Dating in 2019 is filled with swiping on dating apps, casual sex, and finding connections in unconventional places. People are going online to find people and with that came the emergence of the 'hook-up culture'. This is where people are choosing to have hook-ups, or casual sex (or other intimate relations), in preference over more committed and long-term dating. Hook-up can be an umbrella term that can mean kissing, penetrative sex, or any other sexual act. It is also a bit ambiguous in describing the time frame for this sexual activity. For some, it can refer to a one-night stand, to others it can describe a “no strings attached” kind of relationship. In essence, hook-up culture is about casual sex.
The advancement of technology and introduction of dating apps has seen hook-up culture become more popular and easier for it to find people. You can find people on so many apps. Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, Scruff, Her. The list goes on. Sexual partners are at the tip of your finger. One swipe, you match, you chat, you meet up. It’s that easy.
Hooking up and casual sex is not how everyone wants or chooses to date. It’s important to remember, though, that there is no shame in casual sex, regardless of your sexuality or gender identity. The reason it has become so popular can be attributed to the freedom it gives people to express and explore their sexuality. It’s empowering. You can choose to have sex whenever you want to, with people that you want to, with no commitment or limits to explore the type/s of sex you want. Hook ups can make you more in tune with your body and your sexuality, where you can understand what turns you on and have fun with new sexual partners. It’s liberating.
However, navigating your way through strictly sexual relationships is not always easy. Hook ups can sometimes feel like a transaction. Due to the lack of an emotional connection, people can leave with a sense of emptiness. Sometimes people choose to casual sex because they don’t want emotional relationships or connections with people.
It can feel like there are some unwritten, unsaid rules about having casual sex. Ones that you think you have to uphold because that’s what’s expected of hook-ups. This includes that lack of emotional connection with a sexual partner. Trying to keep things light and not too personal: You “aren’t supposed” to tell the person you're about to have sex with about your bad day at work, or your fight with your friend, you aren’t there to have a conversation or get to know someone; you're just there to get down to (sexy) business.
You can also feel like you can’t and shouldn’t ask for too much or ask too many questions. Sometimes it can feel like you shouldn’t ask to try something new sexually, out of fear of judgement or rejection. Maybe you want to give them some assistance on how to get you off, but it can feel intimidating. There is also the worry of coming off as 'clingy'. Clinginess would be deemed the biggest no-no in casual sex. So, to avoid seeming clingy, you might avoid asking someone over too many nights in a row, or you may go home straight after sex. You might also be scared of clinginess yourself and try to make sure no one lingers too long at your place, asks to meet your friends, or asks the dreaded question “where do you see this going?”
Hook-ups can start to feel mechanical and limited based on all these unspoken rules. These experiences can feel restricting and that’s not what you want from casual sex. It’s good to have boundaries in sexual relationships, but they should be communicated and not assumed.
In the next installment of this article, releasing tomorrow, you can read about how to navigate these problems. Stay tuned!