What’s Sex Got to do With Hooking Up?

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Sex and hooking up are terms that are synonymous in many ways while at the same time meaning entirely different ideas. In today’s world, hookup culture is the standard, sex has taken the idea of allowing a person to be sexual without being in love, meaning sex has nothing to do with love or getting to know someone personally it’s all about the end results. In my earlier years of life I remember no one ever talked about having sex. If someone liked someone they would write love letters, talk on the phone for hours at night, put that person they liked first by either holding doors open, or even allowing their partner to meet their family. Today’s society has a completely different outlook on what it means to like someone. For example, hookup culture has become the approach of easy access to sex. Because hookup culture is so powerful in today’s society, many people would say that it has ruined the dating scene. Although, the idea of hookup culture is alive in the world, I believe that “hookup culture” isn’t real. Meaning that people use this term to protect themselves from being called other names, “it’s all a part of the hookup culture.”  Hook up culture is also a way that a lot of people commodotize their bodies in exchange for love. A lot of people feel like they are forced to hook up or they won’t be appealing to people who they are attracted to. For example, hook up culture at Vanderbilt has really dismantled the dating scene and it’s very seldom that one sees a couple on campus. On the other hand, frat parties are a breeding ground for hook ups and you can expect to see at least one couple hooking up at a party.

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How do we know if hook up culture is desired by students or if students want a stronger dating scene?

How can we combat hook up culture?

Does hook up culture create an environment conducive to sexual assault?

Seeing Double

Kathleen Bogle’s book, Hooking Up, devotes an entire chapter to discussing the double standard as it exists on college campuses. In it, she illustrates how women are seen as “good” if they do not have sex with many people, do not dress provocatively, and take things slow and wait awhile to have sex. A “bad” girl is one who may be incredibly sexy, but has sex with many men, dresses improperly, and has sex when she wants to. Bogle’s research has shown that men and women in hookup cultures want different things; men want only sex and women want relationships. Now, (setting aside psychological reasons like women being more emotional and getting attached more easily) some women are looking for relationships because they want to marry in a few years. Other women may feel the need to be in relationships to protect their reputations and not be labeled “sluts” for having sex. As far as sex goes, men can have sex as much as they want to without having to worry about any sort of social backlash; they have basically no rules. For women, however, it is a different story.  It is very easy for a woman to get a bad reputation– if she hooks up too often, hooks up with too many different people, hooks up with two friends (or frat brothers), dresses too scandalously, or behaves too wildly. When women do engage in these no-no’s, they are labeled as “sluts,” stigmatized, ostracized, and not seen as candidates for relationships. It seems women who want to be in relationships almost have to trick or coerce the men to be in them. Bogle found that guys are a little more willing to enter into friends-with-benefits relationships, although they are still worried about women wanting “more.” Because clearly men and women want different things, men want hookups and women want relationships, why do women not opt-out? Men are in a higher position of power within hookup culture, because that is all that they want. If women choose not to participate in hookup culture, they don’t really have any other options.

As an undergraduate female at Vanderbilt, I have seen, and even experienced firsthand, much of the double standard and differing goals of male and female students. One guy I’ve heard of is extremely well known for hooking up with lots of girls; people who talk of him almost regard him with a sort of awe. On the other hand, my female friend was once worrying about being seen dancing on guys at parties, as she didn’t want to get a bad rep like some other girls who were known for sleeping around. Guys really don’t have many “rules” governing what kind of behavior is acceptable. Hooking up with someone else’s girlfriend may make him mad at you, but you’ll still probably gain a lot of esteem from your friends. Really, guys can hook up with whomever they want, whenever they want, and not face much (if any) stigma. Girls, however, have to watch their steps. I do not agree with these labels or stigma, but I am describing what I see as dominant scripts here on campus. A woman who avoids sex and parties altogether may be branded a “good girl,” someone innocent and naive, or possibly a “goody-goody” who stands on a moral high ground above the other people who do engage in those behaviors. She can’t be too “good,” but woman cannot go too far in the other direction either. If she drinks and parties too much, she may get a name for that, especially if she makes a habit of getting “sloppily” drunk, passing out, or throwing up. If a woman has sex with too many people, she is seen as a “slut,” and then is less desirable. If a woman is looking for a relationship, she can’t have sex with the candidate too soon, or else he won’t see her as relationship material (I just want to point out that it takes two to tango here, he had sex just as soon as she did). Now, a woman’s safest bet here is to have a boyfriend (if she can snag one), or even a friend-with-benefits. She wouldn’t be judged for sleeping with too many people, or regarded as “too good” to hook up with anyone.

The problem is that a large amount of guys are not looking for relationships. They view college, especially the first couple years, as a time to let loose and have fun. Everyone just wants to party and live the college experience, right? I think that many freshmen, guys and girls, come into college with this mentality, but that over time, it gradually changes. I agree that girls are more likely to want relationships, but that there is no clear course to finding one when hooking up seems to be the only option.

I think this double standard is completely ridiculous, though the solution is not to start slut-shaming men equally. Men and women should be able to have sex whenever, however, and with whomever they want (with consent). No one should have to feel embarrassed about their sexuality. Having sex does not make someone a bad person. Our culture needs to recognize women as sexual beings with desires of their own who can make choices for themselves and do not need the fear of outside judgment to keep them in line. It is absurd to me that today, in 2014, men and women are still not equals. They may be protected from discriminatory practices by law, but in social situations with socially constructed rules and scripts for behavior, men are often favored.

