Our View | You’re not off the hook after hooking up

Published by The Rocket, Date: February 7, 2023
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Our View is a staff editorial produced collaboratively by the entire Rocket Staff. Any views expressed in the editorial are the opinions of the entire staff. 

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Hookup culture accepts and encourages casual sex. Combining the rise in casual sex and dating app usage, Generation Z is split between yearning for love and looking for just sex.

About 49% of Gen Z and Millennials are motivated to find a sex partner, according to a report from the dating site Match conducted in 2019.

However, college students are not very concerned about contracting STIs, according to another study from the American Psychology Association (APA). Of the 39 women and 32 men surveyed, nearly half said they were not worried about sexually transmitted infections from hookups.

At the same time, most are not practicing safe sex, either. The APA said in a sample of almost 1,500 college students, only about 47% reported using condoms regularly.

STIs have the potential of spreading faster in a small community. As for SRU, the majority of sexually active students are having safe sex. The Rocket surveyed 94 local college students, and 69% of respondents said they take precautions against STIs and pregnancy.

Casual sex: Why not just date?

No matter if it is casual sex or a relationship, in a small community, everyone talks.

A small dating pool can make going out with someone very reminiscent of middle school. People fall into old, immature habits, like spreading gossip and rumors. Everyone knows (nearly) everything about everyone.

Younger generations are drawn to hookup culture because of its lack of commitment. With a traumatic, unpredictable climate like the one we are in, it is difficult to commit to anything when the future is not guaranteed.

Causal sex can be a form of self-discovery and experimentation. It allows those who partake in hookup culture to figure out what they like and what they are looking for. It is one of the many advantages of attending a public university.

However, hookup culture is different in Slippery Rock. It is difficult to find a casual sex partner when there is always the possibility you could make awkward eye contact with them in the middle of the Smith Student Center.

Hookup culture can also invite traumatic experiences and scary situations. Going to a stranger’s apartment to have sex (or “watch a movie”) is what we have been warned about since elementary school.

Anxiety about traumatic experiences as well as the fear of commitment that Gen Z shares possess some to participate in hookup culture. Others, for various reasons like STIs, would rather wait to have sex until they are in a relationship.

Okay, let me make this queer

As much as casual sex is experimentation for people who identify as straight, it is not that easy for LGBTQ individuals.

Finding a queer partner is next to impossible. Living in a community that openly supports political figures who are homophobic and/or transphobic creates a not-so-welcoming environment for queer couples. There may be a large community that identifies as LGBTQ, but it can be difficult to find someone in a town that perpetuates intolerance.

It is also significantly more difficult for LGBTQ individuals to approach someone they are attracted to. Sometimes, one of the only ways to find other queer-identifying people is on dating apps where users can list their preferences.

At the end of the day, there are over 8,200 fish in the sea. You just have to find the fish for you.

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