situation involving the male gender.

I'm not going to act as I've never talked to boys before because I have and it's not the scariness things for me, but when it involves boys I like, it's a whole new situation. Once I start developing any sort of feelings for boys I like, I turn into an anxious mess. That over-thinking, can't say the right words, too scared to embarrass myself anxious mess.

Well recently, that anxious feeling mess of myself has undoubtedly come back to life in some shape or form with this one particular boy. I think it's time to dive into Aby's semi-complicated by not really complicated sort of, just being dramatic love life. So, there's this boy that I've found attractive for quite a while, it's great to admire from afar. I always knew he was there, we were friendly, and nothing really came from that until recently.

In the past month or so this boy has been giving me the most mixed signals I've ever had in my lifetime. Do you like me? Do you not? Are you flirting with me? Ae you just being friendly? I've liked many boys in my time, but I've never thought so much about what this one particular boy and what his deal is? It's been over a month and I still can't figure him or it out, so I've been thinking of doing something every girl is somewhat afraid of, asking a boy to hang out.

I know, it sounds so small and sort of dumb, but doing something like this petrifies and turns me into a nervous, anxious mess. I'll be one hundred percent honest that I want a summer fling, someone to do all those fun things together without the commitment of a boyfriend. It's the beginning of summer, which means I need to start sorting my options out right now.

Here's the issue, I want to ask him to hang out, but I'm scared to ask because I don't want to seem desperate at all. Society has led us to believe that men should be asking girls out instead of vice-versa. In all honesty, it's a bit messed up, but I've been led to believe that "guys ask girls out". So, I've always waited to be asked out because that's what society has taught me and that's what I've allowed.

Now, I'm preparing myself to ask this boy to hang out and I'm getting quite anxious, all the possibilities. What if he doesn't like me? Thinks I'm ugly? Figures out that I can't drive? Hates me? Thinks I'm annoying, oh gosh, the endless possibilities. One thing I know is that I have to try, so I'm going to be bold and ask him to hang out.

It's scary, I'm scared, but I'll never know if I don't try, which is true. Life is filled with mysteries and you won't know if you don't look, right? So, I'm going to get over my anxiety and just try, wish me luck in attempting to ask this boy to hang out.

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