Every so often I need to remind myself that not all readers here have been around a while. I hear regularly from college freshmen women who are new to Hooking Up Smart. They’ve been on campus for about a month now, and they’re undoubtedly enjoying the attention that comes from being the flavor of the week. Today I found an interesting editorial at Consider, a student-run blog at the University of Michigan. It asks whether hooking up is worth it, and includes two differing views.
The first article is Genuine Sexual Power written by Mark Regnerus, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying (Oxford University Press, 2011.)
He cuts straight to the chase:
“Let’s start by being honest. The question about whether hooking up is a good idea, whether it is sex-positive or not, is largely a question for women. They’re the ones who must weigh what they want with what they can hope for in today’s competitive market for relationships. Most women prefer something more than hooking up…Men, on the other hand, seem largely fine with hooking up, since their interest in sex has always been—and will always be—elevated. Relationships can wait.”
He goes on to describe a Duke student interviewed for Rolling Stone’s 2006 article Sex and Scandal at Duke:
“For her, the script was to hang out, meet men at social functions, hookup, and—if she finds herself with a particular man for an extended period of time—eventually ask him to clarify their status. How passive and powerless. How bizarre.
Honestly. Do women really like it this way? Some say they do. Most don’t.
Some women think that power is found in generating male desire.
On the contrary, most women with a pulse can generate some male desire.
Or perhaps, power is found in having sex whenever and however she wants.
Again, that’s not power; that’s just reality.”
What’s most interesting though, is his short-term prognosis, and his advice to women:
“By now, however, the hookup norm is not so easily altered. Most women don’t know how to work around it, or they fear that in doing so, men will ignore them. So plenty acquiesce. They try to put a good face on it. They tell each other things like, “it’s all good,” even when it’s not.
Unfortunately, the prospect that women will collectively demand that men actually treat them well in order for the privilege of being in her company isn’t likely anytime soon.
In part that’s because women no longer need men. Like them? Yes. Need them? No.
Back when they did, women protected and policed each other in the domain of relationships.
(SW: Currently known as slut-shaming.)
This, of course, is no longer the case. Women who prefer commitment and security in their sexual relationships now can only hope for it. Not much power in that.
What to do? Give in and hook up? You can, and many will. But I wouldn’t recommend it. While I can’t assure that the road ahead to a stable relationship is guaranteed, women would do well to remember men’s secret. They want you. Badly. If women remember that sex has considerable “exchange value,” they are more apt to get what they want: security, responsibility, attention, affection, exclusivity, and commitment. That is power. It won’t be easy, since the numbers aren’t in their favor. But to give up and hookup will guarantee only sex. And that isn’t much of an accomplishment.
And now, on the other side of the ring, we have Tabitha Berry, a recent U of M grad with a degree in Creative Writing. She is a sex-positive feminist with strong interests in gender and sexuality. (What is it with sex pozzies and Creative Writing? Check out this tale (hat tip to Snowdrop): In Professor-Dominatrix Scandal, U. of New Mexico Feels the Pain.) Berry’s piece is entitled Hooking Up, Ladies, and Why Everyone Seriously Needs to Shut Up Already.
“The quibbling about whether “hooking up is good for today’s young women” is not only ridiculous, but also offensive. First, there is no one response that will apply to every woman. Secondly, as I often yell at the authors of articles and books on the subject: “Seriously? Do I know you? Do you know me? I’m fairly certain I count as a human being and, as such, I’m going to ask you to leave me to my business, regardless of what you think.”
I don’t want to come out screaming that hooking up is just dandy and what-are-you-on-about-leave-us-alone-sex-is-always-awesome! So I won’t. But I do think that it’s vital to accept women as sexual beings more than capable of making their own decisions. It is irrelevant whether or not you approve.
…[One author thinks] women need committed relationships for sex. That’s cool; it’s her opinion, but it’s not the universal relationship script. So shut up.
...It ought to be somewhat evident that if women are sexual beings, they cannot be passive objects or possessions. And it ought to follow that if women are not simple trophies to be won, they cannot depreciate in value – no matter how many strangers they have sex with. The ‘value’ of a being is not similar to that of a car. It does not go down with age or use.
