It’s become so prevalent in our culture today: boy meets girl, girl meets boy and before a true emotional connection is formed, physical boundaries have been crossed. With the added factor of a high party culture present on many college campuses, it is almost expected that a new sexual partner should be found each weekend.
While it is not the intention of this article to cast judgment on decisions made by others, it is still relevant and important to examine the negative side effects that naturally accumulate through the phenomena of hookup culture. These side effects include the damage “fun” sex can have on building long-term relationships and cultivating happiness in young people.
The idea of hookup culture isn’t new. It has been marketed and perpetuated for years across our media. Movies, television, even advertisements engrain and hardwire our brains for the idea that is completely normal and there are no long-lasting consequences.
However, that is not the case. For example, what if pregnancy occurs as a result of a one-night stand? Women are encouraged and told that having a one-night stand is empowering and taking control of their sexuality. However, this can lead to an unplanned pregnancy with someone that a young woman does not truly know. Will her partner be a good father? Does she know if her partner has the moral fiber and character to step up to the plate and help her raise her child? The unknown answers to these questions can lead her to feel as though she has no other option but abortion.
What about the possibility of a sexually transmitted disease? Naturally with hookup culture, comes the rise of sexual partners, and therefore the increase in sexually transmitted diseases. Is the temporary gratification worth the risk of having to deal with these detriments to health, that could possibly be lifelong?
However, possibly most detrimental are the effects that hookup culture can have on mental health. When a casual hookup occurs, one party may have more feelings invested after entering into such a vulnerable and intimate place with someone while the other may not have this strong connection. Growing up, television shows have portrayed hookup after hookup turning into a long-term and fulfilling relationship. While there are times that this may happen, it isn’t always the case; and when this expectation isn’t met, it can have lasting negative effects on our happiness and view of ourselves.
Sex creates a bond between two people through the release of oxytocin. This hormone is responsible for how we bond and trust others. In fact, oxytocin is the same hormone responsible for creating a bond between mother and child during breastfeeding. This is how the hormone has coined the nickname “the bonding hormone” or the “love hormone.”
Sex and the release of oxytocin during orgasm create this bond, especially for young women. Often a bond is created during a hookup, but the emotional connection has not yet been established. This can then lead to one party not being interested in pursuing a relationship while the other may desire this outcome. This can then complicate relationships, friendships, and social dynamics, especially for young college students. Many are navigating relationships, independence, and sex on their own for the first time. In this new journey, hormones and natural desires can create situations that ultimately leave us unsatisfied.
This is why it can be prudent to wait for a deep emotional connection with someone before pursuing the physical one. Waiting for a secure relationship, ideally a marriage, before entering into a sexual relationship protects your heart as well as your future. Since we live in an increasingly oversexualized society, the positive benefits of abstinence are not often discussed. Therefore, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about the effects of our sexual decisions so that we take full ownership of the consequences of these choices. Our culture may try to frame proponents of abstinence as judgemental or prudish, but it is important to look beyond this understanding and realize that an abstinent lifestyle is one rooted in creating fulfilling and long-lasting relationships.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.