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 My Boyfriend's Mom

He loves you more than you could ever imagine...
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Without you, there would not be a him, so first things first, thank you.

1. Thank you for teaching him to love a woman the right way, to put God first, and YOU before me always, the respect he shows you is so attractive, and you deserve it.

He talks about you like you hung the moon, I don't doubt for a second that he will be an amazing father one day, I owe all of that to you.

2. Thank you for giving me a chance, learning to love me when you knew your son was doing the same.

I can't speak for my own first impressions, but hopefully mine was not THAT bad...when we both slapped him on the arms for his rude remark at the same time, I knew our relationship was already blossoming.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

3. Thank you for every meal you have ever purchased me.

And chocolate, and candy...you know just as well as your son does that food is the way to my heart. Especially Taco Bell and cheesecake ;)

4. Thank you for your advice, suggestions, and opinions...and asking for mine

Whether it's telling me to slap him for being a smart a$$, or you're asking me about color swabs for your kitchen makeover, you come to me as if I am your own, and I am so honored to give you my own input.

5. Thank you for including me

You never fail to leave a spot for me, and I love family dinners/outings with you guys just as much as I love my own!

6. Thank you for teaching your son to never give up, and that if he does it is only to better himself, or it's the only choice he has left.

He is so focused on his future, he wants the best for himself, and he is constantly reminding me that these are things that YOU taught him, you deserve to be so proud.

7. Thank you for letting him love my family, and allowing me to love yours.

He is so loyal and loving to my family, and I don't even have to ask myself why because I see him with you and yours. Thank you for letting us double up on holidays when we can, and making sure we get the most out of our time with you!

8. Thank you for being his best friend.

I think of him as mine too, but I couldn't think of a better person to also hold that title, you know him better than anyone else and you always will.

9. Thank you for teaching him how to treat a woman

He is constantly telling me "You sound like my mother." Thankfully earlier in our relationship, he told me that the woman he wants to be with, should do just that. He always tells people who try, "No, no one calls me by my full name except my mom and my girlfriend."

10. Thank you for your honesty

We all know that he and I can drive you crazy sometimes, thank you for telling us like it is, and making sure we know you still love us anyways.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

11. Thank you for teaching him to work as hard as possible in anything and everything he does.

I have never met anyone with such a desire for success, he and I are constantly discussing how we can better our futures, and I know exactly where his drive comes from.

12. Thank you for teaching him to clean up after himself

Even though sometimes, it takes him a minute to do so.

13. Thank you for teaching him how to love, and letting him love me.

I have never felt so loved by a man, probably because anyone else who came into my life was just a boy. Thank you for your unconditional love for him, he is your entire heart and that is so easy to see, I am happy to share his with you.

You and I both know that even years from now we will both occasionally probably be closing the fridge that he left open, cleaning the crumbs he dropped, demanding he take a shower after playing soccer, or reminding him 20 times about plans we made weeks ago, we both share such a great love for such an amazing man. I could never be more thankful that you brought forth into this world such a comforting, supportive, protective, steadfast, driven, handsome, and hilarious guy. Thank you for everything you do for him, for me, and for us, I love you a lot!

Cover Image Credit: casey

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The Realities Of Dating A High Schooler While You're In College

A freshman in college dating a senior...in high school?

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I have been with my boyfriend since the summer before my senior year of high school. We knew coming into it that we would have to spend my freshman year of high school apart. Now with only 7 weeks left of my first year in college, here is my take on what it's like to date someone still going to your alma mater.

1. FaceTime is your new best friend

FaceTime is my most used app now. If I am free at night or just want to see his face, I can always depend on a call. This might sound cheesy, but FaceTime sleepovers are an *almost* daily occurrence. Even if we both have things to do, we just call each other and do our own thing. This makes me feel closer, considering the 125+ miles between us.

2. A whole other reason to come home

Seeing family and friends while being home is great. But what's better than a bigger bed and your boo cuddling next to you? Plus, I have rides to and from without having to bug my parents.

3. Different breaks

For both winter and spring break, there have been times when he is still in school while I am off. So, I am basically a "housewife" for those days. It does stink that I have to wait until after 3 to hang out with him, but at the same time, I can get some work done while he's at school. It'll probably always be like this, considering he is going to a community college at home for the next two years. But, maybe it'll coincide (fingers crossed!)

4. One foot in college, one foot in high school

Dating a high schooler and being friends with people in his grade and below, I do feel like I am sorta in high school still. I still sit in the student section at games, and workout with my friends at the high school. I'm still "popular" in some sense because of him but also because I am from a super small school. I just can't wait until baseball season!

5. DANCES!

Homecoming! Winter Carnival! Prom! Having a boyfriend in high school is great because my last dances weren't really my last ones. So now, I am looking at both formal and prom dresses!

6. People asking the dreaded question

Whenever anyone at college finds out I have a boyfriend, they always ask where he goes and what year he is. My answer is always "He's back at home" or "He's a senior...in high school". Everyone asks why I stay with him and my thinking is, why would I break up with him just because I am a little ways away? He knows that I am pursuing my dreams down here, even if they aren't necessarily with him (yet).

I don't really see the drastic differences between dating a high schooler while in college, but I am definitely not changing it any time soon!

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