When it comes to factors that define the millennial lifestyle, it’s hard to overlook hookup culture — apart from taking selfies and updating your Instagram story, casual encounters are one of the most common components of being a 20-something today. And the more that this notion becomes normalized, the more challenging it becomes to reject it. But what if you don’t like the idea of getting intimate with someone sans emotions? What if you prefer commitment over carefree flings? There are plenty of legit reasons hookup culture isn’t for you.
For starters, you’re not alone. While it may be easier than ever to keep it casual — thanks to the aforementioned normalization of hookup culture and a steady stream of dating apps that facilitate securing a one-night stand — that approach certainly isn’t for everyone. While some may view it as downright liberating, others find that it can fuel some pretty complicated and uncomfortable feelings.
Of course, there’s the practical pitfalls involved — a greater number of partners may increase your risks of contracting STDs and STIs, meaning you have to take some extra precautions every time you get frisky. But there are other considerations that go beyond your physical health, too. In fact, there are many valid reasons to hate hookup culture. Here are a few that might resonate with you.
If you feel pressured to dismiss feelings rather than embrace them.
Some people have an easier time hooking up without catching feelings. But the bottom line is that we are hard-wired to feel some feels after having sex with someone. In fact, oxytocin and vasopressin — two of the chemicals that are released in your brain after an orgasm — are known to deepen feelings of attachment and bonding. The problem is, hookup culture typically implies that feelings are a no-no because they can complicate things and make it pretty much impossible to keep it casual. You’re not supposed to get attached to your hookup buddy, which means you’re not supposed to get disappointed when they don’t text you back or get jealous when you see a Snapchat story suggesting they’re on a date with someone else.
It’s totally natural to catch some feelings after a hookup. Yet hookup culture suggests that you should resist this with every fiber of your being. If you know that you have a tendency to feel close to someone after having sex with them, then it’s safe to say that hookup culture is not for you. Not only is that a totally valid reason to resist hookup culture, but it suggests that you have a healthy amount of emotional awareness.
If sex is more than a physical act for you.
Hookup culture supports the notion of sex sans emotion — because again, emotion can make things messy. As such, sex becomes purely about physical pleasure.
Maybe that’s not enough for you, however. Maybe you crave an emotional connection to make the experience truly fulfilling. Maybe you’re more likely to enjoy every kiss and every touch when you feel like you have emotional chemistry with your partner. If that’s the case, then strictly engaging in casual hookups is bound to leave you feeling a tad unsatisfied. And that’s definitely a legit reason to reject the hookup culture.
If you have trouble finishing.
Speaking of feeling unsatisfied — some people may find that participating in hookup culture makes it more difficult for them to reach orgasm. And it makes sense, too. An emotional connection may impact on your ability to let your guard down with the person you’re hooking up with. You may feel less comfortable telling them what works for you, and you may have a tougher time navigating their body as well. So if you’re lacking that kind of closeness with someone, sexual encounters may feel somewhat lackluster.
Not only that, but it might be tough to achieve this big O with a one-night stand because you haven’t had the time to get to each other’s turn-ons, how each other likes to be touched, etc. In fact, according to a 2012 study published in the journal American Sociological Review, only 11% of women orgasm while hooking up with a new partner.
Needless to say, if you feel like you have an easier time crossing the finish line with someone you trust and have built up a meaningful connection with, then it makes sense why you would resist participating in hookup culture.
If it takes a toll on your mental/emotional well-being.
Perhaps one of the best reasons to accept that hookup culture isn’t for you is if it participating in it makes you feel bad in any way shape or form.
A survey of 2,500 U.S. college students conducted by author and professor Donna Freitas, which she details in her book “Sex and The Soul,” found that 41% of participants expressed feelings of sadness, regret, and ambivalence the morning after a hookup. Another 2002 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that women were more likely to feel regret following a hookup. To be very clear, there’s absolutely no reason to feel ashamed for engaging in hookup culture. How you choose to pursue sexual satisfaction is your choice alone. However, if having casual hookups usually leaves you with some negative feelings, then that’s a very solid reason to avoid them. After all, sex is supposed to make you feel good, right?
If it leaves you feeling confused AF.
If casual hookups leave you with some baffling mixed feelings, you’re not alone. In fact, a 2012 study of 1,580 college students revealed that about 24% of those surveyed felt confused about their most recent hookup, due to a combination of positive and negative reactions. On the negative end of the spectrum, they experienced feelings of emptiness, awkwardness, and disappointment.
It’s no surprise that hookup culture can leave some people scratching their heads. If you’re one of those people, you may be seeking out a more meaningful, lasting connection with someone, or perhaps need to have an exclusive understanding in order to get intimate. Regardless of what you’re looking for, dodging this common confusion that results from casual encounters is a totally understandable reason to avoid hookup culture.
If you're not into hookup culture, there's definitely nothing wrong with you. In fact, many people struggle to embrace this attitude and approach to sex and relationships. It's better to know that hookup culture isn't for you, too. Because in acknowledging that you're seeking something more than a string of casual encounters, you can make more guided decisions in terms of who you hook up with, when, where, and why. You can take control of your sex and dating life, and pursue the kind of connections that are most fulfilling for you. In short, you can define your own dating culture — one that so boldly dismisses what's popular or trendy at the moment, and instead, paves the way for a new perspective on dating.