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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An Open Letter To My Boyfriend's Mom

A simple thank you is not enough.
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Your son and I have been dating a while now and I just wanted to thank you for everything.

Wow, where do I start? Ever since the day your son brought me into your home you have shown me nothing but kindness. I have not one negative thought about you and I am truly thankful for that. I first and foremost want to thank you for welcoming me with open arms. There are horror stories of mothers resenting their son's girlfriends and I am blessed there is no resentment or harsh feelings.

Thank you for treating me like one of your children, with so much love but knowing exactly when to tease me.

Thank you for sticking up for me when your son teases me, even though I know it’s all in good fun it's always comforting knowing you have someone by your side.

Thank you for raising a man who respects women and knows how to take responsibility of mistakes and not a boy who is immature and doesn’t take responsibility.

Thank you for always including me in family affairs, I may not be blood family but you do everything you can to make sure I feel like I am.

Thank you for letting me make memories with your family.

There is nothing I value more in this world then memories with friends and family and I am thankful you want and are willing to include me in yours. I have so much to thank you for my thoughts keep running together.

The most important thing I have to thank you for is for trusting me with your son. I know how precious and valuable he is and I won't break his heart. I will do everything I can to make him happy. This means more than you could ever imagine and I promise I will never break your trust.

The second most important thing I must thank you for is for accepting me for who I am. Never have you ever wished I looked like another girl or acted like another girl. You simply love and care for me and that’s all I could ever ask. Every person in this world is a unique different person and understanding that means a lot.

The third most important thing I must thank you is teaching me how to one day in the future treat a potential girlfriend that I may interact with as a mother. I am not a mother, but I one day plan to be. If I ever have a son it is because of how you treated me that I am able to be a humble loving mother to this new face that could one day walk into my door. How you have treated me has taught me how I should one day be in the future and I thank you for that.

This may seem all over the place but that’s how my brain gets when I try and thank you for everything you have done for me. It’s all so much and even the little things are so important so I promise my scattered thoughts are all with good intentions and not meant to bombard you. I just want to get the idea across to you that you are important and special to me and everything you do does not go unnoticed.

Sincerely,

Your Son’s Girlfriend

Cover Image Credit: Christian Images and Quotes

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To The One Who’s Not Like The Rest

It's okay to be the single girl in college.

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I'm in college, but the thought of getting married and having kids within a few years is crazy to me. All my friends are getting married, getting engaged, or having kids, and I don't even have the itch to do any of those! I like being single, I like being by myself, and I like being able to do what I want when I want to without having anything to worry about.

I would honestly rather spend my college years getting to know myself and getting a degree to have a great career.

I don't think that right now is the time to do anything but that, sue me. I like to think that I have my life planned out, and so far everything's on schedule. You get a degree, a job, then you get married. Unpopular opinion: I think going into college with a boyfriend, kid, or husband is limiting yourself. You won't be able to be as involved or have as much time for your studies or to have fun, as you would if you came into college with nothing holding you back. Most freshmen in college end up breaking up with their hometown boyfriends/girlfriends during their first semester anyway. Might as well let them go before you start school.

It's okay to not see yourself settling down anytime soon! It's okay if you already have settled down. You can be happy with or without someone else. Your happiness depends on YOU, not anyone else. In today's society, people find it hard to be happy without having someone to post pictures with on social media, and they think that college is the place to find that person. I personally think that college is the place to find friends that will last a lifetime!

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