I remember in the early nineties watching my older sister get ready for date night. The boys would call our house phone and would automatically have to speak to one of our parents or, if they were lucky, me, the little sister. At that time, you couldn’t rely on technology to advance your relationships. There was something special about the romantic essence of 1990s love: dating timelines had more embellishments like a designer dress. Today, romance can be found instantaneously at any coffee shop, lounge, or school hallway. Nineties relationships appeared fun — house parties, late-night jonesing and Guy’s ‘Let’s Chill’ could set the mood at any moment. I could not wait to grow up and experience the same thing, but instead I found myself in the “Hook-Up” generation.
In the CNN article, Young Adults and Hook A Up Culture, Ian Kerner writes, “College is a rite of passage, filled with experiences ranging from parties to all-night cram sessions to that first serious relationship. Yet romance may be getting short shrift these days, replaced instead with quick “hookups” devoid of any real emotion.” That’s the argument of a provocative new book, “The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy,” by Donna Freitas.
The dating culture has changed, but its evolution did not leave emotions behind. What has taken place is nonchalant behavior, which the millennial generation appears to be conflicted by. Freitas argues college students who engage in hooking up — kissing and more in depth sexual activity — usually feel empty and depressed. She gathered her research from “557 male and female students who responded to a question asking how they felt the morning after a hookup, 41% of those expressed sadness, regret and ambivalence.”
There have been numerous claims that the dating culture of millennials pressures young men and women to indulge in unfulfilling hookups, though they may not enjoy it.
Like most young adults, I lived on campus for college and engaged in many nights of the infamous “What Happens Here, Stays Here” motto. But one valuable piece of information Freitas’ research does not cover, were the people surveyed under any type of influence before or during their hookups?
The millennial generation and its surrounding pop culture are known for normalizing the use of narcotics, which does not give room for a focused mind. Also most young people can agree, unlike the generations before them, they would like to learn how to commit to themselves before they can with another person. So, perhaps like college, hooking up is also a rite of passage in the grand scheme of romantic/sexual relationships.
The confusion that is pre-packaged with hookups can be exhilarating, mysterious, exhausting, emotional and downright hot, but I believe the true question to ask is: Should dating culture evolve for the sake of intimacy? And if not, then where do we go from here?