The minimalist guide to hookup culture

Diana Kirschner
Dr. Diana Kirschner
June, 2021
minimalist guide to hookup culture

Over the past several decades, social norms related to dating have changed dramatically. What was once considered scandalous is now completely routine, and it’s not unusual for men or women of practically any age to seek short-term sexual partners purely for pleasure. Hookups are now a standard, if not the predominant way of meeting new people, and they can often turn into permanent relationships. Whatever your personal opinion about dating culture and free hookup dating sites may be, it’s impossible to ignore this trend, and the least you can do is find out more about it. That way, you can be well prepared if you meet a person that practices hookups and wants you to try it.

What is a hookup?

This term is only loosely defined and can be interpreted in various ways. Most people assume that each hookup involves sex, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Some hookups may end with light flirting or kissing or progress to a full-blown sexual encounter. Because of this ambiguity, hookups encompass a wide range of behaviors that may be differently motivated and include completely different psycho-sexual dynamics. Some of those behaviors are merely exploratory and happen within the context of emotional bonding, but some people embrace a promiscuous lifestyle and push the limits to the maximum in terms of a number of partners. By using the same umbrella term to describe a large part of the spectrum of sexual activity, we run the risk of pigeonholing individuals and potentially misunderstanding their real intentions and motives.

Millennials are ambivalent about hookup culture

It’s very interesting to look into the attitudes of younger people regarding hookups, as this might provide us with some insights about this trend and its future predictions. According to recent research, people of university age who can be accurately described as ‘millennials’ or ‘generation Y’ have mixed feelings about dating. It seems that while most people in this generation practice hookups and accept them as normal, they still harbor traditional romantic dreams and would like a hookup to translate into a long-term relationship. That’s not what usually happens – hookups generally tend to lead into ongoing affairs that resemble ‘friendship with benefits’ more than real romance. This partially explains why some millennials are so conflicted about hookups – on the one hand, this mode of dating demands less emotional involvement and supports the ‘career first’ mindset that many people from this age group have, but on the other, it doesn’t give them long-term stability and security that they crave.

How millennials meet?

It’s not just the format of dating that changed in the digital age, as the sources of romantic contacts have also moved online. Sure, people from generation Y still meet at parties and social events (particularly if they go to college), but more and more dating start on the internet these days. There are countless dating websites and apps, and some of them actually have a pretty decent success rate when it comes to hookups. Since pretty much all millennials are always on their phones, most of them have at least tried hooking up online, and some do it regularly. Social media and messaging apps may be used to deepen the friendship without risking a real-life meeting, and this contributes to the trend of avoidance of face-to-face communication. However, given the reservations of this generation towards hookups, it will be very interesting to see whether more traditional channels for meeting people such as music festivals or college parties suddenly come back into vogue.

Final thoughts about hookup culture

There is no doubt that free online hookup dating sites have changed the dating scene forever. Hookups are definitely here to stay, but it seems unlikely that long-term relationships will die out either. If anything, millennials seem to have strong family aspirations and might not be content with mere hookups, leading to a reversal of present trends. If you are interested in hookups, now might be the best time to join a casual dating site and enjoy this golden age of no-strings-attached sex while it still lasts. On the other hand, if you would prefer something steadier, be aware that many people who engage in hookups are actually romantics at heart.

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