Anti-Hook-Up Culture: Why You Don't Have To Have Sex To Be Sexy

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We should date in our 20s — a lot and often.

If dating were a sport, I'd do it professionally. There's nothing like the energy of being in the same place at the same time with another, both curious with desire.

It's awesome to hit it off with a stranger and let nature run its course until you two decide whether or not you will continue seeing each other. Then, there's a dilemma for daters, like me, given today's hook-up culture.

Somewhere on this spectrum, the physical attraction builds up, and the next thing to do seems to be some kind of sexual interaction. But, what if not everyone is into casual sex?

Are those who are not interested in advancing to that sexual stage doomed to a less fulfilling life with fewer sexual experiences? Will we be shunned as the prude ones or never feel sexy? Are we depriving ourselves, or are we just plain missing out?

On the contrary, we're not doing anything wrong.

This isn't about chastity, virginity, abstinence or asexuality. It's about the decision to be selective and the crazy, outlandish responses that test this standpoint.

Honestly, if your sex life is great, I can't say I don't envy you because, sometimes, I do feel like I'm missing out on this basic human need. For now, however, I just prefer to live as I do, which has brought about many questions and affected more relationships than I thought it could.

Sometimes, my little flings abruptly end for having different viewpoints. Guys thought it was "best we stopped hanging out." Sometimes, my stance led to me getting called a bitch, a tease or a prude.

When this happened, I was left feeling disappointed and saddened that someone in whom I was interested would only become someone I used to know.

In hindsight, I probably dodged bullets and saved myself some heartache by getting rid of these guys early on.

There are other ways, nonsexual ways, for me to show my interest in you. Why would I feel wrong for expressing my interest in good conversation, enjoyable company and honestly, starting to care for you, before getting naked with you?

It's easy to take off your clothes, but letting someone in — into your mind, your secrets, your desires and hopes — is really what stripping down means... and I'd rather have that with you first.

I would explain this to guys, but those who think with their dicks are easily confused. Rather than accept my thoughts, they question sexual orientation or ask if I’m too scared.

Some said I couldn't handle it anyway or they didn't have time for this. Some respected my decision but made clear that if I wasn't giving "it" to them, they would get "it" from someone else, like a "use it or lose it" type of thing.

Some even make me feel like an inexperienced schoolgirl who is a prude at 24 years old.

Abstaining from the hook-up culture is a lifestyle I decided for myself. Still, I can't help but imagine how things would be if I didn't want it this way; I wonder if I'd be happier or have better relationships.

Even though dating this way has blown up in my face at times, and I've lost some great potential mates, I keep in mind how great things will be when someone agrees with me or doesn't think I'm a ridiculous prude.

In the meantime, I won't stop dating (a lot). After all, this is what your 20s are about, right? Have standards and be unafraid to stick to them, no matter how amazing his smile is.

The purpose of dating a lot is to decipher what you want in a partner. I just hope people can be respectful and understanding of my personal choices, as I am of theirs.

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