The 3 Misperceptions of Hook Up Culture

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What’s Sex Got to Do With… Losing a Guy in 10 days?

Here we see the post-college arena of dating reflected by Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. His intention is to make her fall in love with him – is a reflection of social scripts concerning how a man should act really that alluring?

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What’s sex got to do with… The Notebook?

Writing a total of 365 letters to your loved one: one for every day of a year, waiting to have sex with someone until you are in love with them, claiming the person you are dating as your “boyfriend” or considering yourselves “going steady”… all of this seems like such a foreign concept to us, doesn’t it? Such romantic gestures, yet we don’t really see them take place anymore. In the age of hooking up and college flings, do we even really know the meaning of dating?
In today’s society we are so consumed with who’s hooking up, we almost forget how dating even originated. As I was watching The Notebook and admiring a relationship between two fictional characters, I realized how much times have changed between then and now. What happened to the old fashioned calling on the telephone or act of “going steady”? In Kathleen Bogles’, “Hooking Up”, she touches upon the different eras of relationships. From the “Calling Era” to the “Dating Era” to the era of “Going Steady”, Bogle captures the evolution of relationships from this to the “Hook-Up Culture” we know today. Having sex because you are in love seems to be and old past-time and casual sex and one night stands seem to be more prevalent than ever.
In “Hooking Up”, Bogle highlights three sexual scripts that have occurred throughout history. The first is the “calling era”. For the first decade of the twentieth century “respectable” young men would “call” on respectable young women at their home. The object of the call was to spend time with the woman of interest as well as her family, especially her mother. Her mom had all the power to say who is allowed to come into their home and “court” the girl. The second script after calling culture was dating culture. Dating culture lasted throughout the 1920s-1960s. Surprisingly, dating culture in this time was used in the lower class, or it was considered rebellion of the upper class. Dating culture was beginning to become more prevalent when it became more common for young people to leave their houses and go on “dates”. As for hook-up culture, it began around the 1960s and it was especially prevalent on college campuses. Ever since then, dating has become harder to find and relationships like The Notebook almost seem fairy-tale like and unrealistic.
Will the era of “hooking up” ever end and will chivalry become a thing again? Or is modern day hook-up culture here to stay?

What’s sex got to do with… Boyfriends?

Dating in college… it almost seems like a long lost past time. Other than the occasional long distance relationship or high school sweetheart, what are the odds of seeing a relationship in college? Hook-up culture is such a prevalent thing now-a-days in college students, dating seems like a lost art. However, I will say for the few out there who came into college with boyfriends, I definitely feel as if hook-up culture is seen from an entirely different lens.
In Kathleen A. Bogle’s book, Hooking Up, she discusses how in the 1960’s the concept of dating shifted to what we know as hookup culture. This was specifically seen on college campuses. She explains how college parties present opportunities for sexual encounters, and alcohol as another huge contributor to college hook ups. This is due to alcohol weakening a person’s inhibition and increasing their chances of engaging in sexual acts. Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with casual encounters and sex, after all, it is a natural part of life for people. However, I find the attitudes toward college to be polar opposite between someone with a boyfriend in college and someone without. It’s interesting how we, as college students, don’t even realize how much of an effect “hook-up culture” has on us… from what we wear when we go out, to where we go, to how much we drink… everything is based off of the hope and assumption that we MIGHT meet someone when we go out. I mean who doesn’t dress to impress the opposite sex? Life with a boyfriend in college makes you realize the extremities of hook up culture. With a boyfriend, there’s no pressure to always look your best or partake in the hooking up: no walk of shames, or regretful nights, or awkward “next day encounters.”
I think there’s definitely an unspoken pressure among college students these days to partake in hookup culture. Having a boyfriend can alleviate the assumption that you will hook up with someone. And of course there’s the classic line: “I’m sorry, I have a boyfriend” which can save you from almost any situation. I think without even realizing it, we overlook how big of an impact the “hookup culture” in college truly has. Although casual sex has been something that has gone on for years, I think in recent years this idea of hooking up has been the driving force behind many decisions made by young people in college regarding going out and how to act.
So the real question is: is it better to go into college with a boyfriend? Or is it simply a myth that girls act a different way in college when they have boyfriends versus when they don’t? How does having a boyfriend lessen social pressures when going out…

What does sex have to do with Gender Norms?

