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Why You Should Hang Up On Hookup Culture

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Why You Should Hang Up On Hookup Culture


Hookup Culture leaves you hanging.

Strobe lights, red solo cups, faded polaroids, and an embarrassing amount of Soulja Boy lyrics. Although Southwestern frat parties vastly differ from cult-classic party scenes like the toga party in Animal House, they have definitely created some of my greatest college memories. If you’re looking to increase your overall party experience, I can tell you: the last thing you need is a Bud Light induced love interest.  

In my previous article, I wrote about how research shows that members of Gen Z are opting for situationships instead of committed ones. Many current college students gravitate towards hookup culture because they feel like it satisfies their physical needs without imposing upon their packed schedules. In hindsight, no strings attached seems like a sweet deal for a young person who wants to be wild and free. You get to have sex without locking yourself into a long-term relationship– which can suck away precious time and energy. However, like all seemingly perfect sales pitches from sleazy, fratty businessmen, hookup culture, although initially enticing, can leave a vulnerable person face-down on the pavement.  It’s called hook-up culture for a reason; By definition, someone will always be left hanging. 

Hook-up culture is cyclical, it doesn’t work long term. Sure it may work for a while, but one person always ends up more attached than the other. Despite hook up culture’s compelling argument, there is no “attachment-free” sex. As previously stated, someone will always be left hanging. This is a biological phenomenon, not merely a matter of morals or cultural taboos. Men and women both release the hormone oxytocin during sexual encounters. Oxytocin produces emotional bonds between partners during sex–whether you want it to or not; this is why even after your harrowing efforts to not “catch feelings” you somehow still end up doing so. Oxytocin has been coined “the love hormone” because it chemically bonds a baby to their mother, both physically and emotionally, after birth. Oxytocin is the same neurotransmitter that bonds you to your nightmare of a one-night-stand, the person you wish was a matter of your imagination the next day. 

Oxytocin’s effects are very powerful; it is largely what makes hook-up culture so addictive. The hormone produces a sugar-rush-like high– and if you’ve ever eaten yourself sick with Snicker Bars– you know that sugar highs always result in you crashing down. That’s right, the rush you get after engaging in a balmy, post-frat hookup has similar, yet wayyy more drastic effects than the King-Size Snickers you devoured that Halloween night. Researchers report that people who were not depressed showed more depressive symptoms and experienced feelings of loneliness after engaging in casual sex. When we were kids, we pursued happiness through downing too much soda and Red Vines. So it’s no surprise that as college students, we still chase that same happy high. The difference is that now it’s through drugs, alcohol, and each other’s bodies. Maybe we should just go back to making our mouths blue with raspberry Dum Dum pops– at least they wouldn’t defame you on Yik Yak after you ghost them. 

Moody college students are already teeming with hormones. So why add to your mental instability through getting into a complicated sexual relationship? The last thing college students, who are already anxious enough about school, need is more drama! I think that in order to have more nights that we want to remember, than nights that we want to forget, we have to completely eliminate the possibility of waking up next to a nightmare. Next time you hit the frats, I encourage you to simply embrace the strobe lights with your classmates. You might just have a night that you won’t want to drink to forget about.

Photo by Iris Danelley

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