Kicking the Hookup Habit

March 20, 2012

Timothy Wilson’s review of  THE POWER OF HABIT: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, begins with this quote:

Human consciousness, that wonderful ability to reflect, ponder and choose, is our greatest evolutionary achievement.

It’s something we tend to forget when we talk about sexual imperatives and the competing mating strategies of the sexes. Regardless of your genetic predispositions, your life experiences, or even the culture you live in, you have the freedom to consider your options in nearly every aspect of behavior.

Recently, I was talking with Emileigh, a female college student who’s gotten into the habit of hooking up at school. Freshman year she had a regular hookup that eventually turned into an official relationship, though it was fraught with drama and suspicion of his cheating. Looking back on it, she said, “I know he didn’t love me.”  

When that relationship burned and crashed over the summer, she returned to school figuring she’d follow the same path. This wasn’t entirely insensible – hooking up is the pathway to relationships in college, though it happens only 12% of the time. (Hayes, Allison, McManus, Brian and Paul, 2000). Two and a half years later, she’s had many hookups, none of which made it to the relationship stage this time around. She’s a senior now and feels miserable about it. I asked her why she kept doing it. Her answer had several elements. 

  • Guys give her attention knowing she hooks up on the reg.
  • The girls who don’t hook up get zero attention from guys, which she fears would be even worse.
  • Her number has gotten so high she doesn’t see why it matters anymore. :(
  • It’s awkward to say no.
Regarding that last point, 12% of women say that it is sometimes easier to have sex with a guy they don’t know than to make conversation (Glenn, Norval and Marquardt, Elizabeth, 2001).
 
Emileigh was clearly wrestling with the fact that she’d become one of the most promiscuous girls on campus. Hooking up was a habit, and she no longer gave any thought to the decision before making it. She had forfeited her power to reflect, ponder and choose. She feels terrible about her choices – she was very upset while telling me this – and she wants to stop. She’s not sure how. It was clear to me that just telling her to get a grip was not going to help. I asked her to think about a hiatus, starting now. No sex. I asked her to say no this weekend to hooking up. If she could make it one weekend, she could try again next week. I realized I was basically advising Jerry Seinfeld’s “don’t break the chain” method of forming a new habit. I sensed that Emileigh would find it challenging to stop doing this thing that makes her feel so badly, and that it might help to break it down into small steps.

 

Back to Duhigg’s book, Wilson continues:

This is not a self-help book conveying one author’s homespun remedies, but a serious look at the science of habit formation and change.

One way behavior can become habitual is through repetition. If we acquire a bad habit this way it is very hard to change, because its grooves are so well worn in our minds. We have to painstakingly practice a better response that wears a new groove.

Duhigg is optimistic about how we can put the science to use. “Once you understand that habits can change,” he concludes, “you have the freedom — and the responsibility — to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.” He also suggests that by understanding the nature of habits we can influence group behavior, turning companies into profit makers and ensuring the success of social movements.

As you can imagine, that last sentence really caught my eye – if we think about hooking up as a habit, and we understand how that habit gets formed and how it can be broken, then perhaps we really can influence the culture for young people.

Social psychologists have shown that an effective way of changing many habitual behaviors is to change people’s perceptions of the norms that govern them, resulting in reduced drinking on college campuses, for instance.

…Other behaviors are habitual because they obey social norms — norms that we rarely question or think about. We shake hands when we greet people, wear socks of the same color and eat with a fork because these are the customs we have learned. Such behaviors are not well-worn grooves in our minds, but actions we could easily alter if the laws or customs that governed them should change.

Wilson refers here to the success colleges have had in curbing binge drinking by exposing pluralistic ignorance: not nearly as many kids are getting wasted as you think, and not nearly as many kids want to get wasted as you think. We know that pluralistic ignorance plays a role in hookup culture as well, so it stands to reason that exposing it might prove beneficial to the majority of students.

Finally, Wilson addresses what I believe is going on with Emileigh, and certainly with many more young women like her:

There is another type of habitual behavior that involves more cognitive activity, namely people’s interpretation of a situation according to what it means for them and how it fits into the narratives they tell themselves. These behaviors are habitual in the sense that people have chronic ways of interpreting the world.

We need to decouple self-esteem and validation from casual sex. Emileigh has a narrative that she replays in her head whenever she goes out. Because her experience rarely departs from the narrative, it’s worn a very deep groove in her mind. She is stuck in a rut, literally. Perhaps if we can decipher what stories people tell themselves, and explore where the narrative reinforces behavior, we can interrupt the chronic cycle of choosing without reflecting or pondering.

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  • Charm

    It’s awkward to say no.

    I thought awkward was burping in someones face while making out, or brushing someones genitals while trying to get passed them in a crowded space, or even making eye contact with a stranger that won’t stop looking at you.

    But now denying someone access to the most intimate part of your body is awkward?

    I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

  • Ted D

    Wow. It’s easier to have sex with a stranger than talk to him.

    I fear for our future.

  • Cooper

    “hooking up is the pathway to relationships in college”

    Was Emileigh seeking a relationship?

    “Emileigh was clearly wrestling with the fact that she’d become one of the most promiscuous girls on campus.”

    How come none of the hook-ups were relationship worthy, then?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      How come none of the hook-ups were relationship worthy, then?

      None of them wanted to commit to her. It was all pump and dump.

  • Lokland

    Sucks to be her, good luck.

  • Charm

    Sucks to be her, good luck.

    +1

    I was thinking the same thing. I didn’t wanna be the first to say it. I wonder how many random cocks she had to sit on before she realized it was a bad idea.

  • Sassy6519

    @ Charm

    Haha. Where would you like to live instead?

  • Charm

    @Sassy

    The goddamn moon. At least there you wouldnt have young women putting out to avoid a damn awkward situation of saying the word “No”.

    This post really pisses me off. This shit is getting out of hand. She slept with all those people. And for what? Attention?

  • Lokland

    @ Charm

    I think she is now a bad bet for a relationship for the guy.
    I still feel for her shes in a tough situation even if she put herself there.

    As for habitualness being trained, I agree 100% with Susan on this point.

  • Charm

    I think she is now a bad bet for a relationship for the guy.

    I agree. I hope she doesn’t end up with some clueless beta. But we all know that odds are she will. Unless shes upfront about her past. I ain’t puttin’ my money on that happenin’.

    No wait, she’ll just adopt the slogan “If I hadn’t got pumped and dumped by all those guys in college, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.” Thus softening the blow.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      No wait, she’ll just adopt the slogan “If I hadn’t got pumped and dumped by all those guys in college, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.” Thus softening the blow.

      Actually, I was struck by the absence of a rodent on a fly wheel. She took full responsibility for her own actions, to the point where I felt compelled to reassure her that she’s hardly alone. She’s not Hester Prynne. She is, like it or not, a product of her culture.

  • ExNewYorker

    “As for habitualness being trained, I agree 100% with Susan on this point.”

    Just one more reason why guys prefer low count women. A lot of us didn’t particularly want to sign up to become some type of “habit breaker” therapist or trainer.

    I feel bad for her, but really, she’s an adult. I got to see plenty of these well-educated, intelligent habit followers flock to some of my favorite cads. The best defense against cads sometimes is not having engaged them in the first place…

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @ExNewYorker

      Just one more reason why guys prefer low count women. A lot of us didn’t particularly want to sign up to become some type of “habit breaker” therapist or trainer…The best defense against cads sometimes is not having engaged them in the first place…

      Absolutely. It’s actually a little scary how quickly someone can fall into a pattern of behavior. Obviously, this will vary enormously by individual – that person’s propensity to ponder and reflect. It’s really no surprise that the literature describes promiscuous people as being very impulsive, risk-seeking and novelty-seeking. Precisely the behaviors that circumvent introspection.

  • Cooper

    “None of them wanted to commit to her. It was all pump and dump.”

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein

    I don’t know what else to say.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Cooper

      I think of that Einstein quote often when I hear stories like Emileigh’s. The thing is, she did get the desired result her first time out. (Even though it sounds like the guy was kind of a “fake boyfriend.”) And she looked around on campus and saw that most of the couples were hookup buddies for a while first. That’s what is so insidious about hookup culture. People think it’s the only way to get a boyfriend – and it is.

  • Cooper

    I went through college seeking a relationship, as I always have.

    And the part about girls who don’t hook up, don’t get attention. Is pretty true.
    I initially thought the girls hooking up were the ones not looking for anything serious. But I quickly found out that the one’s not hooking up, in fact, actually didn’t want the attention.
    Thus I would have to compete with every sort of guy out there for the girls who were hooking up. So I find it hard to beleive that none of the guys pursuing Emileigh were looking for LTR.

    Perhaps she was only choosing the ones’ not LTR interested?

  • LunarEclipse

    Additionally the marital acts flood the brain with dopamine and oxytocin.

    Dopamine is the hormone produced naturally that cocaine stimulates. It is the “reward” hormone in your brain.

    Oxytocin has its own important functions.

    Importantly people overcoming a ‘habit’ of casual sex may face more than just a conscious choice of behavior change, like choosing a different color socks. In overcoming a sexual addiction people need to “rewire” their brain and take time to adjust to these lower levels of certain hormones.

    There is a reason pharmacologists advice patients going on and off drugs that affect the brain recommend stepping up and down the dosage rather than cold turkey.

    You can’t do that with the rush of hormones that accompanies love making.

    You will need to realize the pattern of behavior that can trigger the chain of events that leads up to the sin, so you can cut it off at the impasse.

    It is a whole lot more difficult to say no when you two are in bed at 2am than saying no to your friends who are making plans at 9pm.

    Then you need to find another action to take the place of that trigger action. Make plans days in advance for a dinner party for your house with your closest girlfriends rather than inevitably falling back into the same cheap nightclub so many encounters started at.

    For example if you have a habit of drinking a coke at a certain time of the day you may want to switch to water. You are identifying the need. (Socialization, hydration, etc.) and modifying the behavior to fulfill that need in a non-destructive way.

    Most importantly when excising this behavior from your life you need to find something to replace it. You need to find a reason to live.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lunar Eclipse

      Good comment, thanks. I thought about the question of sexual addiction, but I thought that might be too much. I think it’s a controversial diagnosis, because it absolves the person of responsibility by saying “she just couldn’t help herself.” In college hookups, I don’t think that oxytocin is as much of an issue because women have orgasms only 19% of the time. I do think the attention and validation can become addictive though, Emileigh admitted as much.

      I agree that kicking the habit does mean controlling for the outcome well in advance. If Emileigh’s friends are sympathetic and supportive, that could help. But it they’re a bunch of loose goose types it’s going to be very difficult for her to stand out in the crowd and take a cab home alone.

  • Charm

    @LunarEclipse

    She could take up knitting. Ive heard its a useful skill.

  • Jacko

    Poor Emileigh. She’s made a horrible mess of things. Women with a number as high and a rep as bad as hers are not likely going to find any happiness in life through sex or relationships. It will be difficult enough for her to have any meaningful long-term relationship with a man, but that’s assuming she can find some guy who would be willing to have a long-term relationship with her in the first place. Most sane men would not want to take the risk.

    Her best life course at this point would be to find religion, repent and “go all-in” [i.e. ignore the things of this world [including sex and relationships] and concentrate on the things of heaven]. Eat [simply], pray [much], love [God].

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jacko

      I agree that Emileigh’s risk for future dissatisfaction in relationships is high. Vox Day’s Fidelity Survey backs that up. I don’t know her number, but I think it’s fair to say she’s in the top (bottom?) 10% of women in terms of promiscuity. However, I think entering a convent might be too drastic a solution. The fact that she’s identified the desire and need to change is an important step. I told her that I will support her and talk her off the ledge if she finds it trying. It’s clear that promiscuity is a hard habit to break.

  • ksn

    My guess is that is excatly what she did. She went after the gusts who were ‘fun’ and ‘interesting’, meaning they new how to tease, meg, and display high market value. It is extremely doubtful that anyone of those hooks UPS were with anything less than what roissy would call a greater beta. In fact someone should ask her how many guys she did turn down? I am willing to wager, through my experience, that even as easy as she was she turned probably turned down alot of guys. Sad thing being she probably would have gotten what she wanted from them. It’s sad but I can’t say I feel sorry for her, she made her bed.

  • LunarEclipse
  • Charm

    @Jacko

    No, she can still find a relationship and love technically. She will have to lower her standards though. Sane betas dont want her, but more than a few omegas would fight to the death for her.

