June 14, 2020
We live in a time of causal sex defined by one-night-stands, friends with benefits, and booty calls. Started in the 60s and prevalent on college campuses, our hookup culture has ended an era of dating and deep emotional connection found in committed and long-lasting relationships. This change in how we as people intimately interact with each other can be blamed on a variety of reasons from the emergence of the internet and dating apps to the belief that love can’t be found amidst rising divorce rates and the fast pace of life. Regardless, the switch from a dating culture to a hookup one happened. So now the question arises: how do we handle it?
The hookup culture results in many negative outcomes including emotional and psychological injury, nonconsenual sex, sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancy. Yet, 81% of undergraduates participate in some form of hookup behavior with only 46.6% using a condom, 61% involving alcohol, and 34% of those encounters resulting in sexual intercourse. The hookup culture also amplifies the gender double standard with the promotion of male focused roles in sex practices. Typically, women are scripted to have greater emotional involvement, greater emotional distress as a result, and are usually portrayed as sexual objects who are pressured not only engage in sex but also participate passively. In comparison, a man’s identity is defined by his performance and number of nonrelational sexual encounters. Therefore, the entire event carries both extremely gendered and heavily heteronormative implications. In reality, 83% of women and 63% of men would like a traditional, romantic relationship. Additionally, 57% of women and 82% of men were generally glad they “hooked up” with someone and the discrepancy between the two statistics typically derives from lack of pleasure during the woman’s experience. Even though both genders seem to enjoy themselves, both also experience some level of sexual regret. After a hookup, men tend to have stronger feelings of being “sorry because they felt they used another person” while women have stronger feelings of “regret because they felt used”. As explained, the hookup culture perpetuates the patriarchy’s heteronormative control over women’s sex lives.
But, how does the hookup culture affect the LGBTQIA+ community? To begin, same-sex relationships are often romanticized and fetishized in popular culture. Furthermore, due to the discourse surrounding same-sex relationships, there exists extensive practices of casual sex within the LGBTQIA+ community that largely predates and contributes to the heterosexual hookup culture. However, on college campuses, LGBTQIA+ students are extremely critical of the hookup culture and aim to challenge its heteronormativity through alternate visions of how sexual relationships can successfully proceed with an emphasis on consent, communication, and queering the pleasure standard. Consequently, dating and hookup apps significantly contribute to the LGBTQIA+’s casual sexual experience as undergraduates. While LGBTQIA+ students actively work to make college campuses a sanctuary of inclusivity, obstacles such as homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry remain in the way of a more mindful and open hookup culture for all. Despite lack of acceptance, many same-sex and queer undergraduates still have a strong desire for and ardently pursue intimate, romantic relationships. Everyone should feel free to sexually mature at their own pace, with whomever they choose, and by whatever level of emotional involvement they decide without feeling pressure, judgement, or shame throughout the process.
Regardless of your gender or sexuality, we are collectively becoming more sex positive as popular culture normalizes the idea of hooking up for the sole-purpose of sexual pleasure. Whether you see this as a negative or positive change, hookup culture brought sex into everyday conversation; not only decreasing the shameful and embarrassing stigma that surrounds sex but also increasing our acceptance of physical intimacy and sexual diversity. Sex positvity and forming deeper emotional connections are both important to the healthy development of all individuals. With whatever sexual choices you make just remember to stay safe and be healthy!
Educating ignorant people should be a priority of anyone and everyone. Many times offenders don’t purposefully use inappropriate terminology but simply don’t know any better. Therefore, it is important when dealing with these situations you are patient and politely explain why their improper word choice is offensive regardless of how upset or angry you may feel. People respond best to kind correction and positive reinforcement. Remember, that while people learn at different paces, most will make the effort to change their vocabulary to create a more inclusive, comfortable environment as long as you are patient and kind.
Asexual: someone who doesn’t feel sexual attraction
Bigender: someone who experiences more than one gender identity either simultaneously or at different times
Biological sex: the sex someone is born with based on physical make-up, sex organs, chromosomes, and hormones
Bisexual: someone who is sexually and/or emotionally open to more than one gender, those who are experimenting with bisexuality but don’t necessarily identify as such are considered bicurious
Cisgender: someone whose identity corresponds with their biological sex
Consent: the act of agreeing to participate in any and all kinds of sexual activity which should take place in every sexual encounter
Demisexual: someone who only feels sexual attraction to people they have a strong emotional bond with
Dysphoria: the feeling of not being comfortable in your own body and being very aware of everything that may feel wrong with your body
Gender Fluid: someone who experiences fluidity across multiple genders that may have days where they feel more female or more male or anything in between
Gender Binary: the classification of gender with two distinct forms; female and male
Gender Identity: one’s innermost concept of self whether that is male, female, a blend, or neither which can be the same or different from sex assigned at birth
Intersex: someone who has been born with chromosomes, internal or external sex organs, or hormones different from what is expected with male and female babies
LGBTQIA+: the acronym for individuals who don’t identify as exclusively heterosexual and cisgender which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual
Non-binary Gender: an umbrella term for a variety of different gender identities that aren’t male or female
Pansexual: someone who is attracted to people regardless of their gender
Queer: an umbrella term for anyone who doesn’t exclusively identify as heterosexual which acknowledges that sexuality is a spectrum
Questioning: the process of being curious or exploring some aspect of sexuality or gender
Sexual orientation: aka someone’s sexuality or how one experiences sexual or romantic desire, the gender(s)/sex(es) of the people who one engages in sexual or romantic activity with, and the gender(s)/sex(es) of the people one is attracted to
Transgender: someone who identifies as a gender that they were not assigned at birth which can include a binary or a non-binary gender
Transsexual: someone who is undergoing/has undergone treatment to change their biological sex to match their gender identity, a transman is someone who was assigned a female body but is making the change to male while a transwoman is someone who was assigned a male body but is making the change to female2
1.Human Rights Campaign. “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Definitions.” Human
Rights Campaign, 2020, www.hrc.org/resources/sexual-orientation-and-gender-ide
2.Burton, Cai. “The LGBTQIABC's: A Guide To Gender And Sexuality Terms.” Rife Magazine,
3. Abrams, Mere. “46 Terms That Describe Sexual Attraction, Behavior & Orientation.”
Healthline, Healthline Media, 10 Dec. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/ different-types-of-sexuality.
4.Abrams, Mere. “LGBTQIA Safe Sex Guide.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 15 June 2010,
5.“Overview of Sexual Orientations: SexInfo Online.” Overview of Sexual Orientations | SexInfo
Online, 2017, sexinfo.soc.ucsb.edu/article/overview-sexual-orientations.
6.Killermann, Sam. “Comprehensive* List of LGBTQ+ Vocabulary Definitions - ❤ It's
Pronounced Metrosexual.” It's Pronounced Metrosexual, 2020, www.itspronounce
7.“Sexual Orientation.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological
Association, 2020, apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/bias-free-la
A LITTLE ABOUT ME...
Hi! I’m Samantha Josephson. I enjoy spending time outside, reading, running, and listening to music. I am super interested in politics, specifically medicine within politics. I hope to my freedom of speech to express my opinions on important and controversial topics.