A Women’s persepective of modern day hook-up culture
Lots of buzz surrounds the ambiguous college hookup culture as many seek to understand this phenomenon across college campuses in America. Critics of this sensation view it as ultimately toxic to women, who seem to have no choice but to conform to the hookup culture. However, new research from books such as, The End of Men: The Rise of Women, by Hanna Rosin, shows that more women are actually driving the culture themselves.
But, before getting into the details, how do we define a hookup? Before I can continue with this interesting fact, I must define what exactly counts as hooking up for the sake of this article. According to a survey sent to 65 Ithaca College women, over 60 percent of them consider hooking up to be casual sex. So for this article, I will use hookups for this survey and article is as a term for consensual and casual sex.
Modern college woman actually reported feeling “liberated” after casual hookups and 53.8 percent of the 65 Ithaca College women say they don’t have a problem with it. In fact, women are actually the one’s beginning to initiate casual sex. In fact, a 2001 national study on college women’s sexual attitudes and behaviors revealed that instead of dating, many student’s were looking for just a hookup. Also, a study conducted by Elizabeth Paul suggests that there are just as many women initiating these relationships. American college life, in particular, has seen a huge rise in women initiating hookups with men. It is also not just women instigating casual relationships with men, but it is also women instigating casual relationships with other women.
According to survey results, women interested in same-sex relationships also engage in the hookup culture. Results show the main reason for participating in this phenomenon is for pleasure. Many also find the experience to be liberating as well. The women interested in the same sex who took the survey reported having five plus sexual partners and tend to find those experiences liberating. The question to be answered in this article is why are women moving towards more casual liaisons and further away from more emotional ties. Is it because women truly want just the physical aspects of intimacy or do they feel pressured by society to be accepted as hot and attractive?
For most women, the hookup culture is something they visit mostly during their college years and even when they are bored or experimenting, according to writer Hanna Rosin. In Hanna Rosin’s book The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, Hanna discusses the modern hookup culture. Hanna’s research concludes that women aren’t being victimized by men taking advantage of them and that women are actually sustaining the hook-up culture.
In fact, many women have mixed feelings on whether they feel judged after a hookup. For example, the US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health claim some participants in their experiment enjoyed their most recent hookup and indicate a low level of regret while others felt judged by themselves. However, despite that women are still participating in the hookup culture. The question is not so much about judgement, but about why college women participate in these acts despite feeling judge either internally or externally by society.
While most women at Ithaca College hookup for pleasure, 28 percent of women hookup to feel wanted. However, the surprising number lies in that only nine percent of women at Ithaca IC hookup because of peer pressure. This statistic seems drastically different from the views that people have regarding how women hookup because they feel there is no other option but to succumb to the pressure of society. This statistic points out that women are moving away from that form of peer pressure and are actually the ones who venture into these kinds of relationships.
It is also apparent that college women enter casual relationships as a form of pleasure with 80 percent of Ithaca College women agreeing. A 2004 study by sociologist Elizabeth Armstrong and graduate student Laura Hamilton at Indiana University, shows that women also hookup with men to engage in a level of intimacy without it getting in the way of their goals because they don’t have the time for a relationship. While women want romance in theory, relationships are more trouble than they’re worth. Sarah Killian, student at Ithaca College, believes this too, “relationships inhibit full individuality growth. I was in a relationship until recently and it created a lot of problems with dependency. I couldn’t be as active in clubs as I wanted to. Hookup’s are great when you have to much on your plate.”
Talia Koren, a senior at Ithaca College, identifies as one of the modern day women that Rosin alludes to. Koren started to blog her sophomore year of college on what she knows best: sex. “I am a big fan of comedy and it is always good to write about what you know,” Koren said. “I kept a list of experiences that were weird or funny to me.”
From the age of 13, Talia wrote about the experiences she had with guys. She later used this to help her write her blog in college. Talia would blog countless stories on approaching men and initiating hookups. She explains, “I love being in control and as an aggressive woman, I bee line for men and just go for it. When a guy chases me, I hate it.”
Talia also expressed her concern with the judgement that goes along with casual hookups. From her point of view, casual relationships are a way to learn about yourself. She explains, “As long as you are safe, there should be no problem with casual sex or hooking up,” Koren said. “As long as you are not hurting emotionally, sex/hooking up is great. It allows you to explore your desires and sexuality. It’s all a learning experience.”
Alexa Levy is a freshman TV-R major who ain’t no damsel in distress. Email her at alevy3[at]ithaca.edu.