  • Chris_in_CA

    “Regarding that last point, 12% of women say that it is sometimes easier to have sex with a guy they don’t know than to make conversation (Glenn, Norval and Marquardt, Elizabeth, 2001).”

    Personally, I’m surprised this percentage isn’t higher. Having a conversation anywhere past the superficial is analogous to pulling someone else’s teeth with your toes. Unwillingly.

    To say nothing of the utter havoc this percentage wreaks on the guys who are left in the cold.

    @Lokland

    “I think she is now a bad bet for a relationship for the guy.
    I still feel for her she’s in a tough situation even if she put herself there.”

    It is a tough situation, and I can sympathize to some extent. That being said, she IS a bad bet for a relationship, and she DID put herself there.

    My point, as it is so often, is not that women can’t change this habit. If they honestly regret treating themselves and others so poorly, then of course they should be encouraged toward a better choice!

    The only problem is, there is no real consequence if she backslides. She could go find a desperate beta who’s willing to overlook her past (becoming rarer, and rightly so). Marry him. Maybe even have kids, if it’s not too late.

    But what if one day she wakes up and feel the urge to hook up again? What’s stopping her? Barely any social pressure. Certainly not legal pressure. She can shatter every semblance of that life in a snap, if she wants.

    What guy with any spine would want to deal with that?

    This is why we have MGTOWs. This is why “breaking the hookup habit” is indeed commendable, and a worthwhile goal in school years. But it’s only half a solution.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Chris in CA

      Personally, I’m surprised this percentage isn’t higher.

      That data is more than 10 years old. My guess is that it is higher at this point. It makes sense, though. If you go home with someone, you have already signaled consent to at least some sexual activity. Small talk would be a form of courtship or politeness, prior to getting naked with a stranger. I can see why it would feel artificial. If getting to know someone was the goal, they could meet for coffee.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Cooper, did you meet many girls who were in relationships in college? I was with the same boyfriend all 4 years of college, and for several years after college. I didn’t really know a lot of other girls who were in stable relationships around that time.

    I’m curious why you competed with other guys for the hook up girls though? Were they hotter or just seemed more receptive to male attention?

  • Emily

    She might also have more luck finding an LTR if she moved somewhere new. (Although she might have to wait to finish college for this.)

    A lot of guys will probably still be turned off by her high number, but I imagine that it’d be less worse to be somewhere where she doesn’t have a “reputation” and that isn’t crawling with guys that she previously hooked up with.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Emily

      A lot of guys will probably still be turned off by her high number, but I imagine that it’d be less worse to be somewhere where she doesn’t have a “reputation” and that isn’t crawling with guys that she previously hooked up with.

      Yes, we talked about this. Even though her number and experience go with her, I think it will be easier for her to stop the behavior once she gets out of that environment. For one thing, she won’t be a sitting target the way she is now. And the sooner she stops, the more emotionally healthy she can become, potentially. I have to say I was really struck by her emotional turmoil. It makes me furious that there are people, i.e. feminists, who are purposely promoting this behavior.

  • M3

    @ Charm

    But now denying someone access to the most intimate part of your body is awkward?

    I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

    +1 billion.

    I had the same reaction when i read that.

    Sorry to say, this girl for me would be a lost cause, even after therapy. I learned my lesson to stay away from being a rescuer of wayward women.

    Perhaps she should be on the frontlines with a bullhorn telling feminists to go dig holes to die in for making her think hooking up like a guy was empowering. If she did that, I’d at least have some respect for her and maybe after enough time and therapy, might consider her ‘reformed’.

  • Cooper

    @Hope

    I had to compete with non-LTR interest men for the ones receptive to male attention.

    I tried, quite chivalrously, to display my intension for a non-hook up girl, only to find out, after a while, that she actually had no interest in finding relationship.

    And since the one not seeking attention didn’t want any relationship, I switch to presuming the girls that were habitually hooking up must be the ones looking to LTR-qaulities.

    I later found this to also not be true.

  • M3

    kns 17

    Sad thing being she probably would have gotten what she wanted from them. It’s sad but I can’t say I feel sorry for her, she made her bed.

    Over and over again apparently.

    You know.. i REALLY am struggling to find the sympathy here.

    Just thinking back to all the sympathy i got for being a hapless incel beta shmuck… OH WAIT.. .yeah, exactly.

    But you know what… i won’t blame her.

    Her parents are FAIL. Does she have a father in her life? I’m curious to know.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @M3

      You know.. i REALLY am struggling to find the sympathy here.

      Just to be clear, I don’t expect anyone to sympathize with Emileigh, particularly. I think her story is interesting as an example of habitual behavior, and how difficult it can be to kick it. It was very clear to me that saying “Just stop” was not going to be effective. Emileigh is really struggling to figure out just where she went off track, and how to get back to a place that feels right. And of course she’s worried that she’ll never find someone to love. Sadly, it’s that desire to find love that drives most females to hook up.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    Well, I can understand everyone’s cynicism here, but I hope this girl finds what she wants. I hope she’s honest about her past with whoever she does find, but I hope she ends up happy.

  • Tom.s

    @ Chris

    “But what if one day she wakes up and feel the urge to hook up again? What’s stopping her? Barely any social pressure. Certainly not legal pressure. She can shatter every semblance of that life in a snap, if she wants.”

    I think women often wonder why men stereotypically won’t ‘commit’. For me, I am more scared of DIVORCE than marriage. I feel bad for her if she does want to ‘reform’ because yes, I would not want to take the risk of marriage with her. The risk/reward is not there for me.

    I wish her all the best though.

  • Jesus Mahoney

    I would not want to take the risk of marriage with her. The risk/reward is not there for me.

    I wish her all the best though.

    Exactly.

  • Maggie

    “The girls who don’t hook up get zero attention from guys, which she fears would be even worse.”

    I do feel sorry for this girl and at 18 she was a girl, not an adult, when she made these bad choices. It’s obvious she has low self-esteeem and is most likely depressed. Susan, I hope you will continue to help her.

    At 21 or 22 she is not a lost cause and can turn her life around. A lot of people here are very harsh.

  • Charm

    @maggie

    How are we harsh? How is she not considered an adult? She definitely knew that if she didn’t put out she would get no attention, so in order to get short term validation from men she gave her body away. It was a transaction. A cheap one at that. You can continue to try and absolve her of responsibility but the fact is she was aware of how promiscuous behavior would make her look. She did it anyway. Over and over and over again.

    Who knows if she’ll end up a spinster. But if shes straight forward and honest about her past her odds of staying single increase dramatically compared to a girl thats slept with 2 guys. Fact is that she isn’t so special that a guy can’t choose another girl. If she’s drop dead gorgeous, I doubt she’ll have a problem, but if she’s average at best, well those come a dime a dozen anyway.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      If she’s drop dead gorgeous, I doubt she’ll have a problem, but if she’s average at best, well those come a dime a dozen anyway.

      She’s quite attractive. I know she will have suitors, and some of them would probably put her in the girlfriend box if she didn’t put out right away. She knows this on one level, but on the other hand she has seen some of her girlfriends get what they wanted by slutting it up. Personally, I think those “relationships” are often just glorified booty calls with little emotional intimacy.

  • Rum

    Her best move would be to move after graduation to a deeply red state, preferably to a rural-ish part, where there is so much less awareness of the true condition of the modern SMP. In such an environment, her basic acting skills might be all that would be necessary to convince some well meaning schlub that she is merely a “nice girl” who “made a mistake or two” before she found religion and moved away from the City. She should not dwaldle, however. The sphere keeps expanding its dark dominion.
    Beyond all that, I suspect something deeper is going on; one that her hamster wants to keep covered over & out of sight (mind) with wood-chips and newspaper bits – and that is that she really gets a serious dopamine rush from the supposed power and attention and affirmation of being able to snag alpha play even for one night. Five minutes of alpha is indeed more valuable than five years of faithful beta to her hind brain – and it is the hind brain that rations out the dopamine.
    In other words, she really likes the hooking up. The day after is what feels bad.
    If they are to be believed, and I do, high end escorts often describe how hard it is to give up a day to day routine that involves being given serious money to sex up high status rich guys who usually end up trying to impress and please her. And I bet they have an easier route to self justification than our college girl hero.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Rum

      I suspect something deeper is going on; one that her hamster wants to keep covered over & out of sight (mind) with wood-chips and newspaper bits

      LOL! I didn’t know there were any hamster jokes left – that’s hilarious.

      it is the hind brain that rations out the dopamine.
      In other words, she really likes the hooking up. The day after is what feels bad.

      Yes, I asked her this point blank and she confirmed it.

  • Dinkney Pawson

    17 ksn had a good point.

    She had to have said no, perhaps non-verbally, to somebody.

    Perhaps that could be her stopping place.

    Avoiding the places she finds hookup partners might work better.

  • Lokland

    To get us officially off-topic

    “I think women often wonder why men stereotypically won’t ‘commit’. For me, I am more scared of DIVORCE than marriage.”

    I wonder how many women are single because they give off a cheater/cuckolder/EPL/ruin your life some day vibe.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lokland

      I wonder how many women are single because they give off a cheater/cuckolder/EPL/ruin your life some day vibe.

      Not as many as should be, sad to say.

  • Maggie

    @Charm

    How many 18 year-old college freshman are adults? Very few. I live in a college town and have a lot of interaction with the students. They are delightful but as freshmen they are still children. The next few years are a time of dramatic growth for them.

    How do you know that at 18 when she started hooking up she was aware of how her promiscuous behavior would maker her look? My daughter in high school tells me that the girls who hook up are the most popular in the school — for now. It might be too early for them to have faced the consequences yet.

    I think she has a bigger problem then a bad rep and that is her low self-esteem that most likely led to this behavior in the first place. Really, unless she gave someone guy an STD, who beside herself has she hurt?

    I don’t think she is a lost cause, not at all. Alcholics give up drinking, drug addicts go straight, there is no reason why she can’t change.

    None of us is perfect. I believe in redemption and I’ve seen a lot of it. She’s not even through 1/4 of her life, it’s ridiculous to write her off.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Maggie

      I don’t think she is a lost cause, not at all. Alcholics give up drinking, drug addicts go straight, there is no reason why she can’t change.

      None of us is perfect. I believe in redemption and I’ve seen a lot of it. She’s not even through 1/4 of her life, it’s ridiculous to write her off.

      I agree! I wouldn’t presume to tell any guy to wife her up, that’s not my call. But I applaud her efforts to change her behavior. Many women have bounced back from far worse. Heck, my husband’s grandmother got knocked up on a haystack by the boy from the farm next door and got married fast. She became a pillar of the Congregational Church and beyond reproach – and that was in the 40s!

  • WarmWoman

    I can understand why she has a hard time saying no. I don’t know this girl’s background, but child sexual abuse and rape victims often are programmed to not know how to assert themselves during unwanted sex. Some people freeze in situations that require confrontation. She needs to learn that she doesn’t owe anybody anything. Just because she had a hook-up in the past with a man doesn’t mean she has to keep doing it.

    Going on a no sex strategy sounds good, but it’s like going on a diet. It will take a lot of self-control. Over time, it gets easier.

    “I hope this girl finds what she wants. I hope she’s honest about her past with whoever she does find, but I hope she ends up happy.”

    +1.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @WW

      . I don’t know this girl’s background, but child sexual abuse and rape victims often are programmed to not know how to assert themselves during unwanted sex.

      No, nothing like that. She’s simply a college girl who got caught up in the hookup scene. She’s hardly a rarity.

  • Dinkney Pawson

    I think Rum has a point. She likes getting buzzed every weekend. She doesn’t like the morning after.

    After the flight comes the fixing.

  • WarmWoman

    “I don’t think she is a lost cause, not at all. Alcholics give up drinking, drug addicts go straight, there is no reason why she can’t change.

    None of us is perfect. I believe in redemption and I’ve seen a lot of it. She’s not even through 1/4 of her life, it’s ridiculous to write her off.

    I agree, Maggie. But, only this young woman can prove the skeptics wrong.

    I sometimes think that discouraging people and naysayers are a blessing in disguise. They propel us to prove them wrong. 😉

  • Charm

    @Maggie

    So at what age do you think a person should be considered an adult? 20, 21, 22, 23?

  • WarmWoman

    @Charm

    The brain isn’t technically developed until 25, or so they say……

  • Rum

    WW
    Why does it not cross your mind that the reason she repeatedly engages in hooking up is because it gives her a lot of pleasure to do so? Why invoke the specters of child sex abuse and low self estemme, etc. to explain behavior that is easily explained by “I feel really good when I do it”
    Also, embedded in your ideas is the notion that women do not enjoy sex and only do it to get something else they want or as an expression of some psychic damage.
    See, even, or especially, healthy women like to fuck. They get really angry if they are turned down when they want it. Women have this weird ability to compartmentalize this. They act like wild she-wolves in heat when they feel like it and later say shit like, “I like sex a little bit; but it needs to be gentle and caring.” As if the guy cannot possibly remember what she did the night before.

