“You know, having sex with someone just for sex isn’t good,” my mother said.
My mother is chastising me for participating in the hookup culture: having sex with someone for physical pleasure rather than an emotional connection.
As I’ll tell anyone, I’m a very busy woman. I have college homework, I work about 25 hours a week at a part-time job and I hold the position of managing editor for this newspaper. Note to my mother: My social life suffers a little bit, but it doesn’t mean I hate it. A woman once told me that right now in my life it’s time to be more self-centered, and focus on what I personally want out of life.
Let me tell you right now that hookup culture does not hurt my chances of finding a mate, nor does it mean I do not know what love is. I’m just too absorbed in my education at the moment, sorry.
This stigma the Christian South has placed on sex without love is incredibly insane and impractical. The strong influence of Christianity makes us believe people are truly abstaining from sex till marriage, and people who diverge are “slutty.” The National Library of Medicine shows that in 2002, of those who abstained from sex until the age of 20, at least 81 percent still had premarital sex by age of 44. This shows that waiting for marriage is no longer a standard our society.
Our Generation X and baby boomer parents constantly berate millennials for not knowing how to date anymore. This just isn’t true. The concept of asking someone to the movies and a dinner has not disappeared. It’s just being postponed to later in life.
People that get married later in life have a better chance of surviving as a couple, and the nation’s divorce rate backs that up. I’ll quote Time magazine in saying, “The 2015 rate was 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women age 15 or older, which is down from 17.6 in 2014 and a peak of almost 23 divorces in 1980.”
The Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that 32 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds live with their parents. We also make less money but have the most education. So, it takes a lot more in 2017 to get your life together than it did in the 1950s. If young people are staying home till 25, they are not looking for their life partners. This is reflected in data from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. Looking at the year 1970, there were 76.5 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women. In 2015, there were 32.3 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women.
This leads to the fact that “the percentage of young adults who report being single and not living with someone has risen dramatically in the past decade, from 52 percent in 2004 to 64 percent in 2014,” according to Gallup.com.
The older generations commonly bring up STDs. The boom in STDs, according to the Centers for Disease Control, happened in 1988, when 42.8 per 100,000 people had an STD. That number has since declined to 23.4 per 100,000.
The solution is being responsible and getting tested. There’s still a stigma around getting tested, but the decline in STDs suggests this is changing. Personally, I get tested every two months for STDs, which is something I strongly advocate for.
Meanwhile, the nation has hit an all-time low in teen pregnancies. The CDC reports that in 2014, the birth rate for women ages 15-19 was 2.4 percent. This is a decline of 9 percent from 2013.
Though there are other reasons teen pregnancy rates have dropped, we can’t ignore the fact that younger people are more likely to have had comprehensive sex education rather than abstinence preaching. I also want to note that changes made by our current administration could set us back and increase teen pregnancies. Republicans would like to continue abstinence-based sex education and close Planned Parenthood.
Taking everything into consideration, people should be able to see that this hookup culture is mostly caused by the economy and advancement in education. The hookup culture reflects our society and our struggles. So to answer my mother, having sex for the sole purpose of pleasure is ethically, morally and economically fine.