The Women’s Center and HOPE held a discussion Thursday about the dynamic of our current hookup culture and its effect on relationships.
Discussion moderator Erin O’ Connor defined hookup culture as one that “accepts and encourages casual sex encounters, including one-night stands and other sexual activity, without the requirement of emotional bonding.”
Students agreed that we live in such a culture. Statistics say that up to 80% of college students in North America have had some sort of hookup experience.
“I think the culture surrounding college, of itself, involves a hookup culture,” a student said. “When you think of college, you think, ‘oh it’s your time to hookup with as many people as you can and sexually liberate yourself.’”
The question was raised on whether these sorts of ideals are contemporary or if the presence of dating apps, and the convenience that they bring, has made the culture more visible.
One student, who works at a diner, said she’s had old men tell her that having a partner in college is a bad idea and she believes that it may be because that’s the way their college culture was.
“Whereas before you had to go out somewhere and physically meet someone face-to-face and see if it worked out, you can match with someone on Tinder and they can be in your dorm room or apartment in 20 minutes,” another student said.
A few students touched upon the fact that the apps capitalize on emotional states, such as people coming out of relationships using Tinder as a distraction, which can be unhealthy depending on one’s viewpoint.
Tinder U, a feature within the larger app that makes it easier to connect with those at your school, holds promotions such as contests to earn a concert on campus, monetizing the hookup culture.
Also, a student spoke about supposed risks involving self-perception with using these apps.
“I find that with all social media, and now dating apps, you start to put your self-value in how many matches you have or how many people are interested in you,” she said.
“It kind of turns into an ego-booster,” another said, building off of the previous point. “People are more concerned their image and how they’re perceived rather than being themselves and just trying to find what they want.”
“I honestly can’t say I would make a Tinder if I were looking for a lifelong partner. That’s not what I objectively see it as,” O’ Connor said.
A student brought up her roommate’s romantic situation and how her relationship is disregarded.
“She identifies herself as bisexual, being in a relationship with another female,” she said. “But most guys don’t have the respect for her relationship because it’s with the same sex.”
“Tying it back to porn culture, it’s seen as ‘hot’ for two girls to be together,” O’ Connor said.
On the other side of the coin, a guy looking at a gay male couple or a woman seeing two females together could find homosexuality to be appalling. Students hypothesized that this is because it’s hard for someone straight to envision themselves with someone of the same sex.
To close, O’ Connor spoke about social construct and how young adults are expected to have a spouse and children by a certain time that isn’t that far from college.
“It’s those different levels of expectations,” O’ Connor said. “How are you supposed to balance them or know what you want to do? Because at one point in college, [hookups] are accepted and at another [a sort of family-planning] is accepted.”