Growing up Latina, Mami told me to hold off on sex until I was in a committed relationship. In hindsight, that was a pretty liberal approach; she didn’t expect me to remain a virgin until marriage. I tried keeping my cookie in my pants until I found “the one.” Then I hit my 20s and desperately desired to let my freak flag fly. I jumped into bed with a guy that was not my boyfriend (don’t tell Mami!). Afterward, I felt fucking empty. We weren’t emotionally connected, which apparently is something that I need to feel good about during and after sex. The more I thought about it during my Walk of Shame, I wondered about hook up culture and its impact on intimacy. We’re walking around like zombies after one-night stands and fleeting sex. And for what?
I promise I’m not a fuddy-duddy. I am also not knocking women that wish to explore their sexuality in whatever way they choose. Power to you if you feel empowered after hooking up. In my experience, as much as hook up culture seemed fun, hot, and liberating, it rarely led to the committed relationship and partnership that I desired.
Losing Intimacy Thanks to Hookup Culture
The thing is hook up culture isn’t going anywhere. Some people even believe that hookups will replace committed relationships altogether. According to Donna Freitas, author of the new book, The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy, hook up culture leads to loss of intimacy and connection and an overall detachment in romantic relationships. Freitas’s theory is partially based on the results of an Internet survey she conducted. Out of 557 male and female college students from various universities, including public, private, and Catholic schools, 41 percent expressed sadness, regret, and ambivalence the morning after casual sex. In essence, young men and women are engaging in meaningless sex even if they don’t feel good about it. Because, despite casual sex being all the rage, men and women still value emotional connection during sex.
Another study conducted by Durex also proves this theory. Out of 2,000 men and women surveyed, 87 percent of women said that their hottest sexual experience was with a partner whom they trusted and that they were once in a former relationship with. They were turned on by sexual partners with whom they were familiar, not a random one-night stand or fling. And it wasn’t just women that felt this way. 95 percent of men polled stated that an emotional connection makes for a better sexual experience.
Turning It Around
Although men and women continue to hook up, which is a practice that keeps singles single while losing intimacy with potential connections, Amber Soletti, relationship expert and CEO of OnSpeetDating.com, suggests that women put the kibosh on hook up culture. If women don’t settle for just a fling, men won’t either. ”Relationship-seeking men and women who often find themselves settling for a “hook-up” subconsciously start to believe that’s all that anyone could want with them,” Amber explained. By partaking in yet another casual hookup, you will become “pre-programmed to put emotional guards up and this may deter you from forming a real organic relationship.” Instead of gaining trust and connecting emotionally, you run away from intimate connections because you fear being vulnerable.
So, what’s the solution if you are a man or woman who wants to find love and be intimate within a committed relationship? I say we slow down. Don’t hook up if you know it doesn’t feel right. Wait until you’ve formed a solid foundation and connection like Mami advised in her minimalistic birds and the bees talk. Cause it turns out Mami knows best.