  • SweetSue

    Charm @ #10
    No wait, she’ll just adopt the slogan “If I hadn’t got pumped and dumped by all those guys in college, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.” Thus softening the blow.

    Chances are unless she gets some self esteem -she will play the victim with some poor beta, resent him and screw up his head a.k.a re-arranging her mind was disarranging mine a la the Rolling Stone.

    How is it easier to engage in intimacy than it is to say no – the rationalization hamster just fell off the wheel and died laughing.

    @Cooper

    “The one’s not hooking up, in fact, actually didn’t want the attention.” Correction they wanted the correct kind of attention that matched what they wanted. Rather than accept attention that would not lead where they wanted they preferred to opt out; rather than endure being drowned out by the over eager to please who cannot say no!

    @Maggie

    Harsh – no. Realistic yes! Hard cold facts of the way the world works. Telling her otherwise would only be enabling and encourage her to follow the same ill advised path. Better to tell the straight up truth and give her a chance to maybe get some self esteem and make better choices in the future.

    Giving her the straight up scoop maybe the kindest thing – because with that knowledge she has the power to change if she wants to chart another path. When one knows better one has the power to do better. It won’t be easy – but it can get better.Maybe not an ideal path; but hopefully a less painful path. Telling her the truth says whether she knows it or not she has value and worth and it matters; but she has to see it herself before things will change – but they can change.

    She may not have been an adult when all this happened, though 18 is considered legal in most states. One does not have to be “an adult” to know that after a point doing the same thing the same way will provide the same results. She can’t learn any sooner and to sugarcoat it denies her the knowledge.

  • WarmWoman

    @SweetSue

    “How is it easier to engage in intimacy than it is to say no – the rationalization hamster just fell off the wheel and died laughing. ”

    Ask your dad to rape you and then see how you turn out.

    Screw you. I’m out of here.

  • WarmWoman

    Susan can delete my comment, but I don’t care if I sound like some borderline b*tch.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Sorry if this conversation is triggering for you WarmWoman. *hugs*

    My bad past was mostly trauma from my mother, but I also had an absent father and was in a bad relationship for many years. I would not be “on the surface” considered a good bet for marriage, but I think I’m better than who I was when I was 18. So yeah, I think people can change.

  • Dinkney Pawson

    I don’t want for her to have ruined her life. I see a number of potential problems:

    1) One or more pelvic infections may have scarred her Fallopian tubes. It doesn’t have to be one of the big name diseases. It’s a major cause of infertility. The probability goes up with partner count.
    2) Her behavior may have become off putting to men looking to commit.
    3) She has probably damaged her ability to bond.

    If she does find a man, bears his children, and does stay faithful to him then he won’t be a chump. They’ll both have lucked out. Kind of like winning at Russian Roulette.

  • SweetSue

    @maggie #34
    Even children can understand cause and effect , and that choices have consequences, and behaving responsibly if they are taught. The longer that lesson is delayed the more the “child” is damaged and deprived of a survival skill. Children can also be taught that if they make a mistake they can recover.

    Her best bet is to own her “stuff” and be brutally honest with herself. Given the prevalence of social media her past is unlikely to remain hidden. Own it, forgive herself – heal. Harvest the lessons learned from it and move forward. Make a decision to accept her past is what it is but it is past and move forward. When she meets someone at a later point in life, don’t hide or deny her past but don’t play dig up old bones that have nothing to do with the person she will be at that point in time.

    Assuming she successfully makes the necessary changes and puts it behind her – her past and how she moved forward shaped the person she became. Your past may shape the future but it only seals your future if you fail to learn from it or continue to re-live it.

  • Maggie

    So at what age do you think a person should be considered an adult? 20, 21, 22, 23?

    It depends on the person. Extenuating cicumstances such as war forces people to grow up very quickly. Most people today are probably adults by 20 but I know some guys are are still children in their late 20’s

  • Charm

    Had some sexual trauma happened to this girl and she never sought help then I could understand her behavior. But since Susan never put her family background in the post I think most of the people here are operating under the assumption that she had a very normal upbringing. If that is that case, then Im with Rum, maybe she just likes to have sex, and chooses to do it with many different people. If that is the case no one is really going to sympathize with her.

    Im not saying people can’t change. Were all always changing but the fact is that most men and most women are not sleeping around. Period. So sure, maybe our brains don’t fully develop until 25 but there are a whole hell of a lot of people who do just fine and make very good decisions with those underdeveloped brains. Just because a handful of people fuck up and make bad choices doesn’t absolve them.

  • SweetSue

    Warm Woman@ #42+43

    Clearly a nerve has been touched – not intended. That being said the comment was made in the context of not knowing her background and therefore taking it at face value and not presuming – rape, incest or abuse. No other information was provided and in the absence of this stated as being a factor one can only take what is said at face value. Based on the information on its face there appears to be a disconnect – hence the comment.

  • Charm

    @Maggie

    How do we determine who is a child or who qualifies as an adult then?

    If those guys still act like children then please revoke their drivers licenses, and ban them from being able to buy alcohol and force them to move back in with Mom and Dad. You don’t get to do all those fun adult things while still claiming to be “child-like”. Sounds like a cop out.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I think what’s missing from this discussion is the fact that Emileigh is not some hussy who’s the town slut. She is behaving in a way that is reinforced by the culture. She’s considered highly desirable by men and is high status at her college. She grew up in an era that told her that the sexual double standard is invalid. She may well have taken a sex ed class in high school that encouraged her to explore her sexuality. Like everyone else at college, she probably believes that a large percentage of women are hooking up, and she was no doubt comforted by that fact.

      Emileigh is a product of the last 50 years of feminist programming post-Sexual Revolution. It’s surprising more women don’t participate. I imagine that some of it was bad luck, some was naivete, some was weakness. She’s miserable, but she’s not blaming anyone but herself. Which is more than I can say for some unhappy campers in this SMP.

      She’s still quite young. What she does now will be very important, I think.

  • Charm

    @Susan

    Well at least she’s owning it. Thats respectable. I might even like her more if she acknowledged that it might make a future mate uncomfortable when it comes to long-term commitment. Like I said before, Im all for hearing people out as long as the are fully aware of their past actions and why they won’t be repeating it in the future.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Charm

      I might even like her more if she acknowledged that it might make a future mate uncomfortable when it comes to long-term commitment.

      I told her that, and she said, she knows, she’s in the slut box. To give credit where it’s due, she did not ever say she would lie about her number. She said that she knows her pool of potential mates is small. I felt badly in a way – she knew this from reading here. OTOH, I think it was a factor in her deciding to make a change.

  • Maggie

    “If those guys still act like children then please revoke their drivers licenses, and ban them from being able to buy alcohol and force them to move back in with Mom and Dad. You don’t get to do all those fun adult things while still claiming to be “child-like”.

    It is not so cut and dry. Actually in most states in the US driving privileges are phased in over several years, one cannot buy alcohol until one is 21, and college students in dorms usually have some restrictions enforced on them.

  • drg

    I’m curious about what things she would have to do for the other guys on here to accept her as a potential LTR. Thoughts?

  • Jesus Mahoney

    drg,

    That would depend on the length of time she spent being promiscuous, the types of behavior she engaged in, the number of guys she’d fucked, etc…

  • Charm

    That’s what is so insidious about hookup culture. People think it’s the only way to get a boyfriend – and it is.

    Correction: Thats the only way to attempt to get an attractive (thus highly desirable) guy to commit to you exclusively. Most college campus are crawling with Betas willing to treat you right and wait in order to have sex with you. The types of guys she was after weren’t willing to wait, so she gave it up early.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Charm

      Most college campus are crawling with Betas willing to treat you right and wait in order to have sex with you. The types of guys she was after weren’t willing to wait, so she gave it up early.

      You are right, but it’s a bit more complicated. College isn’t a big dance hall with the alphas lined up against one wall and the betas against the other. Mostly there are parties, heavily populated by alphas. A few betas slip in here and there, and they do OK if they’re cute. This is why pluralistic ignorance takes hold – people extrapolate from a small minority of students.

  • Tom.s

    @ Maggie

    Unfortunately the story does not end with Emileigh cleaning up her act, like alcoholics stop drinking. The relationship aspect means some man has to trust Emileigh. In short, it’s not really up to Emileigh.

    It’s not that it can’t be done, it’s that a precedent has been set, and some man has to trust her despite that.

    I would argue that there is more risk for the same reward. But every man will analyze his situation differently, so of course, there is still a chance.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tom.s

      I would argue that there is more risk for the same reward. But every man will analyze his situation differently, so of course, there is still a chance.

      One of Vox Day’s conclusions in the last post was that cads marry sluts. My guess is that Emileigh will wind up with a high count guy.

  • Lokland

    @ drg

    She couldn’t.

    Lets say shes 22, 4 years non-promiscuous.
    2 years LTR.
    Then mearriage for 1 year then children.

    Thats 7 years = 29. Say I was one year older. By that point I want to be watching my kids learn to play soccer. Not starting out.

    So its impossible. At least for me.

  • lalady

    To those of you saying she should have known better… perhaps, but how? Unless someone grows up in a very SERIOUS religion, who is telling these girls that it’s NOT ok to hook up? I already posted a little of my story in another comment thread if you want to look it up, but until I found out about game and the “manosphere” I really had NO IDEA that there was anything wrong with hooking up. I saw it on TV, in movies; even the sex ed classes in my liberal school (and from what I know about Susan, Emileigh probably grew up in a similar environment) seemed predicated on the fact that we were all eventually going to start going at it like rabbits and the best anyone could do was to encourage us to use condoms. I did attend church occasionally, and although my pastor once mumbled a few words to us about saving sex until marriage, he never discussed the WHY of it, which might have stuck with me even though I was never really enamored of all the God-stuff. And I don’t think my parents had any idea that they were supposed to tell me not to have sex with random guys immediately after meeting them if I was horny… I think they assumed that part was a given, as it had been in their day- when the sexual revolution had only just begun and all traces of sexual restraint had not yet been extinguished.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @lalady

      Thanks for sharing that. I think your experience with the culture (Sex and the City, ugh) and sex ed definitely reflects how women were encouraged to have no-strings sex. And you’re right – most parents are clueless – I don’t think my generation understands just how we got here. There’s been very little connecting of the dots until now.

  • Rico

    “I’m curious about what things she would have to do for the other guys on here to accept her as a potential LTR. Thoughts?”

    Based on what Susan has shared, nothing. Even if she had completely repented, been celibate from this moment forward, etc., she would be completely off my radar as a potential GF/wife. There’s plenty other women out there who could bring just as much to the table, but without the carousel baggage.

  • Lokland

    @lalady

    “To those of you saying she should have known better… perhaps, but how?”

    Not anyones problem but hers. We aren’t all walking penance machines, if you fuck up its on you. Regardless of whether or not you knew it was wrong. (Its called negligence in legal speak or so I’m told.)

  • Jesus Mahoney

    lalady,

    Thing is, this has little to do with “blame.” She’s done what she’s done (and if Sue’s breaking things down into individual w/e’s, then she’s probably done a lot) and while she maybe a product of the culture, she’s also a product of all those hook up experiences. And, as Sue says, she did get that pay off, that high at the moments the hook ups were taking place. So you have to look at all that when considering whether or not this girl can be fit for a LTR in the future.

    I hope she works her issues out, but I don’t blame guys who are wary of women like that.

  • Lokland

    @ Susan

    “No, nothing like that. She’s simply a college girl who got caught up in the hookup scene. She’s hardly a rarity.”

    Not to be picky but according to the states she is. (Assuming shes in the high number category as we don’t have the actual.)

  • Lokland

    states = stats

  • Charm

    @Lalady

    I agree with Lokland. You know how many men were lied to by feminist? Tons. They walked the line, got married, did everything a good little boy was supposed to do and in many cases got screwed over trying to treat women as equals while ignoring female behavior. You know what women said to that? “Tough shit”.

    Look, this girl obviously felt bad for what she was doing, and yet she kept doing it. Thats the part I dont get. If I regretted something the day after I’d stop doing it. Put you hand in the fire once, and I’ll excuse it. But to do it over and over again like the shit isn’t going to burn you is inexcusable.

