With the rise of dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and Grindr, young people are looking at dating and sex in a way that older generations may not understand. "Hookup culture" is a term often used when describing our generation's view on love, sex and relationships. While some feel that dating apps make dating easier, others feel that they are the primary reason for our skewed views when it comes to sex and love.
The American Psychological Association defines the word "hookup" as "uncommitted sexual encounters between individuals who are not romantic partners or dating each other." Hookup culture is a term being discussed over and over again in media everywhere from small blogs to the New York Times.
The term "hookup" is very vague, and many have different understandings of what it means. Salisbury University psychology professor Dr. Lance Garmon understands that hookup culture is growing rapidly across college campuses and feels it's an important topic to cover in his class discussions.
"The single biggest thing I would say about 'hookup culture' is that it means different things to different people ..." he said. "... I have found it interesting that almost everyone thinks they know what the term 'hookup' means, but their personal definition does not match the definition of everyone else."
Garmon brings up a good point, which is that hookup culture changes its meaning depending on who's using it.
Not only does a person's age reflect their own definition of what hooking up means, but so does their gender. There is a gender dichotomy when it comes to many things, including sex and how it's viewed depending on one's gender.
SU senior Maddie Roberts feels that there is clear inequality when it comes to how women are treated in comparison to men when it comes to sex and hooking up.
"Women are constantly treated differently from men when it comes to sex. If a guy has a higher body count, he is called a 'player' or a 'stud,' but when a woman has a high body count, she is ridiculed and labeled as a 'slut' or 'whore,'" Roberts said.
Even though our generation is more accustomed to hookup culture and dating apps, there are still issues with this way of thinking. In addition to the gender inequalities, Garmon shared some of the other dangers that arise while practicing these social trends.
He explained that while the traditional interpretation of non-committed sexual activity was looked at negatively, most people today don’t look at sex that way anymore. However, because sex is looked at more casually, many aren't taking their own health into concern.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there is a strong association between number of sexual partners and having an STD. Women and men with five or more sexual partners are eight times more likely to report having an STD than those with only one partner.
Another SU professor who feels that hookup culture is an important topic to include in her class is communications professor Dr. Chrys Egan. She describes hookup culture as "a social trend of casual sexual encounters without the intention of starting a committed relationship."
Egan explained that possible dangers could include "devaluing oneself or partners, negative feelings about the lack of committed relationships, hurting other people’s feelings and increasing the likelihood of sexually transmitted infections."
Even though casual sex is starting to be seen as less taboo, it doesn’t stop some of the negative consequences that can come from it, like sexually transmitted diseases and infections. While there is nothing wrong with wanting more than one sexual partner or using dating apps strictly for sex, always be weary of the possible consequences.
So the next time you log onto Tinder or someone asks if you want to “Netflix and chill,” be safe and make sure you cover all the bases (not just home plate).
By MELANIE RAIBLE
Featured image by Noma Bar.