Disclaimer: This post is a maybe PG13, I talk about sensitive topics that might not be considered “family friendly” but for educational purposes. This won’t matter to most of you, but I thought I’d make that distinction here. Kids are introduced to “hook-up culture” at an early age, and have certain expectations put on them depending on their age. This post is to tell everyone that those expectations are lame, and there is nothing wrong with participating (or not) in said culture as long as you’re safe.
Hook-up culture, the bane of everyone’s existence, am I right? In this sex-positive culture that the newer generations have structured, it’s easy to think that all anybody wants anymore is a hook-up. Is romance dead? It’s easy to say that a lot of trouble comes from people just wanting sex and moving onto the next attractive person they find, like changing clothes in the morning, but what’s the truth? I decided to look at things scientifically and determine once and for all, is it really impossible to find love because of hook-up culture?
We should take a look at a ton of factors, but I thought we should look at marriage and divorce rates first since people complaining about hook-up culture are looking for long term relationships. While I don’t think this is a perfect way of looking at how many people have found love, I think this is a good starting point. According to the CDC (yes, the Center of Disease Control, I find that strange as well) and OurWorldInData, marriage rates have been on a slight decline but divorce rates have seen a sharper decline. Right off the bat the numbers are in favor of marriages lasting longer because people are finding “true” love. Both sites also suggest that people are not only getting married at a later age, but finances and new views on marriage are what is preventing people from marrying, especially at younger ages. I might also mention that LGBT marriages are included in OurWorldInData’s statistics, which shows a constant increase in same-sex marriages over the years.
I think it’s also important to consider the reasons behind divorces. According to the National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, or ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, the leading causes of divorce was infidelity and lack of commitment. However, recall that not only are divorce rates declining, but one of the other largest reasons for divorce was lack of intimacy. Yes, intimacy can mean a lot of things, but many studies have shown that problems in the bed room is often a huge stressor on relationships.
There is a lot more data that we could go through about dating in general, but I think that’s enough data for today. I think some important final things to consider are:
- Divorce rates spiked around the 1960’s, when women really started pushing for total equality with men. That’s a broad statement that doesn’t cover a lot of nuances, but in general women started breaking away from the “traditional housewife” role. This included getting rid of the idea that women should just agree with everything their husband said, and that they should just “give” themselves whenever the man was “in the mood”.
- Sex education and information about relationships in general are much more wide-spread. People are much more aware of abuse, and have the resources/information to better get away from toxic/dangerous situations. Sex education also has taught people (mainly women) that sex shouldn’t be painful or shameful, and that women experience pleasure differently than men. Sex-positivity has helped people understand their desires and a part of a healthy relationship is understanding your own views and feelings about sex.
- Views on relationships have changed. In the past, you were meant to save yourself for “the one” and then marry and spend the rest of your lives together. Now, relationships are more nuanced. People understand that you need to be compatible on several levels, including sex. People are also straying from the idea of monogamy, because traditional monogamy was rather toxic and mishandled. Polyamory is on the rise, as well as open relationships. Even monogamous people aren’t getting married because they don’t see marriage as a goal in life or a requirement of love.
In conclusion, I think hook-up culture is actually a benefit rather than a detriment. People are able to explore their sexuality and understand what they want. I think the real issue is people are finding others who are just incompatible, and often that incompatibility comes from attachments to an outdated idea of monogamy, or in general just incompatibility in what they want in life. There’s just been a shift in how people are incompatible because culture has changed in general.
Remember, hook-up culture might not be the problem, but neither are you. Incompatibility sucks, but that just means you need to find someone more compatible. Communication is key, and there will always be liars and cheaters, but finding out what people’s real desires are will help prevent issues of incompatibility. When you find someone you can trust, and they can trust you, you’ll be able to comfortably talk about your desires even if they might not fit the traditional idea of monogamy. Love is out there, just as it always has been, and always will be.