    So now one told her. Well it sucks to be her. Everyone knows that movies and TV are bullshit and if she hadn’t figured that out a while ago then we’ve got another problem on our hands. She even points out all the girls who weren’t hooking up. I think she had some idea that not everyone else was doing it. Come on now.

  • lalady

    @Charm – Yet this corner of the internet seems to have plenty of sympathy for those men, as do I. I never said she wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of her actions, just that I’d hope ya’ll would have a little sympathy for the poor girl.

  • lalady

    Everyone here that is saying “tough shit” to her is like feminists saying “tough shit” to a man who just got screwed in divorce court despite doing everything he thought he was supposed to do. And I know how well THAT goes over in the manosphere.

  • Charm

    @Susan

    Well then good for her. At least shes fully aware of it all. I think that staying in the dark would hurt her more since she’d conduct her dating behavior over the next few years under the assumption that men didn’t care. Knowing is gonna save her a lot of time and heart break. I was reading an article and a woman in her 30s had finally met a man she wanted to marry and was dating him for nearly a year and when he jokingly asked her number and she answered honestly, that was the last time she saw him. I think she was like 35 or something, so that was probably her last shot.

    I could only imagine how shocked she was when she read HUS and some of the opinions of the regulars here. The red pill for women is a bitch to swallow. If she really didn’t have any idea then I can sympathize with that. While she was naive in believe that everyone else was doing it, and thinking it would pay then becoming an “accidental slut” must suck.<—no pun intended I promise.

  • Charm

    @Lalady

    I still think all those guys hold a bit of responsibility as well. Im sure alot of those women were absolute harpies when they married them so they shouldn’t have been surprised when it when badly. But I will also say that in the sphere women are judged more harshly for their behavior and given less sympathy. Its not fair, but it is what it is. I think about things very objectively. From an objective standpoint she fucked up. You’re asking me to think subjectively and thats not really my thing. Hope and Jesus and a few others threw her some sympathy.

    Susan said shes good looking so she’ll be fine. She’ll get a guy. My sympathy isn’t going to undo what shes done.

  • Charm

    @Susan

    Yes you’re right. Betas certainly aren’t the center of a attention at the biggest parties. But women certainly don’t go to those parties looking for good beta guys. They go looking for the Alpha commanding the room. So in that case, I guess they get what they deserve.

  • Lokland

    @ lalady

    The beta guy who got raped in court.

    He fucked up and its his fault.
    EVERYTHING that happens to you after you become concious (when is debatable) is your fault.

    Getting married and having sex are DEFINETELY conscious decisions (or drinking to lose your inhibitions).

    The only difference between the beta who fucked up and the slut is that the guy is able to fix his problem. Tough shit and it sucks for women but it is what it is.

    What your asking is for some random guy to take a hit, aka hurt himself, to help her.

    I’ll take a hit for my fiance, hell I’ll take ten or twelve probably some more but I wouldn’t do it for some random.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    “Easier to have sex than to engage in s conversation”

    But if the sex leads to a relationship, which is clearly what these girls are often hoping, the relationship will involve a LOT of conversations…..

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @david foster

      But if the sex leads to a relationship, which is clearly what these girls are often hoping, the relationship will involve a LOT of conversations…..

      I got the sense Emileigh’s relationship freshman year was not very committed. More a convenient arrangement for both parties. I wouldn’t be surprised if they had few conversations. They probably partied together a lot and had a lot of sex. I doubt they studied together, or did any of the intimate things that real couples do. That was my sense, anyway. As she said, he didn’t love her.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @SW
    “My guess is that Emileigh will wind up with a high count guy.”

    This might be true. Reading her story, I felt sorry for her because she felt “compelled” to make those kinds of choices, and at the same time she’s extremely limited the % of men who will ever want to commit knowing all the facts. Kind of like a statistical point of no return. Indulging in one’s mating opportunities being analagous to going over the side of a cliff. Obviously, it’s easier for single women to do this than it is for single men. The gatekeeper principle would definitely benefit women individually AND collectively…

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Indulging in one’s mating opportunities being analagous to going over the side of a cliff.

      That’s a brilliant metaphor.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    But if the sex leads to a relationship, which is clearly what these girls are often hoping, the relationship will involve a LOT of conversations…..

    One has to wonder if they even know what a relationship is “having sex with one person in a regular basis?” or something along those lines.

  • http://chuckthisblog.wordpress.com Joe

    Emileigh has a narrative that she replays in her head whenever she goes out. Because her experience rarely departs from the narrative, it’s worn a very deep groove in her mind.

    @Charm

    I hope she doesn’t end up with some clueless beta. But we all know that odds are she will.

    My experience was so completely the opposite of Emileigh’s that I understand it completely.

    Hear me out on this. Charm, as great as your comments have been, you do not understand. Emileigh’s not in danger of ending up with a beta. She’s living in fear of ending up alone.

    I can tell you exactly the mental dialog I would have had if I had known of an “Emileigh” back then. I would be absolutely 100% convinced that I would be the only guy on campus with whom she would never hook up (betaboy that I was). The realization would be devastating.

    It was a different mental narrative from which I would rarely, if ever, depart, a self-fulfilling prophecy that was every bit as wrong then as Emileigh’s is now and it leads to exactly the same mind-set. Both narratives are full of self-loathing and both get you no closer to either a relationship or love.

    There is an answer (thank God) that a very few lucky ones stumble into. It goes like this: laugh at yourself a little, be patient, stop with that internal dialog and grow up just a little. Friends and family will be there to help you if you let them.

    You just knew it was going to be something kitchy like that, right? I know. It’s still true, though.

    Doesn’t work for everyone, but the success rate is surprisingly good.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Joe

      Great perspective and wisdom, thanks! It is very good to see you, I hope all is well with you!

  • Mike C

    She’s quite attractive. I know she will have suitors, and some of them would probably put her in the girlfriend box if she didn’t put out right away.

    The fact that she is attractive is a huge plus for her in terms of attracting a serious boyfriend. Now we don’t know how promiscuous she has been. I’ll say there is a big difference in perception (at least for me) between say 15-20 and 50-100. Some things you can get beyond,..some you can’t.

    Going forward, she has to try to be discerning between the guys who just see her as a hot pump and dump versus the guys who might realistically consider her as a serious girlfriend. IMO, she’ll be asking for more trouble if she shoots for guys with high to very high SMV. If she stays attractive, cultivates good girlfriend qualities, and shoots for realistic guys she shouldn’t have a problem, but it sounds like she has issues to work through.

    It was alluded to earlier somewhere, but I grow increasingly convinced that the main “addiction” young women who hookup have is the validation from high status males basically being willing to dump a load in them. You see that running through every story like this from the Duke girl to this one.

    ““You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mike C

      ““You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight”

      I like that. She definitely has some issues to work through, but I think just getting out of college should help. Re the number, she said she wished it was 7 – I don’t know why that particular number. My guess is she’s at 2-3x’s that. Honestly, she’d have to have done this like it was her job for three years to get over 20. As it is, 5 sex partners per year would put her in the top 3% of female college students.

  • Charm

    I would be absolutely 100% convinced that I would be the only guy on campus with whom she would never hook up (betaboy that I was).

    This is something I don’t really get. Why? Maybe its because Im neutral with people off the bat and generally expect the worse, but it seems ridiculous to believe this. Beta or not. I wouldn’t assume the person slept around but Id at least expect them to have had sex at least once or twice. If this is a beta thing to do then I guess I see how they get screwed over.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @SW
    “The girls who don’t hook up get zero attention from guys, which she fears would be even worse.”

    Sexual interaction vs. no interaction. Sounds like a false dilemma. Unfortunately, many women do subscribe to this belief, thus writing off guys who aren’t nearly as sexually aggressive. Perhaps I’m self-projecting a bit from my single days, but if college women were more inclined to accept simple dates when asked out, they could avoid having sex with strangers and get to know guys first? Maybe it makes too much sense to work these days : |

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Perhaps I’m self-projecting a bit from my single days, but if college women were more inclined to accept simple dates when asked out, they could avoid having sex with strangers and get to know guys first? Maybe it makes too much sense to work these days : |

      Unfortunately, I think that less sexually aggressive guys are unlikely to ask a girl out on a real date instead. And I’ll be the first to admit that it’s so unusual that many women would look askance at the gesture as a DLV. That’s how screwed up things are right now.

  • GudEnuf

    However, I think entering a convent might be too drastic a solution.

    Half of nuns admit to having sex since vowed celibacy. 60% of priests do.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @GudEnuf

      Half of nuns admit to having sex since vowed celibacy. 60% of priests do.

      Really? For the nuns, I’m only surprised because I don’t see where they’d have the opportunity. I guess there must be player priests, or they’re getting busy with one another.

  • Charm

    @Joe

    Lol, my bad. I just re-read that comment. Disregard. I misread it the first time. I thought you said you would have thought she’d never hooked up with anyone. Oops. I need to get offline.

  • Rum

    I know that this young woman has been misled by the culture. A lot of men have fallen for complete BS they got from their culture as well. So, it is not her gullibility that inspires mens lack of sympathy. The lack of sympathy arises from a toxic mix of two ingredients found in abundance in this tale. First, she has for years indulged her favorite habit of having sex with desire-able partners more or less as often as she feels an itch and then presumes to tell men (who for the most part can only dream of having that option) that she is feeling less happy do it than she used to. \. It would be like telling a poor person that your Rolls Royce is starting to bore you and you are looking for something better. And act really sad and depressed about it, like you should get some sympathy.
    Second, she does not seem to have any concern (in measurable amounts) about the effects all her hooking around will likely have on any realistically obtainable future husbands well being. If asked about this her hamster will grab the microphone and actually speak directly to this. It will squeak, “She could only love a man who is confident enough within himself that he can accept her for who she is). Only a fully trained hamster could say something that twisted and evil without giving away at least a few facial tic tells. The kind of tic, btw, that alerts the hearer to the large possibility that the speaker is neither lie-ing or telling the truth – she has just no idea what it really means, because she just rote memorrized it off an Advise Column she found in Cosmo.
    These issues might be allowed to fit inside the borders of the word”naive” if the guys are in a good mood but if they are not its “She is an attention- whore who has become so spoiled by it – well beyond the point of putrifaction – and is already showing signs she has lost all ability to perceive or care what men need a lot of – which is respect.
    Stir that recipe for awhile and then call it “Micro Short Term Relation ship Material.”

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Rum

      First, she has for years indulged her favorite habit of having sex with desire-able partners more or less as often as she feels an itch and then presumes to tell men (who for the most part can only dream of having that option) that she is feeling less happy do it than she used to

      She didn’t tell men, she told me. And she didn’t ask for sympathy once.

      Second, she does not seem to have any concern (in measurable amounts) about the effects all her hooking around will likely have on any realistically obtainable future husbands well being.

      I would say that she’s 100% ignorant of her past’s putting her at higher probability of cheating. So while she accepts that she’s perhaps disqualified herself as LTR material for a lot of guys, she believes that when she does find someone to love she will be as devoted as anyone. And perhaps that is true. In any case, I think you’d find that most women who’ve done some hooking up in college would be shocked to hear they’re more likely to cheat on a future husband. Again, they perceive that their behavior is the norm.

  • http://chuckthisblog.wordpress.com Joe

    Good evening, Susan, and thank you!

    I try not to comment when I don’t feel like I have anything to add. Your group of commenters seem to be a pretty sharp bunch (and people like Stuart Schneiderman are world-class! How can I add to that?!). But I read your posts faithfully and read many of the comments.

    As it is, I sometimes feel like screaming to your intended audience that, as important as it seems, there’s other things thing besides hooking up to concern themselves with. Even with relationships, there’s so much more to it than any 20-something (or 30-something, 40-something… sigh) can know. And I’m learning about some of that now. I feel young (and I can still do five mile runs), but now I’m caring for an ailing wife nearly full time. That’s not going to change, and it’s given me a whole new perspective on what having a relationship really means.

    But that’s not what being 20-something is about, and it’s not what you want to focus on. I only want to put it surreptitiously in the back of your reader’s minds. 😉

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Joe

      I feel young (and I can still do five mile runs), but now I’m caring for an ailing wife nearly full time. That’s not going to change, and it’s given me a whole new perspective on what having a relationship really means.

      I am so sorry to hear that, I didn’t know. Thank you for reminding us what is truly important. It is something we should focus on here when we talk about LTRs and marriage. I’m working on a post about regrets, and one article I found talks about what people regret as they near the end of life. There’s a lot of wisdom there.

