BY RILEY FANNING
Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air. Or is it lust? Or both?
While some will be eating chocolates and cozying up to their significant other, many will be sending the beautifully phrased, classic 2 a.m. “u up?” text. Love on college campuses is an interesting mix of full-fledged relationships, one night stands and everything in between.
Hook up culture has become an impromptu standard for millennials. The dichotomy between dating and hooking up can be murky, but what is even more confusing is the question of the intrinsic goodness of hook ups.
Could casual sex be blocking all of us from the possibility of making truly meaningful connections, keeping us in a constant cycle of overcrowded parties, strange faces and awkward morning afters?
Well, not really. The acceptance of hook ups as a normal part of life is a big step in the modern understanding of human sexuality. We have come a long way since the days where ankles were considered improper and marriage was the only acceptable outlet for sex.
People are, by nature, sexual beings. Sexual repression throughout the ages has never had good results, and so the normalcy of casual hook ups is both freeing and positive. Wanting to be in a relationship is totally valid, but only desiring casual encounters is just as valid a decision.
Participating in hook up culture does not mean that commitment and love cannot develop. Plenty of people still get involved in long lasting serious relationships.
Dating and relationships can be extremely positive things, but they also should not be one’s life aspiration. From the time people are young they are subjected to media, movies and family expectations of marriage, essentially the supposed height of all romantic relationships. So we go about our lives, constantly in search of someone who will complete us.
The basis of hook up culture is counter intuitive to the idea of finding someone who is our “other half.” It emphasizes individual pleasure and convenience. Actual relationships require work, a hook up only requires consenting adults.
With the benefits, there are also downsides. The danger of sexually transmitted diseases and sexual assault are especially present when dealing with people outside of a monogamous relationship. Not to mention the systematic issues of gender and how they intertwine with sexuality.
As a society we need to stop judging people’s sexuality and preferences. It is important to respect individual choices and the way people involve themselves, whether that be committed relationships or casual hook ups. Society is certainly flawed when it comes to sexuality, but hook up culture presents a newfound sense of focus on individualism.