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The Iona Blog

It's worse than you thought. Welcome to the hook up culture.

Author: Tom O'Gorman
Date: 19th July 2013

Just when you thought that the culture couldn't get any more sordid, you read a piece that makes you realise that things are a lot worse.

This New York Times feature explains that not only are US college students not waiting until marriage to have sex, or even waiting for Mr or Mrs Right, they aren't even waiting for a relationship of any description.

Welcome to the hook-up culture.

How it works is this: American college students are simply too busy to get into relationships, and so a culture develops whereby relationships are not expected, and are replaced by the most casual and meaningless of sexual encounters.

One typical example of this is illustrated by the story of one girl, called M in the article.

She had arrived at college a virgin and “planned to wait to have sex until she had her first boyfriend, something she expected to happen in college”.

However, she soon saw that very few students were forming relationships and “she began to lose hope about finding a boyfriend and to see her virginity as a hindrance,” the article explains.

M said: “I could be here for four years and not date anyone. Sometimes you are out, and there’s a guy you really are attracted to, and you kind of want to go back home with him, but you kind of have that underlying, ‘I can’t, because I can’t just lose my V-card to some random guy.’ ”

Ultimately, she ended up losing her virginity to “some random guy” from whom she expected nothing but a one night stand.

This was on the basis that she was attracted to him, and that the alternative was that “I could take the chance that one night I get really drunk and sleep with someone that I don’t want to sleep with, which probably is what would have ended up happening”.

She added: “Honestly, all of my friends, they’re super envious, because I came back with the biggest smile on my face,”  As she had expected, she and the guy remained friendly but nothing more. Yet she was still happy with her decision.

“All of my friends are jealous, because I had such a great first experience,” she added. Over spring break, she slept with someone else.

M reckoned that the men at her college controlled the “hookup culture”. But women played a role as well.

“It’s kind of like a spiral,” she said. “The girls adapt a little bit, because they stop expecting that they’re going to get a boyfriend — because if that’s all you’re trying to do, you’re going to be miserable. But at the same time, they want to, like, have contact with guys.” So they hook up and “try not to get attached.”

It should be noted that this is an account of life in US colleges rather than here. But is it really that much different in Ireland?

If this is what passes for a culture designed to empower young women, God help us.

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