  • purplesneakers

    Wow. This was a really interesting post. I feel bad for Emileigh. I hope she can “kick the habit” and find actual love.

    At the same time… it helps me feel better about my own situation. Often I feel like a total freak, a virgin female in my early 20s, but seeing what the other extreme can be, yeah I totally prefer this. Now I don’t feel so bad about not having gone to most parties in college, if they all really just ended with situations like this.

    I think the saddest part is how she points out that her freshman year “boyfriend” didn’t love her. No guy has ever loved me either… but she’s slept with all those guys. And she doesn’t have even a little love to show for it. So sad!

  • http://chuckthisblog.wordpress.com Joe

    @Charm ‘s’ok. What I was trying to write came out awkwardly. Apparently, I need to get off-line as badly as you! 😉

  • ksn

    Hear me out on this. Charm, as great as your comments have been, you do not understand. Emileigh’s not in danger of ending up with a beta. She’s living in fear of ending up alone.

    I agree with you on this. While I do not have much sympathy, I do have some and the fact is the fear of bearing alone is terrifying. More so for women than men, I think biological evolution, and the reality that men live in, has left men somewhat more inundated; though it doesn’t make men impermeable to those fears. But I do have fears for the ‘beta’ boy she will end up with. While the fact she recognizes her problems are a positive sign, I still wouldn’t be on any of her future relationships working out.

  • anonymous

    Here are some suggestions

    1- Send her to Roissy and Roosh’s sites (well, this would’ve been ideal before she started hookingup)
    2- Find a sex addiction program/sex therapist/counselor
    3- Take a self-defense class so that she can learn to be assertive (in case she was raised to be a “nice” girl who can’t “NO!”)
    4- Find/form a support group
    5- No more; drinking, hanging out alone with guys, cut ties with her “friends” if they’re living the hookup lifestyle- until she gets things sorted out.
    6- Learn what makes a woman a good catch, so that she can learn how to keep a man interested that doesn’t involve hookingup .
    7- Join a gym, volunteer- to build up some self-esteem

    Does she have caring family/friends? Is she depressed? Is she lonely?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @anonymous

      Those are all great suggestions. I don’t think she is depressed or lonely, based on what I saw, but I don’t know her well. She does have friends, but they are surely fixtures in the same social scene at school. She’s lucky that college is about to end – that will remove a lot of the day to day temptation. Hopefully, she will have or find a different crowd wherever she ends up after she graduates.

  • Charm

    @ksn

    I think both men and women are afraid of ending up alone. Its human nature to want to be bond with another human being. Human beings want to reproduce and care for their offspring which is ideally done in a committed and loving relationship.

    I hope shes a least honest with the guy she ends up with. That way he knows his odds.

  • anonymous

    @ Rum:
    “Second, she does not seem to have any concern (in measurable amounts) about the effects all her hooking around will likely have on any realistically obtainable future husbands well being. ”
    ——–
    Understand that I’m not trying to undermine your concern as a man, I get it.
    However, getting back to her, she hadn’t even considered what it was doing to her own well-being, how could she have thought about what it would do to a future husband?
    She was probably thinking that her future husband would have a similar sexual history that she does, so he wouldn’t care.
    “Everyone’s doing it and the only consequences are STDs and pregnancy, right?”

    Not that this absolves her in any way from the mess she’s gotten herself into.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    I hope shes a least honest with the guy she ends up with. That way he knows his odds.

    My hope is different. I hope she understand in the deepness of her heart that a guy giving her a chance is very valuable I think a lot of the stories of the “reformed slut” later cheating and divorcing comes from the fact that deep down she feels the man is a chump the whole “I wouldn’t want to be part of a club that has me as a member” syndrome. So once she stumbles upon that guy she needs to be 100% at peace with what she did and the consequences and appreciate his gesture, YMMV.

  • Mike C

    My hope is different. I hope she understand in the deepness of her heart that a guy giving her a chance is very valuable

    Thumbs Up and High Five!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anacaona

      I hope she understand in the deepness of her heart that a guy giving her a chance is very valuable

      I told her this straight out, and explained why, so if she didn’t understand before she does now. She definitely gets it.

  • Jones

    The conversation here is so narrow-minded. Susan tried to raise a point about the broader culture, and all you’ve discussed so far is how much of a slut this girl is and how no man should get with her. Great, whatever, but the post was not about one girl and how much of a slut she is.

    I think this site has potential, but it is often squandered on small-minded conversation. On this thread there’s a very silly “human interest” angle. Why not take a breather from the “slut-shaming” for a second and look at the bigger questions?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jones

      Welcome, and thank you for your comment.

      Susan tried to raise a point about the broader culture, and all you’ve discussed so far is how much of a slut this girl is and how no man should get with her. Great, whatever, but the post was not about one girl and how much of a slut she is.

      No it’s not. Reading the comment thread it’s as if Emileigh wrote and asked for advice, and now we’re all weighing in. But that is indeed not what the post was meant to be about. I’m interested in the idea of how understanding habitual behavior, especially under social pressure, might enable us to short-circuit it. As Wilson pointed out in his article, colleges have had great success in altering student behavior by blowing holes in the perceptions about binge drinking. Pluralistic ignorance is a powerful motivator and we know it’s a huge factor in hookup culture.

      Duke did a study of its own students and claims that only 10% actively hook up. Based on all the stories about Duke in the press, I would have thought that number was more like 90%. We’re allowing the behavior of a small minority to essentially mess up the heads of everyone else, and it has the effect of preventing healthy relationships at a time when young people want and need them.

  • Emily

    >> “Betas certainly aren’t the center of a attention at the biggest parties. But women certainly don’t go to those parties looking for good beta guys. They go looking for the Alpha commanding the room. So in that case, I guess they get what they deserve.”

    To be fair, it’s not like guys wear badges that identify them as either Alpha or Beta. In some cases, it’s extremely obvious. In other cases, not so much. And it’s probably a lot less obvious to girls who doesn’t read these blogs. I think people tend to oversimplify with the Alpha/Beta thing. In reality, it’s not quite that black and white.

    That being said, she should figure out a guy’s character BEFORE she sleeps with him. But it sounds like she’s starting to realize this. Although she’s created a huge mess for herself, this is a huge step towards improvement.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Emily

      I think people tend to oversimplify with the Alpha/Beta thing. In reality, it’s not quite that black and white.

      Agreed. I think college males are evaluated strictly on a doucheiness scale. While that is often a good proxy for alpha, it’s not entirely indicative.

      Also, I personally know a bunch of young guys that are beta, who have all had 10+ sexual partners. Vox Day says 15 is alpha, so 14 is greater beta? At age 22? (I say they are beta because they are all about the comfort traits, and not in the least bit dominant. They’re cute, and they get lucky sometimes.)

  • M3

    I hope she understand in the deepness of her heart that a guy giving her a chance is very valuable

    I told her this straight out, and explained why, so if she didn’t understand before she does now. She definitely gets it.

    While i will try to afford sympathy where i can, i have to wonder if she’s not now at GREATER risk of ending up pulling the EPL unhaaaappy on a beta.

    A beta, especially one on a ‘fix’ approach, much like my former self, might take it upon himself to try and show her ‘the love she never experienced’. She’ll be trying so hard to make it work that 10 years later she’ll wake up and realize ‘wtf have i done’.

    PS-Susan, no one answered my previous query. Does this girl have a stable father figure in her life?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      -Susan, no one answered my previous query. Does this girl have a stable father figure in her life?

      Yes, but her parents had a terrible marriage and a very acrimonious divorce when she was in high school. She feels closer to him now than she ever did before.

  • http://my-s-word.blogspot.com/ Singlicious

    For what it’s worth, I think I understand both the incentives for hook-up behavior, the regret, and the difficulty in changing a habit. I sympathize, and I certainly hope the past doesn’t have to have limited her pool substantially for the future, assuming she changes her behavior to what she feels comfortable with and is honest with future partners.

    I realize this is a story about one particular person, but it sounds like her story is intended to illustrate something about hook-up culture. Where are the guys in this? Why, in the 21st century, are we still hearing concerns that this woman is a huge risk for a relationship but not hearing anything remotely similar about the guys who are out at the college parties hooking up every weekend?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Singlicious

      Why, in the 21st century, are we still hearing concerns that this woman is a huge risk for a relationship but not hearing anything remotely similar about the guys who are out at the college parties hooking up every weekend?

      Welcome, I assume you’re new to HUS. If so, it’s understandable that you’re unaware that I rail against manwhores on a regular basis. I’m an equal opportunity shamer.

      What the data indicates – and there’s little of it, so this is rather premature – is that a high number of previous sex partners is a predictor of cheating and divorce. For both men and women. Personally, I would be wary of a guy with a high number because he’s had so much sexual variety I would deem it unlikely that monogamy would suit him over the long term.

  • Jason

    Singlicious,

    There is plenty of backlash against guys in society (and this site) who have ‘too high’ of a number, whatever that may be in an individual female’s eyes, especially when looking for a low count girl. In general society it is less pronounced and a lot more forgiveable, but it’s still there.

  • http://my-s-word.blogspot.com/ Singlicious

    Having thought about this a bit more, I have some advice for Emileigh, if she’s open to it:

    1) Try not to beat yourself up about the past. You can’t change it, and you had reasons for your choices, even if you regret them now. We’re all human and a product of our time and culture.

    2) Life is long. It’s not over at 22. One of the great blessings about being young is behavior then is easily written off by people in their 30s and beyond. Very few people at 30 or 35 are going to blame you for something you did in your early to mid-20s if you no longer act that way–I can’t think of anyone, male or female, who escaped the 20s unscathed. And even the relationships you had or didn’t have in your 20s will seem much less important when you’re in your 30s or 40s.

    3) With respect to your “number,” if asked later in life (which might not happen–I’ve never been asked that), I think it’s fine to say, “I hooked up a lot in college, but I didn’t like it, so since I graduated, I’ve had x partners” or something like that. I don’t think the actual number is critical to tell people as long as you’re not lying about it. It seems to me the actual adult conversation should involve an STD talk, and perhaps, if a relationship is on the table, a conversation about commitment and views on cheating.

    4) Please take care of yourself in terms of using condoms, preferably with another form of birth control (my neighbor, who’s a gynecology nurse, likes condoms + the sponge), and get checked for STDs. Hook-ups themselves are one thing, but you don’t want colleateral consequences if you can avoid them.

    5) With any change in behavior, I think it’s helpful to have support. If you have girlfriends you trust to help you change patterns, that would be ideal. I agree with those who’ve said it’s harder to make the decision not to hook up once you’re in the circumstance that usually gets you there. Better not to go to the party, if possible, or to go with friends who will leave with you if you get tempted, etc.

    6) Since you’re a senior, pretty soon you’ll be graduating and will most likely be in a new environment. It’s much easier to change a habit when all the familiar associations with it are gone. This would be a prime opportunity not to develop a new set of party friends but rather to meet people through a gym, sports, a hobby, work, etc.

    7) Therapy is hugely helpful both in accepting oneself and in changing behavior. It’s important to find a good therapist, though, who listens and doesn’t judge. I once had one tell me, when I was 28 and wanted to talk about my past relationships with guys, “don’t worry, I won’t think you’re a slut.” I should have stopped seeing him after that session.

    8) Try to be alert to when you feel you are being treated badly by anyone, in any context, and set boundaries, whether that means walking away, saying no, or developing new friendships. That includes a therapist; that is a critical trust relationship. A good therapist should be helpful with boundary-setting.

    I hope this helps.

  • http://deleted Jason

    Singlicious,

    After reading a couple of your blog entries it’s hard to even take your posts seriously now. Hell, in one of your entries you even admitted to contradicting what you say about the men you want with what your actions portray.

    As far as your points…

    1) That’s fine, but she has to recognize her choices and not be ignorant of the consequences. This quote by an earlier poster “I hope she understand in the deepness of her heart that a guy giving her a chance is very valuable” sums it up well.

    2&3) These pretty much miss the entire point of this site. You’re just kicking aside the legitimate fear that ‘nice guys’ have. The girl, who in her teens and 20s (best attractiveness years), would never have given a second look to nice guys is now hoping to snag one of these guys because she is older and ‘more mature’. Yeah, that’s what nice guys want, a girl who has run out of options because of her age and has been pumped and dumped by a bunch of alphas who would never committ.

    4) Sound advice

    5) Good in theory, difficult in practice. Female friendships are quote sneaky and often duplicitous, especially in the 20s age range. I’ve seen this too many times to count, even among ‘best friends’.

    6) Ok, this is fine.