How do you think we can work to eradicate the double standard? Why do you think guys do not seem to want relationships, but girls do? Does the double standard apply to non-heterosexual and non-cisgender people?

Project Safe and the Power of Language

 

The power of language becomes very evident when trying to tackle issues that are very prevalent yet rarely discussed. With sexual assaults increasing at alarming rates throughout the nation, we are at a point wh

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What’s Sex got to do with… Mono?

We all know that if you have sex, you have a chance of getting STD’s. This risk is surely higher within hookup cultures, where it is normal to have many partners, for anything from kissing to intercourse. We don’t always think about how a hookup culture could contribute to the spread of other diseases, like mono for instance. Continue reading

What’s Sex Got to do With Bases?

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “bases?” When I hear this word baseball is the first thing that comes to mind, but would you believe me if I told you bases can refer to sex? Well believe it because every base is a step to going all the way with your partner. In my opinion, first base is kissing, second base is touching or playing with one’s private part, third base is oral sex, and a home plate is penetrating the penis into the vagina. Kathleen Bogle defines the usage of bases in two different ways. The first way was from “only yesterday:” first base is kissing, second base is deep kissing, plus groping and fondling, third base is oral sex, and home plate is going all the way. In today’s world was the second way: first base is deep kissing, second base is oral sex, third base is going all the way, and home plate is learning each other’s name. From personal experiences I would agree with Kathleen Bogle’s second definition of bases.

In this situation bases can also refer to going on dates or hanging out. For example, my first year at Vanderbilt I met a girl and the first time we hung out we were deep kissing. The second time we hung out we had oral, and by the third time we hung out we went all the way. After going all the way my partner and I started to go on dates and attend events together. Looking back on the situation it amazes me how so called relationships on college campuses work. Like Kathleen said we have sex first and then get to know each other.

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Why is it that in today’s world we have sex first then get to know someone after sex? How would you define these bases?  Do you still hear people use the base terminology in today’s world?

Sexual Assaults: The problems behind the problems

As my group and I started our final project on sexual assaults on campus, I started to think to myself that the people who have no care or urge to help the ongoing problems are probably the ones engaging in them.  I started thinking that gathering all the data and information about what is happening at Vanderbilt is great and all but what is it doing directly to bring change?  We know how many assaults are happen per year, who it usually happens to, where they usually occur, between what times they occur most frequently, and what is involved in the scenario such as drugs or alcohol.  With this knowledge it would seem like solving the issues would be a piece of cake.  This could not be further from the truth.

To start, as our results showed, most sexual assaults occur in dorm rooms between the times of 8pm and 3am.  What should be done to counteract this?  A couple ideas come to mind but don’t seem like they are plausible.  First thing the school could do is after freshman year, make living off campus a priority instead of the other way around.  The school makes way too much money on students living in dorms for four years in a row that it seems that they would never make the switch to an off campus based approach.  Having students more spread out and not so close to each other could potentially slow down the assaults.  If going back to your apartment makes it easier to escape some of the people at school than why should the administration tell you that this isn’t allowed?  Think about it: a fraternity is having an on campus party and everyone is really drunk.  Someone you know is being really creepy with you and you feel uncomfortable.  Instead of going back to the same dorm in which this person lives, you call a taxi and go to an apartment complex with people from the real world and not just fellow students.  As the statistics show, stranger danger is a myth and most sexual assaults occur from people who are known to you.

Next, if we know that alcohol is a contributing factor to sexual assaults why are limits and sanctions not being made?  College students are at a very awkward age in which they feel as if drinking is the only way to have fun and come out of ones shell.  Its either get really drunk and be ridiculous or don’t go out at all because there is no point.  If this mentality won’t change, then alcohol all together should be what needs to be limited.  The problem with this is that the school would never ban alcohol on campus because Vanderbilt would be far less attractive to many incoming huh school students who want to party and receive a great education for four years.  Fraternities will never take alcohol away from their own parties because they think getting drunk is cool and taking it away would limit the frats reputation as being fun.  Thus, the attractive and cooler girls would never show up to their parties.

Lastly, if we know that woman are far more likely to be sexually assaulted than men, why aren’t there more ways in which the school offers protection for them.  As we all know, men tend to be bigger in stature than women and usually a bit stronger.  Would there be a problem offering self-defense classes, mandatory check-ins with friends, or always having someone with you at all times while out?  For men, why aren’t there more educational classes, seminars, or groups that talk about sexual assault and what counts as consent and what does not.  The lines are not so black and white as we would all like it to be.  When it comes to consent there are ton of grey areas in which people who study and work to try to protect people from assault do not have a complete grasp on.

With all the studies, information available, and resources that give us knowledge on how to protect the people at this school, I believe the leaders and people in charge are blinded by the money flowing through their bank accounts that they lose sight of the real issues and problems at hand.  They have everything they need to fix the problems, but would rather add another zero to the end of their salary.  We know letting people live off campus would be detrimental to the total income of the school, but at least use some of that money to hire better security officers or people who have safety as the number one priority.  We know banning alcohol is very unlikely to happen at a University such as Vanderbilt, but have bans on the amount, type, and who receives it.  We know woman are assaulted a much higher rate than men but no measures are set to specifically help them.

With this all being said, I believe strides have been taken to make Vanderbilt safer. But is it enough?

Spotlight on R.A.D.

Ladies!! College is the perfect time to learn to defend yourself against someone who may not have your best interest in mind. While you are most vulnerable at night hours when walking back to your room from the library or maybe out having a good time over the weekend, this R.A.D. self-defense class will teach you many moves and tactics to get you away from your pursuer!

 

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