…If the decision to hookup is consensual, even if the lady does actually want to date the dude – and even if she doesn’t, it is her choice. In fact, if the next day, after just wanting a hookup (score!), she decides she is looking for something more, then it’s still fine…The semantics of sexual relationships scrutinize women’s actions and choices far too seriously. So shut up already!”
Unfortnately, a woman’s choices don’t exist in a vacuum. There’s got to be a guy on the other end. If she is looking for something more and he’s MIA, well, that’s not so fine, is it? She doesn’t really have a choice in how she is perceived post-hookup. What’s clearly missing here is the first-hand perspective of the college male. For insight I turn to Denice Ann Evans, documentary filmmaker of Spitting Game: The College Hook Up Culture. During filming, Denice had access to a population of college guys, many of whom spoke in silhouette rather than be identified. Here are some of the things she learned from them:
Toaster: a girl who has slept with three or more frat brothers. This information is tracked and distributed so that brothers know the Toaster roll at all times, and can steer pledges to Toasters during Rush.
Cum Buckets: college girls willing to be on call for sex.
Creamies: a white girl who will do anything for a black athlete
Fantasy Sex League: Many fraternities have a secret “rating” system where they keep a white board log of all the girls they have hooked up with and you get points for doing certain sexual things. Like…a blow job is 10 points, intercourse 100, etc…Rape is included on the list.
Swirly: Sticking a girl’s head in a toliet after you have sex with her.
For more insight into how college man sluts think, we may turn to that hallowed hall of wisdom Bro Bible, and their 5 Keys to Hooking Up With Incoming Freshmen:
5. Handling the Girl with a Long-Distance Relationship
“Don’t let this deter you. She is going to miss her man and long for his touch, but she is in Florida and Timmy is 3,000 miles away in California. A true gentleman, such as yourself, would do the right thing and step in to be that shoulder for her to cry on, that ear for her to talk to, and that throbbing cock for her to straddle.’
4. How to Gauge Her Interest
“The simple truth is that there is no easier way to a freshman girl’s crotch than to show her a good fucking time and take her to sick parties. Just be sure that she is not a virgin. If she still has her cherry intact, I suggest you take your cock elsewhere because fucking her is going to take a little thing my father likes to call “work,” and you don’t want any part of that.”
3. How to Make Sure the Young Lass Doesn’t Cling to You
“If the girl is a freshman and you have a one-night stand with her, keeping her from clinging is easy. Just don’t give her your number (accepting her as a friend on Facebook is debatable). By the second month of school, you’ll both be afterthoughts in each others’ minds.”
2. How Not to Burn Bridges
“Be nice. Be sincere. Don’t promise her the world if all you can give her is a crusty eye followed by the dumpster. I know that sounds totally contradictory to everything that I have ever said, but take it from a guy who has doused a few bridges with kerosene and then tossed a match on them right after I crossed; enemies of the female gender can ruin your love life.”
1. How to Not Alienate Older Chicks
“Depending on the circles you run in, this might not be as difficult as you think. Most of the broads I hung out with my freshman year knew what the deal was by the time we were upperclassmen. You having sex with a young freshman won’t change their opinion of you. Hell, you probably already banged half of their sorority, so what’s one more?”
Actually, number 2 is kind of classy, even if his motives aren’t. I hope lots of guys take that advice. It’s very true that most guys don’t get this kind of action in college. But most of them want to. Bro Bible is HUGE among male undergrads, reading, writing down tips, hoping that you could be their next victim hookup.
Eyes wide open, ladies! Adopt Ms. Berry’s strategy if you dare, but don’t cry or email me afterwards. If you’re a freshman you are fresh meat, not a precious unique snowflake. Remember that.
I’ll close with Susan’s 5 Keys to Not Getting Pumped and Dumped Your First Semester:
- Stay wary of frat rats and athletes.
- Don’t go to anyone’s room at 3 in the morning if you don’t want to have sex.
- Watch out for each other. Don’t let friends hook up when they’re blackout drunk. Don’t let your friends leave anywhere without you.
- Don’t do anything more than make out the first time.
- Don’t interpret a willingness to hold hands or kiss you on the nose or cuddle as anything more than foreplay or post-coital oxytocin haze.