    7) I’m not a big proponent of therapy, but whatever.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Susan…”pluralistic ignorance”…what a great phrase!

  • purplesneakers

    The conversation here is so narrow-minded. Susan tried to raise a point about the broader culture, and all you’ve discussed so far is how much of a slut this girl is and how no man should get with her. Great, whatever, but the post was not about one girl and how much of a slut she is.

    I think this site has potential, but it is often squandered on small-minded conversation. On this thread there’s a very silly “human interest” angle. Why not take a breather from the “slut-shaming” for a second and look at the bigger questions?

    +1 Susan mentioned that colleges have blown away the ‘everyone is binge drinking’ perception. Somehow, I feel like it’s more politically fraught to even try to blow away the ‘everyone is hooking up (and having a great time!)’ perception. It would seem like it’s condemning hook-up culture, and therefore the people who hook up, to feminist/”sex positive” groups or overly PC university staff.

  • OffTheCuff

    Charm: “She will have to lower her standards though. Sane betas dont want her, but more than a few omegas would fight to the death for her.”

    Charm is on fire today. A lower-beta (doormat type) will certainly bite. A greater-beta with an ounce of self-respect would stay far away from a rep like that.

    WW: “The brain isn’t technically developed until 25, or so they say……”

    Excuses. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a functional adult, which to me is 1) self-sufficiency and 2) accepting the consequences of your own actions. I’ve been out on my own long before 25, heck, I was married and had my own house by then. People who aren’t “adults” at 20 are only that way because they’ve chosen to do so, and someone has enabled them to do so.

  • https://en.gravatar.com/jimbocollins Megaman

    @SW
    “And I’ll be the first to admit that it’s so unusual that many women would look askance at the gesture as a DLV. That’s how screwed up things are right now.”

    Sorry, kind of OT. What’s so strange is that neither my friends nor I back in college were expecting sex when asking girls out on dates. We just expected… going on a date! Physical attraction was there, but it was usually someone we noticed in class (sounds so high school). I’d assume guys who actually made the effort to ask girls out weren’t the sexually aggressive types. A DLV would be asking the same girl out again who previously shot you down, not going out on a limb the first time.

    Let’s see if these scenarios make sense: 1) Guy asks girl out, sober during the day. Her reaction, this guy’s showing weakness. “A real guy would hit on me while drinking at a party.” 2) Girl shows interest in guy, sober during the day. His reaction, wow she must be desperate for a boyfriend (or something). “I might as well get in her pants, if she’ll let me.” Seems like an inability to communicate romantic intentions?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Megaman

      Let’s see if these scenarios make sense: 1) Guy asks girl out, sober during the day. Her reaction, this guy’s showing weakness. “A real guy would hit on me while drinking at a party.” 2) Girl shows interest in guy, sober during the day. His reaction, wow she must be desperate for a boyfriend (or something). “I might as well get in her pants, if she’ll let me.”

      That’s as good a summation of hookup culture as I’ve ever seen.

  • M3

    Charm: “She will have to lower her standards though. Sane betas dont want her, but more than a few omegas would fight to the death for her.”

    Charm is on fire today. A lower-beta (doormat type) will certainly bite. A greater-beta with an ounce of self-respect would stay far away from a rep like that.

    Yep, that was me once upon a midnight dreary..

    but i got much better.

    Now i don’t rescue strays. I go to the breeder and get the full lineage history and proof of medical.

    The last time i took in a stray… it bit me,

    and took half my stuff.

  • OffTheCuff

    Sue: “She’s simply a college girl who got caught up in the hookup scene. She’s hardly a rarity.”

    The CDC paper puts 15+ at 7.2% in her age group. Sure, there are others like her, but they are an outliers. I would bet hitting 30 gets you down to 1% to less.

    Sue: “Mostly there are parties, heavily populated by alphas. A few betas slip in here and there”

    Maybe there are some exclusive parties, but that’s not the whole scene – do you really think the betas just sat home studying every night? I went to hundreds of parties, even ran my own. Hookups were not the focus, but a happy by-product of fun, as it should be.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Maybe there are some exclusive parties, but that’s not the whole scene – do you really think the betas just sat home studying every night? I went to hundreds of parties, even ran my own. Hookups were not the focus, but a happy by-product of fun, as it should be.

      Yeah, I was thinking of how the Greek and athletic scenes dominate campus life. I hope there are good alternatives, but IDK. I know at my son’s school the guys not in frats try to get into frat parties whenever they can. One night there was a long line around the block for entrance into a frat party – clearly the event of the weekend. Suddenly the frat guy guarding the door starting yelling, “No more dicks!” The guy at the front of the line, a freshman, demanded to be let in, saying, “I’m not a dick, I’m a really good guy!” This story got around because that kid wound up writing an editorial for the student paper, bemoaning the control frats have over the social scene.

  • http://my-s-word.blogspot.com/ Singlicious

    Jason, thank you for the feedback on the substantive content of my posts. I can certainly see the concern a “nice guy” would have about a woman who’d slept around a lot. I was of course *not* advising anyone to sleep around in the future and then whitewash that in some way. Rather, in Emileigh’s case, we’re talking about an existing person with a past. Since no one can change the past, the trick is to deal with it going forward. One’s “number” is a signal, but, like many signals, is imperfect. It’s getting at things like STD risk, fidelity propensity, taste for variety, perhaps self-esteem issues, etc. Those can be addressed directly. I can tell you from experience that when I tell people (honestly) that I’ve had sex with one guy since my divorce 2.5 years ago, after seeing him for 5 months (and declined many others), no one asks what I did in my 20s. It’s just not very relevant (at age 40+) to anything a current prospective partner cares about.

    Beyond that, Jason, I’m not sure what on my blog caused the ad hominem attack (“After reading a couple of your blog entries it’s hard to even take your posts seriously now. Hell, in one of your entries you even admitted to contradicting what you say about the men you want with what your actions portray.”). In my blog, I’m trying to examine my own feelings and behavior in the course of looking for a post-divorce relationship. My basic philosophy is to follow the Golden Rule, which has a lot of corrolaries, including honesty. If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve seen that I don’t reflexly blame or praise either sex (or myself or the other person), rather I try to dig beneath the surface to understand behavior. I’m not sure which particular post you’re referring to, but knowing myself and the fact that I try very hard not to play games, I suspect that the context was one in which I felt my behavior could be misinterpreted–sometimes I criticize myself for not saying precisely and completely what I mean, which is hard to do even though I’m a pretty direct person–or I thought my actions could give me some insight into my true desires. Happy to discuss further if you want to point out which post you meant, and we can do so by email or on my blog if you think this thread is off-topic here. Your call.

  • Wudang

    “I think what’s missing from this discussion is the fact that Emileigh is not some hussy who’s the town slut. She is behaving in a way that is reinforced by the culture. She’s considered highly desirable by men and is high status at her college. She grew up in an era that told her that the sexual double standard is invalid. She may well have taken a sex ed class in high school that encouraged her to explore her sexuality. Like everyone else at college, she probably believes that a large percentage of women are hooking up, and she was no doubt comforted by that fact.

    Emileigh is a product of the last 50 years of feminist programming post-Sexual Revolution. It’s surprising more women don’t participate. I imagine that some of it was bad luck, some was naivete, some was weakness. She’s miserable, but she’s not blaming anyone but herself. Which is more than I can say for some unhappy campers in this SMP.”

    This is why I have a very hard time slut shaming. I find her choices perfectly reasonable under the circumstances.

    A large part of the difficulty of breaking this habit is to leave without the dopamine rush of new thrilling sex partners, the oxytocin boost of affectionate physical contact and the good feelings of validation from the attention of men she gets through hooking up and through being perceived as a potential hookup. So what can be done about that?

    One way to make it easier to deal with the lack of oxytocin is to become a bit more physically affectionate with friends and people you interact with in daily life. That boosts oxytocin. One can also go get a massage every now and then and attend dance classes to get such effects.

    Dealing with the validation habit can be helped by realizing it is empty. If they are only willing to hook up that is all they are validating in her but she likely feels on some level they are validating her LTR value as well which is false. If she really takes that in she will feel less inclined to seek that attention.

    I don´t think there is one very good surrogate for the dopamine rush of new exciting partners. It does however help the more the rest of your life is nourishing for you. IMO it especially helps if your life has meaning and purpose. When meaning is lacking people always become more hedonistic. I notice this in myself.

    A great way to deal with feeling the hole left by not hooking up anymore is to workout, to do qigong or yoga and to meditate. All those feel you up with all sorts of happy hormones and makes you the opposite of needy. There are studies showing the effect of all four having large beneficial effects on breaking addictions, on mental health, on future time orientation on hormone levels etc. They will all also make you look more physically attractive.

    She could change the way she dresses from trying to look hot to trying to look beautyfull and feminine in a girlfriend material type way. The style women are encouraged to go for today is largely the hot style. Aim for another style. You should still look sexy but in a different way.

    Also spend time on the manosphere blogs written by women trying to cultivate and explore femininity such as BloggingBelita, Spacetraveller etc. Becoming more feminine will probably make you more content in yourself and make you more LTR worthy. Also look to cultivating all sorts of other LTR relationship skills such as cooking to enhance your LTR value to compensate for the loss through promiscuity. Reducing all sorts of impulsivity and becoming as balanced and future time oriented and serious as possible in all other areas of life will make men feel like you are safer than your number implies. If you make life changes in several areas you can also more plausibly spin your promiscuity as an irresponsible faze that is no over just as other bad habits are now over.

    Spend time in the manosphere to learn about behaviors that actually impress men in terms of making you LTR worthy. Just by not at all being flaky and keeping drama tendencies to a minimum during the dating period you will become a much better prospect.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Wudang

      Epic comment there and great advice for Emileigh, thanks.

  • M3

    …a single woman’s real-time story of her search for love (with a few detours along the way)….

    looks like you’ve already set yourself up with a few mulligans on your quest. convenient 😉

    …a driving man’s real-time story of his quest to attain a drivers license (with a few maimed pedestrians along the way)….

    what will you find? as yoda said “only what you take with you.”

  • http://my-s-word.blogspot.com/ Singlicious

    Thanks, Susan. I’ve been lurking here for a little while and read some of your older posts, too. I also linked to one of your recent posts on Saturday.

    The comment of mine that you quoted was not directed at you, but at the comment thread here, which I read about 90% of. Whenever I read or hear about sexual behavior, it always strikes me that it takes two. I do understand that the illustrative example here focused on one person, who’s female. I wonder, though, if there are guys who struggle with similar post-hook-up feelings. My read of society is that the incidence of that is much less, and it would be unusual for a male senior in college to fear that only a small group of women would be interested in him because of his past promiscuity. But maybe I am wrong. It would be interesting to see data on the perceptions of both men and women on how promiscuity affects their prospects and another’s promiscuity affects their interest in that person.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Singlicious

      My read of society is that the incidence of that is much less, and it would be unusual for a male senior in college to fear that only a small group of women would be interested in him because of his past promiscuity.

      I think you’re right about that. And the reason is that men prefer women with fewer sexual partners, while women seek some amount of validation from other women when they select men. While some women will be turned off by a slutty guy, the truth is that guy is obviously feeling no shortage of female attention. His problem is more likely to be that the women he would consider for marriage will be the ones who were turned off by him in his youth.

  • M3

    Susan

    Yes, but her parents had a terrible marriage and a very acrimonious divorce when she was in high school. She feels closer to him now than she ever did before.

    I can appreciate that she ‘feels’ closer to him… but i have to question how he raised her to have such a low opinion of herself and her sexuality to get to the point where having sex was easier than having conversation.

    Does the father know about her issues? Did they even have a birds & bees convo? Was he out of her life during her formative years? Was he being her ‘friend’ more than her ‘father’ as is typical nowadays?

    So many questions…

    Feminism gave her the rope to hang herself with. Fortunately the rope snapped. Now we’re all gathering around hoping there’s still a pulse.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @M3

      Does the father know about her issues? Did they even have a birds & bees convo? Was he out of her life during her formative years? Was he being her ‘friend’ more than her ‘father’ as is typical nowadays?

      I don’t know the specific answers to your questions, but I think your point is very valid. Parents have a very important role to play in the lives of their daughters, and research shows that girls want advice from their dads re boys. My daughter usually came to me first, but if she really wanted to know something about how men think, she asked her dad. He offered very strong advice re male nature and the behavior she should adopt.

  • Jonny

    A person has his reputation at college. It cannot be ignored. You know people from college. Your reputation follows you. Thus, I think this woman is sadly not suited for a LTR regardless whether she changes her tune, which I doubt could be possible.

