It's Okay If You Are Not Into Hookup Culture.


It's Okay If You Are Not Into Hookup Culture.


It may sound strange, but I used to believe that hooking up was the only way I'd ever get noticed by a guy. This mindset was extremely poisonous, and it took me several years to learn that hookup culture was not — and never should be — the norm.

It all began when I reached the age of adolescence. My pals began obsessing over potential hookup partners as soon as I turned thirteen. Everyone needed someone to mindlessly make out with all of the time, and it's safe to say I didn't (and, spoiler alert, never did) share that need. I didn't feel the desire to hook up with anyone when I was a young, innocent adolescent. I didn't like the awkwardness, the lack of emotional connection, or how intrusive it seemed. My buddies' failure to say anything or even make eye contact with the individual they were making out with the night before struck me as particularly weird. I was perfectly satisfied to spend the remaining years of my childhood hanging out with my pals and avoiding any potential hookups.

Peer pressure, on the other hand, is a terrible thing that starts when you're a teenager. Don't get me wrong: I wasn't the sort to succumb to peer pressure. It's difficult to keep saying "no" when your entire friend group is counting on you to hook up with someone for the first time so that you can go "10 for 10" that summer (that is, all ten of you have hooked up with someone in one summer). You can probably imagine how that story ended – with an unwanted encounter and years of cringing at the thought of it.

You'd think after that summer, I'd start despising hookup culture — especially because the experience was nothing short of horrible and felt invasive — but I hadn't yet since I didn't know any better and assumed hookup culture was the norm. I just figured, okay, that's how things are, so I'd better get accustomed to it. For another year, I felt pressured to hook up, but I ignored it since, after all, if everyone else was doing it, it had to be me who was wrong for not doing it, right?

It wasn't until I went to university several years later that I recognised the poison of hookup culture and how awful it was that I felt I had no other option. When I first started dating, I had to change my thinking and teach myself that discussing my feelings is not only acceptable but also necessary in a relationship – because hookup culture is built on the premise of zero communication. Hookup culture is essentially the same as saying, "Hey, let's have an intense makeout session, but then we'll never talk about it and pretend we've never met." That's not my cup of tea, to be honest.

When I finally left the hookup-central society, I realized I'd made a mistake by succumbing to a culture I didn't want to learn about. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing and suffered as a result. I eventually learned that before I can engage in any type of sexual behavior with someone, I must first establish an emotional bond with them. It's critical for me to understand that their primary goal is to connect with me rather than to satisfy their own sexual cravings. Simply said, I can't enjoy it until I have a strong emotional connection with the person; at 13, I had no idea this was even a possibility, let alone that it was a common and healthy decision.

If I could tell my 13-year-old self-one thing, it would be this: hookup culture is not the only option. It's fine to say no, and it's also fine to get to know someone before committing to a physical relationship. It's past time for us to recognize the dangers of hookup culture in order to prevent additional tragedies like mine.


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