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Hookup Culture: The Honest Truth About Modern Day Sex

Multiple condoms connoting sex

On average in the UK, those in their mid-late 20's are most likely to be having regular sex, with 43% of 25-29 year olds having sex in a typical week. However, new trends and modern standards have changed the way we as a society view sex, with a new wave of interest amongst many young people, called 'hook-up' culture.

What is hook-up culture?

Hook-up culture is the acceptance and encouragement of casual sex encounters, involving anything from a one night stand to friends with benefits. These encounters don't necessarily include emotional intimacy or bonding, instead more of a short term thrill for each participating party with the intention of having 'no strings attached'. There are no specific rules surrounding hook-up culture, such as the number of people involved or the amount of times/time period for which it happens, as long as there is a shared understanding that there is no emotional attachment, or vastly deep attraction to the point where feelings are developed, as this would relate too closely to a relationship.

You might be thinking, "how is this different to simple casual sex?" The difference is that this culture actually heavily encourages casual sex to take place, occurring often in social situations or institutes such as university, night clubbing and social environments. There are also no restrictions on who can take part. Therefore, a person of any sexual orientation, gender, age or ethnicity can engage in hook-up culture, even though it happens to be most popular amongst young adults as well as people who identify as male.

Gay couple laying in bed together

How has it come around?

New media technologies such as dating websites and apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and Grindr have strongly increased the popularity of hook-up culture, now becoming renowned as "hook-up apps", with half of 18-24 year olds seeing to dating sites and apps as platforms for causal hookups, as well as 85% of dating app users in the UK being male. However, the increasingly steep rise of university admissions amongst young people in the UK is also adding to this.

A lot of people engage in hook-up culture due to wanting to focus on themselves, their university work or starting careers, hence why the majority of individuals involved in it are millennials or from generation Z, again searching for cheap thrills with 'no strings attached' during this point in their lives. This comes with many positives, but of course also many unspoken negatives.

What are the positives and the negatives?

First let's look at the positives of hook-ups:

  • Meeting needs for social connection - Many people appreciate connections, even if it is sort term.

  • Sexual exploration - Experimenting new things can encourage self discovery.

  • Intimacy - In a fast paced world, many search for warmth through intimate moments.

  • Enjoyment - Many enjoy the thrill and fun of hook-ups.

  • Removes pressures to stay in unhappy relationship - Since there are no loyalties, people can pick and choose who they want to casually hook-up with, and who they don't.

  • Quick and free - Some don't want the baggage of a partner/what comes with a relationship.

Now let's explore the negatives:

  • Sexually transmitted infections - Having multiple sex partners can increase the risk of STI's.

  • Emotional and psychological injury - Many can become attached to someone they hook-up with and it may not be mutual.

  • Unplanned pregnancy - This is always a possibility when engaging in particularly unsafe sex.

  • Being unprepared for long lasting relationships - Becoming accustomed to quick hook-ups.

  • Neglecting emotional needs - Hook-ups are based on physicality.

  • Encouraging poor self esteem - Many might not view themselves as worth more than a short term experience.

What's next?

With the continuing rise of social media and digital apps, hook-up culture will ultimately remain on an incline with lots of new methods to initiate them with. In modern day society, the topic of sex has become extremely less taboo due to a more secular society and further sex education, with people becoming more open and accepting of those who chose to engage or experiment with activities such as hook-ups, building less judgement and more encouragement as well as towards those who choose not to. Overall, As long as those participating are being emotionally and physically safe, hook-up culture seems to be a new, major part of life in society!


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