    She needs to immediately stop dating for a year or two. A self-imposed celebacy will work. Then, she needs to actually learn how to talk to a man. It is sad that she doesn’t give herself a chance to know who she is sleeping with.

    Her answers need a response.

    “Guys give her attention knowing she hooks up on the reg.”

    How is this conducive to a LTR. She gives attention to every guy indiscriminately.

    “The girls who don’t hook up get zero attention from guys, which she fears would be even worse. ”

    She needs to improve perception of other girls. Girls get attention regardless of whether the guys sleep with them.

    “Her number has gotten so high she doesn’t see why it matters anymore.”

    It matters to the guy that she wants to have a commitment. Thus, she is inhibiting what she wants.

    “It’s awkward to say no.”

    This makes her a risk to a relationship. She cannot be trusted. Marriaged minded guys must avoid her.

  • http://my-s-word.blogspot.com/ Singlicious

    @M3: By “detours,” I meant topics outside the romantic relationship sphere. I sometimes talk about my friends and even a little about work, so I didn’t want new readers to feel mislead. But language is ambiguous and always open to misinterpretation, no matter how precise I try to be! :-/

  • M3

    By “detours,” I meant topics outside the romantic relationship sphere. I sometimes talk about my friends and even a little about work, so I didn’t want new readers to feel mislead. But language is ambiguous and always open to misinterpretation, no matter how precise I try to be! :-/

    Fair enough, i withdraw my smartass remark 😉

    let comment 137 be stricken from the record.

  • http://my-s-word.blogspot.com/ Singlicious

    Well said, Wudang. Great point about finding substitute ways to boost oxytocin. I think the endorphin rush of exercise helps tremendously. You also don’t need a partner to have an orgasm. :-)

  • Odds

    I’d like to wish her the best of luck, but it would feel kind of empty. Like wishing a starving person good luck finding food, but being unwilling to give them half of my sandwich – I’m not willing to take that step for a girl like her, and would advise any of my friends not to do so, either.

    Wudang is right that she is a product of her circumstances, but I disagree that she made reasonable choices in those circumstances. Doesn’t matter how many people tell me that touching the stove is awesome – I’ve done it before, it sucks, and I don’t care how many cool people are doing it. Reasonable people realize that. If she doesn’t have the willpower to resist social pressure in order to avoid pain, she doesn’t have the willpower to resist her harpy friends telling her to dump/divorce the nice beta. If she develops that willpower, she could be a worthwhile girlfriend even with her current number, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen. Besides, I (and I suspect other guys) care less about the number, and more about how many alpha-player-cads she’s been with (in my mind, one Tucker Max is more damaging to her long-term SMV than ten regular guys).

    @ Singlicious

    Some guys aren’t big on hookups. I don’t much like them (haven’t had all that many, though). At this point it’s more about proving to myself that I could go out and get a random if I needed to. Still would rather just have a girlfriend, but I’m cynical enough about the SMP that I feel like I need to not need her.

  • deti

    I have to take issue with the entire approach of viewing hooking up as a habit. With all due respect to everyone here, and especially to Emileigh, no one gains any insight or valuable information from viewing hook up sex or choices that lead to hookup sex as a habit.

    A habit is something akin to fastening one’s seat belt upon entering a car, or sniffing one’s food before taking a bite, or even smoking cigarettes. These things become repetitive behavior in which the actor is on autopilot. She does them automatically, without even thinking about them.

    It seems fanciful to view engaging in sex as a habit like brushing one’s teeth after every meal or sleeping on one’s left side every night. Sex always involves conscious choices. And sex involves a set of conscious choices that culminate in sex. And the actors engaging in those choices are (or at least should be) able to select their choices from a set of alternatives. They are responsible for them and the consequences that flow from them. She has the choice whether to go to the bar, whether to get blackout drunk, whether to go on the date with the nice guy, whether to go home with the frat boy.

    Are we really saying that some women who hook up and have casual sex are just on autopilot and allow men to have their way with them and they put no thought or decisionmaking or executive function into it whatsoever? I don’t buy it.

    Emileigh’s story is not indicative of habituation or dysfunction. It is a series of poor choices — nothing more, nothing less. The fact that her behavior might follow a common pattern does not mean it’s a habit and occurs with no thought or decisionmaking. It means that she selects the same choices from the same alternatives leading to the same predictable outcomes.

    My greatest objection to the suggestion that hookup sex might be habit is that it relieves the actor of responsibility for her choices. “Oh well, it’s a habit for you, you just can’t help it!” She is robbed of her ability to make rational, informed choices. “She just can’t help sleeping with alphas! It’s a habit!” This post implies that a woman might be in the clutches of a bad habit, that’s why she hooks up, and therefore she’s not responsible.

    No sale.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @deti

      I have to take issue with the entire approach of viewing hooking up as a habit. With all due respect to everyone here, and especially to Emileigh, no one gains any insight or valuable information from viewing hook up sex or choices that lead to hookup sex as a habit.

      Habit, at least as defined by Duhigg, includes the full range of repetitive behaviors, including addiction. For the purposes of this discussion, I concur. Emileigh would rightly say that she is in the habit of going home with guys when the bar closes, for example. Or someone might say, “She makes a habit of hooking up with athletes.”

      Sex always involves conscious choices. And sex involves a set of conscious choices that culminate in sex. And the actors engaging in those choices are (or at least should be) able to select their choices from a set of alternatives.

      Hmmm, now I’m wondering if you read what I wrote. The gist of the post is that human beings are conscious, which is defined as the ability to reflect, ponder and then choose. Habits are behaviors that have been repeated often enough to wear a groove of sorts in the psyche – they occur without reflection and conscious awareness much of the time. Any behavior can become a habit. We might even define a habit as something that one does without giving it much, or any, thought. Because we’ve done it before, we go through the motions – I think Duhigg describes this as like being on autopilot.

      My greatest objection to the suggestion that hookup sex might be habit is that it relieves the actor of responsibility for her choices. “Oh well, it’s a habit for you, you just can’t help it!” She is robbed of her ability to make rational, informed choices. “She just can’t help sleeping with alphas! It’s a habit!” This post implies that a woman might be in the clutches of a bad habit, that’s why she hooks up, and therefore she’s not responsible.

      I’m not sure why you’re making that claim when Emileigh’s own penitence and regret is on full display in the post. She did take full responsibility for her choices, and when I asked her why she kept hooking up with guys she cited the reasons I gave. Mostly, she was looking for a relationship, and she accurately sensed that hooking up was the pathway to that. That may be dysfunctional, but that’s a reality of the SMP. The women I hear from who have truly taken my advice to heart are on the sidelines in college. They hang with their gf’s, avoid the party scene, and don’t have too many social interactions with guys.

      People are generally held responsible for the natural consequences of their bad habits, in my experience. No one really pities the smoker with lung cancer, or the binge drinker who gets her stomach pumped, or the junk food eating, sedentary guy who can’t get a gf.

  • Cooper

    @Odds, and Jason (#127, responding to Singlicious’ 2&3 points)

    It seems some people with hign numbers justify their past with the fact that somewhere there is someone, whom they formerly would’ve not given the time of day, that will still treat them like a prince/princess.

    When confronted with this scenario, I will choose to cut off my nose to spite my face.
    I will not enter a relationship, or hookup, with the admission cost of me forteiting my dignity. Cause that’s what that is; omit their promiscuious past by accepting the rise of ones’ own relationship-risk.

  • Charm

    I will not enter a relationship, or hookup, with the admission cost of me forteiting my dignity. Cause that’s what that is; omit their promiscuious past by accepting the rise of ones’ own relationship-risk.

    +1

    Co-signed. I’d feel like a goddamn fool too. This is Im glad sluts and cads end up together a fair portion of the time. They deserve each other.

  • Just1X

    @Wudang

    “This is why I have a very hard time slut shaming. I find her choices perfectly reasonable under the circumstances.”

    I admire your humanity, slut shaming Emileigh does seem harsh on the personal level (even when it’s been earned), but for the purposes of societal in general perhaps it’s useful; “pour encourager les autres”?

    I know society doesn’t encourage introspection (do whatever feels right, right now, fork the consequences), but would she really have had to think very deeply to know that what she was doing was pretty poor, even if superficially, society gave her behaviour the thumbs up?

    As an atheist I find it depressing to recognise that victorian values (as in old school religion based) did improve society. I used to be against censorship because everyone should be able to judge for themselves, but it seems that a lot of people need to be guided…god (little ‘g’) that’s depressing.

  • Odds

    @ Deti

    I don’t think anyone is denying Emileigh’s moral agency here. Totally with you about women being fully functional, responsible moral agents, and that they mustn’t be allowed to claim agency or lack thereof according to convenience. But habit doesn’t imply absolution from the moral consequences of choices – people with a habit of not using their turn signals are still assholes, for example, and we don’t let them off the hook for it. I think most folks here are using “habit” in the colloquial sense of making the same stupid decisions over and over, not in the more literal sense of abdicating responsibility for the consequences of her actions.

    Again, you’re right that no pussy pass should be granted (though it likely will be if she’s hot enough), so some of the remedies offered here for her situation irk me a bit – speaking as a decent guy who is trying to avoid the situation where I end up being lonely all through my twenties before settling with some woman who wouldn’t have given me the time of day before her egg timer went off. But there’s a difference between a get-out-of-jail free card (telling her to move away and hide her past, thus defrauding some poor beta) and a solution for what is in all likelihood a well-intentioned girl who’s just slow on the uptake (telling her to abstain from sex for a while, learn to be feminine, and especially telling her to learn to resist social pressure and exercise her power of self-determination, thus giving her at least a small chance to shape herself into a decent girlfriend).

    Best thing Emiliegh could do is pass her knowledge on to other girls so they don’t have to learn the hard way. I’d be curious if that has even occurred to her, though. If it has, it’s a good sign she’s learning to influence the world around herself rather than just giving in to everything.

  • deti

    The other important thing and caveat about this post is that Emileigh racked up a high partner count in two and a half years. And it had happened before she knew it.

    This is what can happen when women hook up in place of traditional dating. Now, many men will consider her unsuitable for dating or marriage. It’s sad, really.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @deti

      The other important thing and caveat about this post is that Emileigh racked up a high partner count in two and a half years. And it had happened before she knew it.

      This is what can happen when women hook up in place of traditional dating. Now, many men will consider her unsuitable for dating or marriage. It’s sad, really.

      That’s not a caveat, it’s an important part of the message I was trying to convey.

  • deti

    Odds:

    I can see what you’re saying. But what I’m saying is, the same voluntary choice to the same alternatives is not in my view a habit.

    here’s what I focused on:

    “Hooking up was a habit, and she no longer gave any thought to the decision before making it. She had forfeited her power to reflect, ponder and choose. She feels terrible about her choices – she was very upset while telling me this – and she wants to stop. She’s not sure how.”

    This makes it sound like Emileigh is Pavlov’s dog: when the bell rings, she salivates. When the alpha booty calls, she answers and goes home with him, first time every time. This suggests to me she has no say in the matter.

    The way to stop having indiscriminate sex is not only to stop the sex, but to stop the behaviors and the choices that lead to indiscriminate sex. Someone upthread suggested she voluntarily go celibate for a year. I concur. She needs to get herself completely out of the scene.

  • Odds

    @ Deti

    I read that same passage, and I can see how you got that interpretation. It’s just different from mine – I saw forfeiting choice as the moral decision itself (she is morally responsible for voluntarily refusing to make any choices). Saying she’s not sure how is further evidence that she has chosen to be acted upon, rather than to act, but she’s still responsible for that choice, and offering any solutions is implicitly telling her that she has the choice to be an actor (and is, in fact, responsible for what she’s done until now).

    But yeah, yours is definitely a valid interpretation, now that you put it that way. If nothing else, it’s something that ought to be pointed out and clarified from the start.

  • OffTheCuff

    Sue: “I know at my son’s school the guys not in frats try to get into frat parties whenever they can.”

    Huh, I guess some elite schools have more stratified social scenes like that, and ours was clearly Greek-ruled. I’ve never been turned down to a frat party – they were either open or closed, not operated like an exclusive club. Even the best Greek bar in town didn’t discriminate when full… one in, one out. IMO, if a venue isn’t doing that and you’re waiting on line, then you’re doing a huge DLV. I’d rather go somewhere else or host my own party.

  • Escoffier

    The once sentence of Susan’s that I find objectionable was this: “she wants to stop. She’s not sure how.”