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This class has effectively worked to go against societies standards that are present on and off campus. It has critically analyzed the different aspects of society that address sex and sexuality. The basis of all these topics can be lead back to one of our very first topics covered, gender norms within society. Gender norms are societies view of how females and males are supposed to act and behave; females- innocent and submissive, males- dominates and strong. These gender roles cause society to place expectations on relationships and sexuality. Continue reading

Post-College: The Final Countdown

College is deemed as a time in ones life where one can do whatever he or she wants. There are no parents, no rules, and a plentiful supply of alcohol and horny boys and girls. This leads to a hook-up culture that resonates on college campuses that replaces the “dating” scene that took place during high school.

Freshman students come into college with many expectations that originated with media. Most of these expectations deal with the hook-up culture, because let’s face it, it’s inescapable. In Katherine Bogle’s Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus, she outlines the process of “hooking up”. First, individuals must identify a hookup partner (random or known), trigger some sort of change going from strangers or acquaintances to act sexual, identify a place to hook up, and decide how far both parties feel comfortable going with each other. A big reason the “hook up” scene thrives on college campuses is due to the proximity of dorms to parties. Here at Vanderbilt, all fraternity parties take place on campus, so if students meet at a party and decide to go back to the room to “hook up”, it is relatively easy.

However, after these four years of essentially “messing around” and avoiding relationships, once college ends it is not so easy anymore. It’s crunch time to find “the one”. Remember all the couples in high school? It’s back! The hook up culture is very different and is now replaced with serious dating. According to Bogle and all the interviews she conducted, women often have an age that they deem ideal for marriage and don’t want to get married any later. They often have plans of their future lives and have an age set for child bearing as well. On the other hand, instead of wanting to be married by a certain age men have an age that they do not want to be married until. This may seem confusing but is true even in my friend group. For example, I hope to be married by the time I am twenty-six and have kids at twenty-nine, but my friend Christopher says will not even consider marriage before the age of thirty. With men and women idealizing different ages to get married and have children, someone has to give. Who ends up sacrificing their life plans?

In addition to individuals being forced to face the real world and their futures, the hook-up scene changes to dating for a multitude of other reasons. In college, when a two people meet at a fraternity party or any other on-campus event, there is a bubble of safety even with going back to the dorms with them. It is certain that both individuals go to the college, so even if they do not particularly know each other, they are sure to have mutual friends and this creates a level of comfort. However, after college this safety blanket is no longer there. When two people meet at a bar, they are strangers in all aspects: they knowing nothing about one-another, and this creates discomfort. Over fall break, I went to the University of Georgia, and instead of fraternity parties like we have here at Vandy, students spend their weekend nights going out to bars in Athens. This was fun, but similar to post college dating, it is unknown whether someone actually goes to UGA or is just hanging out at the bars, and this made me uncomfortable. From the time we are babies, “do not talk to strangers” is always being instilled in us, so this comes back around in the post-college dating scene.

In addition to the added stranger-danger aspect of dating, there are new expectations. In the college hook-up scene, seeing people making out on the dance floor is not a rare occurrence; in fact it is everywhere, and not much is left to the imagination. If this is what people are doing in public, who can say what is happening in the privacy of their room when the students go back. However, once college is over, dating is less casual and less “for fun” and more serious and for the purpose of finding ones future husband or wife. Therefore, sexual expectations are lot less than one would think especially on the first date. Being a freshman in high school surrounded by the hook-up culture, this shocks me. First, we back track from dating in high school to casually “hooking up” in college, and now we go from making out with strangers in college to no sexual contact on first dates post-college? In Bogle’s studies, she has come to the conclusion that though men will hook up with anyone, they want a respectable wife. In her interview with Jake, he admits that though he has slept with girls on the first date, he would never want a relationship with them. The farthest he would go on a first date is a goodnight kiss, and this notion was reflected by other males and females as well. Additionally, there is a stigma with the number of people women have slept with. In Bogle’s interview with Matthew, he admits that if a girl has slept with over 15 people that would concern him, but interestingly his number is over 100. Is that not concerning?

Overall, as seen by the interviews Bogle conducted, though the hook-up culture has died down, the double standard does not go away. Besides these social and environment issues, what else do you think contributes to the decline of the hook up scene in the years following college? Why do women generally want to marry younger than men? Why do men get to decide what is the right and wrong number of people for women to sleep with?