In this day and age when teenagers pass the stages of puberty—when hormones start to go wild and the party scene kickstarts—many begin engaging in “hookup culture.” This can start as early as the latter middle school years up through the post-college years.
While the culture of this casual fling depends on age, the overall involvement of participants includes a general intimacy with a partner. This intimate exchange develops throughout high school and college years with the excessive partying and wild nights.
But, one may question what a “hook up” actually entails. Amanda Holman found in a university study that this term had no proper definition, according to HuffPost.
“Over half described a hookup as involving sex, 9 percent described it as not including sex and about one-third said it could be ambiguous as to whether or not ‘hooking up’ had to involve sex,” Holman said. “In other words, ‘hooking up’ could mean anything from kissing to intercourse.”
“[Hookup culture is more vaguely defined as] brief uncommitted sexual encounters between individuals who are not romantic partners or dating each other,” according to the American Psychological Association.
While this is a phenomenon that most teenagers engage in, some people may experience conflicting emotions.
In Ian Kerner’s CNN article “Young Adults and a Hookup Culture,” Kerner presents research from author Donna Freitas who studied the emotional effects that some college students experience after a night of intimacy.
“These experiences often leave [students] feeling empty, sad and regretful,” Freitas said in the article. “[Today’s culture] overwhelmingly pressures young men and women to have meaningless hookups—even though they might not enjoy it.”
On the other hand, some studies show that casual flings may actually be considerably healthy for people who want to feel more content with their romantic lives.
One study that surveyed high school graduates about their romantic lives demonstrates this possibility, according to Livescience. Graduates who had more frequent sexual encounters felt more positively about romance and relationship, Livescience said.
Through this study, researchers found that the type of relationship plays a role in contributing to a person’s happiness and satisfaction with their romantic life. Some young adults prefer to have casual flings, while other people may prefer to engage in emotionally attached relationships with partners.
Generally, there are some young adults today who prefer to engage in casual relationships with romantic partners and others who prefer serious relationships. Whether you prefer the former or the latter, it’s crucial to clearly address your desires to your partner in order to avoid confusion and to ensure a happy, healthy companionship.