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Is Hookup Culture Keeping Us Single?

Growing up Latina, Mami told me to hold off on sex until I was in a committed relationship with a man that loved and respected me. In hindsight, that was a pretty liberal approach; she didn’t expect me to be a virgin until marriage. That, however, was the gist of my mother’s birds and the bees talk. And I tried keeping my cookie in my pants until I found “the one.” I succeeded throughout college. Then I hit my 20s and desperately desired to rid myself of my hymen and let my freak flag fly. I jumped into bed with a guy that was not my boyfriend (don’t tell Mami!) and, afterward, I felt fucking empty. We weren’t emotionally connected, which apparently was something I needed to feel good during and after sex. The more I thought about it during my Walk of Shame, I realized that hook up culture is probably leading to a losing intimacy and trust in relationships. We’re walking around like zombies after one-night stands and fleeting sex. And for what? 

I promise I’m not a fuddy duddy. I may be middle-aged, but I am not knocking women who explore their sexuality in whatever way they choose. Power to you, if you feel empowered after hooking up. For me, as much as “hookup” culture seemed fun, hot, and freeing, it rarely led to a committed relationship and the love and partnership that I desired. And as I continuously hooked up with the same man without a relationship label, my need for connection grew. He wasn’t having it though. Often when a relationship starts as a hookup it’s difficult to transition into a committed relationship.

ALSO READ: Every Guy I Dated Has Ghosted Me

Losing Intimacy with Hookup Culture 

Yet, hookups aren’t going anywhere. Some people even believe that hookups will replace committed relationships altogether. According to Donna Freitas, author of the new book, The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy, hookup culture leads to losing intimacy and connection and an overall detachment in romantic relationships. Freitas’s theory is partially based on the results of an Internet survey she conducted. Out of 557 male and female college students from various universities, including public, private, and Catholic schools, 41 percent expressed sadness, regret and ambivalence the morning after a hookup. In essence, young men and women are engaging in meaningless sex or “hookups” even though they don’t really feel good about it. Because, despite casual sex being all the rage, men and women still value emotional connection during sex. 

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Another study conducted by Durex also proves this theory. Out of 2,000 men and women surveyed, 87 percent of women said that their hottest sexual experience was with a partner whom they trusted that they were once in a former relationship with. They were turned on by sexual partners with whom they were familiar, not a random one-night stand or hookup. And it wasn’t just women who felt this way. 95 percent of men polled stated that an emotional connection makes for a better sexual experience. 

RELATED: How to Reignite Intimacy in Relationships

Turning It Around

Although men and women continue to hookup, which is a practice that keeps singles single while losing intimacy with potential connections, Amber Soletti, relationship expert and CEO of OnSpeetDating.com, suggests that women put the kibosh on hookup culture. If women don’t settle for the hookup, men won’t either. ”Relationship-seeking men and women who often find themselves settling for a “hook-up” subconsciously start to believe that’s all that anyone could want with them,” Amber explained. By partaking in yet another casual hookup, you will become “pre-programmed to put emotional guards up and this may deter you from forming a real organic relationship.” Instead of gaining trust and connecting emotionally, you actually lose intimacy because you fear being vulnerable. 

So, what’s the solution if you are a man or woman who wants to find love and be intimate in a committed relationship? I say we slow down. Don’t hookup if you know it doesn’t feel right. Wait until you’ve formed a solid foundation and connection, like Mami advised in her minimalistic birds and the bees talk. Cause it turns out Mami knows best.

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