Hookup culture has taken the Western world by storm; the days of waiting until marriage have—for the majority of younger singles—come and gone. Ignoring the religiously-based viewpoints, this increase in sexual freedom is often viewed as a move in the right direction, especially by feminist groups who view casual sex as a form of self-empowerment. While this may be true on the surface, is it possible that this hookup culture could actually be having a negative effect on singles behind closed doors? In this article, we’ll consider both sides of the coin before coming to a conclusion.
The Increase of Hookups in Popular Culture
These days, finding someone to have a relationship with is a fairly easy task, especially if you’re a young college student. For students, finding casual relationships may be as easy as going to a party & finding a pretty girl. However, for those who have already graduated from college, online websites catering to hookup dating offer the easiest way to meet potential partners. These websites take only minutes to join, require a minimal amount of personal information to be submitted, and generally begin to match singles with nearby singles within a couple of hours. Combine this instant networking with a variety of communication features (such as instant messaging, photo messaging, and video chat), and you’ve realized an almost unlimited potential when it comes to finding a hookup fast. Because of the increase—both in terms of visibility and in terms of popular usage—of these online hookup services, it’s not very surprising that today’s youth are hooking up at much higher rates than previous generations.
The Correlation Between Mental Health & Hookups
Various studies have shown that hooking up can affect a person’s mental health. Some side effects may be positive, some neutral, and many negative. Ultimately, the individual results will vary from person to person and are largely dependent on their original mindset, social status, religion, and lifestyle. This means that hookup culture can’t really be glorified or demonized when it comes to its effects on mental health: instead, it should be approached on an individual basis as an individual issue. Relationship experts generally recommend maintaining friendships with people, as this can benefit emotional health alongside relationship health.
Potential Benefits of Hookups
One obvious benefit of hooking up is an increase in self-confidence. Being able to successfully have sex with someone within a week of meeting them is often viewed as an achievement, so many singles perceive their ability to hook up as a positive thing that reflects their attractiveness, both in terms of personality and physical appearance.
Increased Social Status
Although not the primary reason for hooking up, routinely hooking up with partners can help a person form new connections with those who are outside of their original friend group. This can have a positive effect on their perceived social status since those with many acquaintances are often thought to be socially successful. In turn, this perceived social success may help them hook up more often, continuing the cycle.
Exploring one’s non-conventional sexual desires can be a daunting task, especially if you’re attempting to explore these fantasies with a loved one. Hookups provide a unique chance for sexual exploration with limited potential consequences since the singles involved will likely not contact each other after the hookup.
Potential Drawbacks of Hookups
Although social consequences are more common among females, they can happen to men as well. If a person is routinely hooking up with other singles, they may end up being viewed as “dirty” by their peers. Not only will this result in them having fewer hookups due to being looked down upon, but it could also alienate them from acquaintances who don’t want to be associated with them, possibly leaving them as social outcasts.
Being outcasted from their social group will have a direct effect on their self-esteem. Being looked down upon will almost certainly lower a person’s self-esteem, and without a social group to turn to for support, these people may become depressed. This depression can result in them forgoing routine hygiene practices, decreasing their chances of hooking up again, and decreasing their sense of self-worth even further.
The one advantage that the “wait until marriage” approach has is that it makes sex a unique experience. When a person continually has sex with new partners, this eliminates the “magic” of the encounters, turning a once-special occasion into another part of their daily lives. Without this sense of wonder, hooking up can turn from an exciting sexual encounter into a routine way to satisfy an internal desire for validation.
For some people, hooking up can have a positive effect on their overall mindset; for others, it can lead to a long road ahead. Either way, engaging in routine casual sex certainly isn’t a cure for depression, so if you’re already suffering from mental health issues, then meaningless sex is unlikely to help. At the end of the day, moderation is key, so if you’re planning on hooking up, then we recommend limiting yourself to a single hookup per week. This will help keep the “magic” alive without requiring you to sacrifice the carnal pleasures of casual sex.