Hookup Culture and the Golden Rule

A viable strategy for the 21st century?

A viable strategy for the 21st century?

Conor Friedersdorf’s article When ‘Do Unto Others’ Meets Hookup Culture in today’s Atlantic poses a refreshing and overdue question: Why are traditional conservatives hellbent on fighting contemporary sexual mores with doomsday predictions of the end of Western civilization as we know it? Smug predictions of eternal damnation for sexual sinners are the cherry on top of this Judgment sundae. Quoting Damon Linker on the tradcon perspective:

“From the fourth century, down to roughly my grandparents’ generation, the vast majority of people in the Western world believed without question that masturbation, pre-marital sex, and promiscuity were wrong, that out-of-wedlock pregnancy was shameful, that adultery was a serious sin, that divorce should either be banned or allowed only in the rarest of situations, and that homosexual desires were gravely disordered and worthy of severe punishment.

…Some of our fellow citizens (religious traditionalists and other social conservatives) are terrified by the new dispensation.”

This terror is expressed daily in the Christo-manosphere. But how effective is this strategy in changing minds and shifting the culture? [Read more...]


The Millennials Dating Script Gets a Rewrite

traditional datingH/T to MM

Boston College professor Jesse Cronin offers her students an opportunity to earn extra credit in her Perspectives on Western Culture class. The assignment is simple but far from easy: Ask someone out on a date.

Cronin says this all came together for her during a lecture she gave about the campus hookup culture eight years ago. She says she was nervously anticipating controversial questions about sex and intimacy, but instead one student asked, “How would you ask someone on a date?”

As she began to answer, the questioner became more specific: “Like, the actual words.”

The Millennials don’t have a dating script. They’re game to try it, they just need to learn their lines first. I’ve written before about young people wanting to date and have committed relationships. They clearly do. “63 percent of college-age men and 83 percent of college-age women, would prefer a traditional relationship to an uncommitted sexual one, one study found.”

But students lack the script that accompanies social norms. Here’s why:

[Read more...]


Hookup Culture: Real or Myth?

A new study was released last month in the Journal of Sex Research, which has once again spurred a flurry of headlines declaring that hookup culture is a myth. At the same time, I have yet to meet a college student who can’t describe it in great detail from personal experience. Is hookup culture real, or is it a myth trumped up by conservative old scolds?

The answer depends on what you mean by “culture.” Generally, the word culture in this context refers to the attitudes and behavior of a specific group. What’s confusing about hookup culture is that the “scripts” for behavior are not consistent with actual student behavior. Don’t forget that the term “hook up” can mean everything from one kiss to a one-night stand. I have most frequently heard it used to refer to a makeout session.

Prepare to be astounded by the results of the study!

[Read more...]


The Economics of Hookup Culture: A Millennial View

student debtMillennial Michelle Juergen, writing for PolicyMic, hits back at accusers who say her generation is destroying traditional family values with their sexcapades. Delaying commitment, aka hookup culture, is a necessity when young people can’t support themselves.

Instead of passing judgment on millennials, we should be looking at the many external factors responsible for this shift. 

According to a recent Pew Research report, last year, 36% of young adults in the United States aged 18 to 31 were living in their parents’ homes, the highest share in at least 40 years. That’s some 21.6 million millennials living with mom and dad, up three million from the beginning of the recession in 2007. Additionally, in 2012, only 63% of young adults had jobs, down from 70% in 2007. The effective unemployment rate for people aged 18 to 29 is 16.1%, according to Generation Opportunity’s June jobs report. And from 2006 to 2011, home ownership rates declined most among those under 35. 

Basically: we got no jobs, we got no money, and we got no place to live (not on our own, anyway).

Actually, we know that hookup culture is just that – culture, rather than behavior, which hasn’t changed much in 40 years. What has changed, though, is the age when people get married, and Juergen’s analysis partially explains that continuing delay. 

In the recent Gallup poll exploring Americans’ plans to marry, feeling financially insecure was the third most frequently cited reason for delaying marriage among those who want to marry, behind being too young/not ready and not having found the right person. [Read more...]


What Hookup Culture?

Lately a series of columns has questioned whether hookup culture is a hoax, based on the findings of a new study on how sexual behavior among students has changed little in recent decades. Regular readers of HUS won’t be surprised to learn that college students today aren’t really having more sex than they were a generation ago. What has changed somewhat is who they’re having it with.  [Read more...]