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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Hannah Jenkins
Hannah Jenkins
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Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Pizza Cat Vol. 10
Pizza Cat Vol. 10
Deirdre Northrup-RiestererApril 23, 2024

Hookups trade romance for cheap pleasure

Hookups trade romance for cheap pleasure

In my adolescence, I fantasized about my future love life and the promiscuous adventures I would have when I finally escaped my hometown. TV portrayal of love stories and drama of adult relationships gave me and my peers something to look forward to. We formed ideas about our social and sexual lives being exciting in college, but that excitement has all but faded into the bare-minimum efforts of hookup culture.

Hookup culture is the idea that casual sexual activity is the norm. Supporting this norm is the idea that physical intimacy is separate from emotional intimacy, and if you don’t get them crossed you can have a good time.

Many students like myself are not looking for commitment because we’re still figuring out who we are and already struggling to maintain our busy schedules. However, just because we’re not looking for a relationship doesn’t mean we don’t want to share intimacies. Dating doesn’t seem to be an option because it’s supposed to lead to long-term commitment. The hookup culture tells us we don’t have to worry about that —we can supposedly have immediate gratification with none of the pressure of hurting someone’s feelings.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sexual experimentation and don’t believe you have to be in a committed relationship to have sex. Many people, including myself, have been comfortable with safe, casual sex. However, it’s important for me to share the discomfort surrounding it, especially since the issue lacks dialogue.

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There is a lot of pressure to participate. As a female, I’ve felt as though feminism celebrates hookup culture as empowering women, because it negates a history of shaming women for promiscuity. Meanwhile, males are stigmatized to be constantly horny and unemotional, but the ones I’ve talked to tend to feel used and cheapened by their sexual experiences.

Social media has created a narrative around sex that makes it seem like everyone is doing it all the time. Everyone’s on board, so why wait? I want it, you want it, so let’s do it. This is usually executed with the help of an alcoholic beverage or seven. However, just because sex is something we all do doesn’t make it a commodity. It’s intimate, and therefore complicated. It cannot be fully separated from emotion. But the hookup culture makes this seem like just a part of the game.

There’s a popular idea that we need to have enough sexual experience to get better at it. Yet, the things you learn when hooking up are rarely beneficial for you long-term. Learning what someone likes takes time, and we’re all different. The fast pace of hookup culture doesn’t leave a lot of time for exploration. Anecdotally, it seems that a lot of heterosexual women are focused on the guy’s pleasure and not their own. There really isn’t time to do that in one night, so that becomes a second priority. Is this really giving us what we want?

In my experience, being with one guy in a long-term relationship taught me about how to do the act well, but being with several guys short-term left me unsatisfied and pitying their lack of skill. The circumstances of a hookup are not ideal for learning anything.

There’s a time-pressure when it comes to sealing the deal too. We think we should be opportunistic about having sex and take it where we can get it. Why are we so impatient? Unrealistic expectations set by porn is part of it. This is how many of us learn about sex, and has created the need for immediate gratification. Even though we know real life isn’t like that, it conditions us to seek it.

Hookup culture works too fast and causes emotional confusion. As an empathetic human being, the most uncomfortable part of the culture is confusion about the emotional aspect of intimacy. While you’re on the same physical wavelength, you’re probably on different emotional wavelengths. Some people are sure of their feelings, while others want to turn a hookup into something more. Sometimes you want to avoid seeing them ever again. There’s no avoiding this imbalance, and it’s inevitably uncomfortable.

It is absolutely crucial to focus on finding someone you are comfortable talking to. Being able to express boundaries is important and will make you feel so much more comfortable. Don’t let the pressure from your friends make you feel obligated to be intimate with someone. Take your time with someone before you decide to hop into bed with them.

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