Hookup Culture: The Good and the Bad
In hookup culture, there is no commitment involved. If you are someone who can put your feelings aside, this is a way you can participate in sex without worrying about how to define the relationship or even worry about seeing that person again. It allows things to stay simple and uncomplicated afterwards (at least, in a perfect situation).
It allows you to explore. Whether you are questioning your sexuality or just want to discover things about yourself, hookup culture could be the way to go. It allows you to have different partners, and to learn different things about yourself with each.
It can be healthy. Sex is a natural human experience, and it is proven to be healthy in multiple ways. Not being in a relationship shouldn’t be a barrier to these health benefits, and hookup culture is good for this. Being sexually active improves your immune system, improves your mood, lowers your blood pressure, can ease stress or anxiety, and basically improves your overall health in general.
Although hookup culture can be painted in this positive light, I must add that there are certain factors that must always be present when hooking up for the above points to hold true. First, there must always be mutual consent of all parties involved. All parties have to agree to what is happening and neither can be intoxicated. Even if someone is giving consent while they are intoxicated, if you are not in a romantic relationship with them, there is no reason you should take that as consent until they are sober. Second, it has to be safe. Unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are important risks to keep in mind when sexually active, and precautions must be taken. Make sure a condom or some form of contraceptive is used, and make sure all parties are sure they are clear of any sexually transmitted infections.
People can get hurt. Feelings can most definitely get in the way, and when participating in hookup culture, this should be kept in mind. Know yourself enough, and make decisions to avoid getting hurt. And if you are someone who can easily put feelings aside, be aware that not everyone can do this, and be considerate.
There are plenty of people who look down on hookup culture. A lot of shame and guilt can be generated subconsciously before or after hooking up. You may think you have just done something wrong, and this can affect the way you feel about yourself, and sex, for quite some time. Be aware that the decision should be something you come to on your own, and that hooking up with someone should be for yourself, and no one else.
Sexism can play a role in how you are seen, and it applies to both genders. Women are usually painted in a very negative light when it is learned that they have had multiple partners. And this is not okay. The same way it is not okay that men are shamed for not wanting to participate in hookup culture.