    Of course she knows how. Everyone knows how. You stop by stopping, by not doing it. That doens’t mean it’s easy. Smokers know how to stop smoking but many of them don’t manage to do it because it’s difficult, not because it’s complicated.

    Stopping any bad habit is acutally quite simple, which is different than easy.

    E knows how. Maybe she lacks the will but not the knowledge.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      E knows how. Maybe she lacks the will but not the knowledge.

      I guess I should have been more specific. She can immediately stop hanging out with her current group of friends, which includes girls and guys. She can skip Senior Week, stop drinking, and settle in with War and Peace on Saturday night. She can opt out completely. People do it. She knows that. What she said was, “I don’t know how I’m going to manage that.”

      So it’s all about parsing the word “know.”

      Again, attempts to discredit Emileigh’s acceptance of personal responsibility are off base here. She’s worried about being able to pull it off without support. Which is why I told her I’m here to talk anytime.

  • Malia

    “Hooking up was a habit, and she no longer gave any thought to the decision before making it. She had forfeited her power to reflect, ponder and choose. She feels terrible about her choices – she was very upset while telling me this – and she wants to stop. She’s not sure how.”

    All I’m saying is that I could write this:

    “Cheating was a habit, and she no longer gave any thought to the decision before making it. She had forfeited her power to reflect, ponder and choose. She feels terrible about her choices – she was very upset while telling me this – and she wants to stop. She’s not sure how.”

    And hardly anyone would agree that it was a habit.

    I’m with Deti on this, not a habit, but a series of poor choices.

  • Cooper

    @OffTheCuff
    The University I went to wasn’t very Greek dominated; in fact you were considered a little off if you had sincere interest in them.
    Most freshmen were advised to act interested for the sake of the participating in the start of the year pledge-parties.

    I remember being in a line, exactly as Sue mentioned. All, or most, of the girls were imediately admitted. And a long line of guys were outside hoping to be let in when the frat guys didn’t think the ratio of dick-to-chicks wasn’t too much.
    I ended up at the front of line being told their cutting off all the guys for the night, just as Sue mentioned. Although my friends and I stayed in line anyways pleading for entrance. We did actually get in after long being told, no more guys will be allowed.
    When we became an exception, of course, all the guys behind us pleaded for equal treatment. Whether any more made it in behind us, I’ll never know.

    lol

  • Malia

    The once sentence of Susan’s that I find objectionable was this: “she wants to stop. She’s not sure how.”

    Agree with this also. She knows how to stop, what she DOESN’T know how to do is to stop the behavior but continue receiving the benefits she is accustomed to.

  • http://4stargazer.wordpress.com/ Anacaona

    As an atheist I find it depressing to recognise that victorian values (as in old school religion based) did improve society. I used to be against censorship because everyone should be able to judge for themselves, but it seems that a lot of people need to be guided…god (little ‘g’) that’s depressing.

    When you don’t believe in God you believe in EVERYTHING else…

  • http://areallthegoodnamesgone.blogspot.com Ted D

    Just1x – “As an atheist I find it depressing to recognise that victorian values (as in old school religion based) did improve society. I used to be against censorship because everyone should be able to judge for themselves, but it seems that a lot of people need to be guided…god (little ‘g’) that’s depressing”

    See now, I’ve always known most people need guidance. It shocked the hell out of me that anyone thought removing the “fear of God” from people was a good idea. Let’s face it, there are thousands of people out there that only behave because they fear jail. And, obviously even the fear of prison isn’t enough for some. I imagine eternal damnation went a long way toward forcing people to behave in the civilized manner we’d all like to think is human nature. It isn’t. Human nature is selfish, destructive, and violent. Look at any large society left to their own vices, and you’ll see the same pattern. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it certainly didn’t take too long to fall.

  • M3

    @ Ted D

    I’ve always known most people need guidance. It shocked the hell out of me that anyone thought removing the “fear of God” from people was a good idea.

    Ted.

    There is no god.

    There is however a teacup orbiting the sun at a distance of 2,754 kilometers… give or take a few.

    I fear that teacup.

  • Rhen

    Jason…why assume that she “wouldn’t have given a second look to nice guys”? It does seem to be a common assumption that if a girl has a lot of sex she’s having it with jerks, but is it really true? Nice guys often do get laid in college–maybe some of them got laid with Emileigh.

  • Escoffier

    Susan, she can stop hooking up well short of cutting herself off from all society.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Susan, she can stop hooking up well short of cutting herself off from all society.

      Maybe that’s like saying an alcoholic can stop after two glasses of wine. It’s a slippery slope.

  • OffTheCuff

    Rhen: “It does seem to be a common assumption that if a girl has a lot of sex she’s having it with jerks, but is it really true? Nice guys often do get laid in college–maybe some of them got laid with Emileigh.”

    First, let’s use objective terms:

    “Jerk” = seeking only casual sex.
    “Nice” = seeking a relationship.

    If none of those men ever offer or accept to be exclusive, then yes – she’s only seeking out with “jerks”.

    Perhaps your definition is different, where “nice” is a friendly guy who honestly seeks casual sex (Susan’s “player”), and a “jerk” is a guy who uses deception or dark game to seek casual sex (Susan’s “cad”).

  • Jonny

    “People are generally held responsible for the natural consequences of their bad habits, in my experience.”

    But we are talking about slutty behavior, which there are no consequences. Or at least we are not looking as the consequences as penalties that should be paid via societal disapproval.

    The natural consequences of slutty behavior is damage to marriages, lack of marriage, long term relationships, diseases, abortions, bastards/babies, and personal dignity. There is a cost that is largely bore to women, but men are affected as well. To be actually hold women responsible is to make them pay the costs (no welfare and no child support payments from fathers, removal of custody rights).

    The way to mitigate is to prevent casual sex. Calling women sluts via slut shaming is one technique, but NOT used. This is left on the table.

  • Jason

    Jason…why assume that she “wouldn’t have given a second look to nice guys”? It does seem to be a common assumption that if a girl has a lot of sex she’s having it with jerks, but is it really true? Nice guys often do get laid in college–maybe some of them got laid with Emileigh.

    Yea, some nice guys do get laid in college based on ‘getting lucky’ and being in the right circumstance, but they aren’t the ones running through women like a truck through the holland tunnel. Nice guys are usually much more likely to be looking for a LTR as well, which Emileigh said she wanted. There is already some disconnect there.

    Emileigh’s number wasn’t stated, but if it’s as bad as some of the college super sluts that I’ve seen then there is no way she was going through nice guy after nice guy and somehow being denied a LTR although she has been deemed as attractive. That just doesn’t happen. In this situation it’s almost always the case where she was going after frat stars, athletes and other very high SMV guys, i.e. the alphas and getting P&D.

  • http://deleted Jason

    Susan,

    I guess I should have been more specific. She can immediately stop hanging out with her current group of friends, which includes girls and guys. She can skip Senior Week, stop drinking, and settle in with War and Peace on Saturday night. She can opt out completely. People do it. She knows that. What she said was, “I don’t know how I’m going to manage that.”

    This seems a bit extreme, especially for a 21/22yo, but it’s true that peer pressure and a lack of self control makes moderation difficult for many. There are girls out there who still participate in things like Senior Week, bar nights, parties etc. that don’t get shit faced at every opportunity and never go home with a guy. That should be the end goal for Emileigh, to live life, but on her own terms, not terms dictated by the actions of those around her.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jason

      There are girls out there who still participate in things like Senior Week, bar nights, parties etc. that don’t get shit faced at every opportunity and never go home with a guy.

      Yeah, I know, I birthed one :) I think it’s hard to turn over a new leaf, though. Her behavior will be unexpected, by both guys and girls. Her gf’s will probably feel judged or defensive as well. She’ll probably need new friends. That’s not to say she can’t do it, but it’s a challenge. We all know how hard it is to change one’s life – she’s going up against the deep grooves. She views the world through a lens, and she will need to change that lens.

      That should be the end goal for Emileigh, to live life, but on her own terms, not terms dictated by the actions of those around her.

      Agreed.

  • Escoffier

    “Maybe that’s like saying an alcoholic can stop after two glasses of wine. It’s a slippery slope.”

    No, it’s more like saying, An alcoholic can go out to dinner with people who order wine while he himself sticks to club soda. I get that for some people that’s impossible. They need to protect themselves even from exposure. But others can handle it.

    I don’t know what category E falls in. If she thinks that simply being around guys will cause her to give in, then yeah she should stay home. But if she can muster the will power to go out, have some fun and still say “NO!” to a hook up, then by all means, go out.

  • Tom

    “We need to decouple self-esteem and validation from casual sex.”
    _____________
    Oh boy……. That is a toughy. Many women want the attention of males and are willing to go to different lengths to get it. Obviously with these young ladies, casual sex is but a means to an end. Once the guilt or shame wears off that activity, it is like, “opening the flood gets” with some of them. They no longer see anythnig wrong with their ample promiscuity, until that day down the road when they do finally “get it.” I think some of them get tired of being used by men for sex only, they have had their hearts broken a number of times, it is not working as a means to a relationship, they understand sex isnt the only thing a man wants from a prospective mate.
    Using sex as their only bait to catch a man, is, when you really think about it, pretty shallow.

  • Herb

    @Susan

    We know that pluralistic ignorance plays a role in hookup culture as well, so it stands to reason that exposing it might prove beneficial to the majority of students.

    I know it’s beyond your core mission here at HUS, but shouldn’t the same logic apply to cracking the divorce culture (admittedly with more external inputs to fight).

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Herb

      I know it’s beyond your core mission here at HUS, but shouldn’t the same logic apply to cracking the divorce culture (admittedly with more external inputs to fight).

      Can you explain what you mean here? The difference between perception and reality re divorce?

  • Herb

    @Maggie:

    How many 18 year-old college freshman are adults? Very few. I live in a college town and have a lot of interaction with the students. They are delightful but as freshmen they are still children. The next few years are a time of dramatic growth for them.

    I served with many an 18 and 19 year old with responsibilities that, if done incorrectly, could lead to the death of 120+ people and the loss of a multi-billion dollar submarine. Now, admittedly, 99.999% of things that important were verified after being done, but often both the doer and the verifier were 20 or younger.

    I bet my life on those men (and they bet their life on me).

    If an 18 year old can do life or death valve line-ups how hard is learning to say ‘no’ to cheap sex.

    The best you could use along those lines is: the military taught us to be that responsible and washed out those who couldn’t. Parents and universities feel no need to demand squat from women like her. Now it’s biting her in the ass.

  • Herb

    @WarmWoman:

    The brain isn’t technically developed until 25, or so they say……

    Yet somehow we crew nuclear submarines in a way that a majority of the crew isn’t 25 yet.

    For most of human history one was an adult filling an adult role a decade earlier than 25.

    What has happened since WW2 to change that? Did the brain start developing slower or did we just start using that as an excuse (one among many).

    I feel for the young lady and how her choices have had long term harm to her in multiple dimensions. I think she was poorly served by the adults in her life. This is not new. The best episode of My So Called Life had Angela being pressured to sex by her BF. We got to watch an hour of a high school freshman who desperately wanted to say to the school’s bad boy about sex turning to adult after adult who told her “only you can make that choice” and “if you do, protect yourself”. Not one said “Are you fucking kidding me? Tell him ‘no'”.

    I’ll bet you paychecks that Emileigh got the same socialization in high school. But at 18 she can vote, enter contracts, enlist in the service, and be tried as an adult.

    She is an adult and misnaming the fact that older adults didn’t prepare her for adulthood as “she’s not an adult” does not help her or Emileigh 2 who is 15 now and in three years will make the same bad choices.

  • Wudang

    “I admire your humanity, slut shaming Emileigh does seem harsh on the personal level (even when it’s been earned), but for the purposes of societal in general perhaps it’s useful; “pour encourager les autres”?

    I know society doesn’t encourage introspection (do whatever feels right, right now, fork the consequences), but would she really have had to think very deeply to know that what she was doing was pretty poor, even if superficially, society gave her behaviour the thumbs up?”

    Yes, I agree it is good for society. But the women my generation have been repeatedly told there is nothing wrong with hooking up and to the extent many feel shame only having had LTR sex and they have been under the illusion the double standard does not exist any more or at least has been diminished so much she can safely have a rather high number. I find it hard to shame those women considering that that is the circumstances. I have myself seen nothing wrong with promiscuity for either women nor men untill coming to this blog and getting the rational perspective on it. I have a bunch of female friends that have hooked up quite a lot and I am convinced that they would not have or have done it very little had they been told the real story. So I don`t shame,