You’ve no doubt heard of “hook-up culture” – the casual, no-strings-attached sex prevalent on college campuses. While movies and TV shows make it sound great, new evidence suggests many students are finding hook-up sex as enjoyable as doing their laundry and privately wish things were a lot different.
College is still much about alcohol and sex, but now most don’t bother to date first.
“I feel like if I asked a girl I didn’t know… old-school… let’s go to the movies, that would be weird. That’s not normal,” said one student.
But if you’re thinking sensational sex, think again. Donna Freitas' new book The End of Sex includes nationwide student surveys. She found almost 80 percent called sex casual, half said it was too casual and 41 percent used words like “miserable,” “empty” and “regretful” to describe their hookups.
“They talk about it like it’s a chore,” says Freitas. “They talk about it like it’s doing the dishes. It’s something they need to get done and it’s something they’re not supposed to care about.”
Hook-ups can mean anything from just kissing to intercourse. Many say it’s liberating because women can focus on careers without getting bogged down in relationships.
“I don’t see why not,” said one woman. “Girls feel powerful in it and they feel they’re in control.”
“I think it’s… a big illusion,” countered Angela Hattery, the associate director of Women and Gender Studies at George Mason University.
Hattery said men still call the shots, but women have just made it easier. She adds she hears from students worried they won’t be able to form long-term relationships.
“The hook-up culture isn’t teaching it, right? So that’s one of the thing they’re not learning – how to have a healthy relationship,” Hattery continued.
Students say they want the option of casual sex in college, they just wish it didn’t seem to be the only option.
“We’re getting the bottom of the water bottle when we’re drinking, but we’re so used to it now that we can’t complain,” said one student.
And as for old-fashioned romance, some students say they’d like to have a relationship but don’t expect to have one.