Has the hookup culture redefined dating? Or has dating changed the hookup? No matter what your intimacy goals, we have some suggestions to guide the way.
Is the hookup culture ruining dating?
I actually think it’s the other way around: the dating culture is ruining hookups.
I dated a guy, on and off, for about five years in my 20s. During that time, he lied to me about everything. This guy: lived with his “cousin” (girlfriend), was having sex with my best friend, and was even fellated by our co-worker (40 years his senior) in the parking lot of the mall we both worked in. Of course I didn’t know about any of this at the time. Our relationship was a series of dangled carrots until I finally discovered the root was much deeper.
One night, at a small dinner a friend and her husband had created for us, my date asked me:
“So, have you slept with him?”
“Who?” I asked.
“Your friend’s husband? You seem to get along really well.”
“No.” I replied.
“Why not?” He said.
“For starters, because he’s my friend’s husband!”
I’m not going to lie. I was shocked. All in one brilliant Maury Povitch moment, it occurred to me that if this was his expectation of relationships, what was he doing out there?!
From that moment on, I began to pull my energy away from the relationship to him; soon, all of the truths came flooding out. I was definitely rocked and devastated at the time, but was given an immense opportunity to channel my rage at the betrayal into something productive rather than annihilating him or myself. In that, I was successful.
Today, in hind site, I feel sad for both of us.
The culture we live in sets us up for failure every time. If a woman doesn’t want to marry: she’s slutty. If a man lies: he’s a loser. Harsh, but true. Women fear being perceived as a whore and men fear being perceived as impotent. (Both of these terms, of course, are antiquated and rarely do people use them without a chuckle; but the unspoken truth is no one wants to be seen as unlovable, which is how one feels when they’re called a whore or a loser.)
Let’s take a moment to, for the purposes of this article, define two things: dating and hookups.
Dating is the process of getting to know someone ultimately to move towards an enduring union. Hookups, on the other hand, are getting together for the purposes of sexual interest. And, make no mistake, no matter how well you negotiate, feelings will get hurt on either path. That’s life: embrace it.
Doing one thing but saying another always leads to conflict, and the hookup culture is about being honest.
Let’s all take a deep, monogamous breath and face it. It’s the dating culture and the illusion of monogamy (before two parties are ready) that creates the problem. Our culture has set things up so the majority idea is when a woman wants to sleep with multiple people, she’s a slut and when men do it, they’re impressive. Of course that’s a bunch of malarkey; and all it does is set folks up to be untruthful about their desires and choices with one another.
Now before we go on, I’d like to offer a little bit of a defense as to the purpose of such a long running moral notion.
Spiritually speaking, when two people share in a sexual connection they transfer energy back and forth to one another, possibly unbeknownst to one partner or the other. Some people are better than others when it comes to the ability to transform or metabolize the energy they’ve taken on. So, the fewer connections you have, the clearer you’re able to experience your spiritual truth.
Physically speaking, our DNA requires that we are continually given the message to procreate our species—and rightfully so. At other times in history there were fewer people and multiple cultures that supported the system of one man impregnating several women for the purposes of child baring. Today, however, is not that day or circumstance. In fact, I am certain we will never have the need to populate, en masse, on this planet again.
So, having said all of that: I’d like to make a few suggestions on how to hookup (or date!) properly.
- Be who you are from the beginning: there will always be someone to like exactly that.
- Take time out to be honest with yourself about your desires: write them out and practice saying them out loud. There will always be someone who wants exactly what you want.
- Don’t deny the discomfort you feel from going against the monogamous or free-spirited grain of your particular society. It’s not their life and they don’t matter. The more you embrace the discomfort of being different, the stronger you are in every aspect of your life.
- Strive to achieve love in any relationship you participate in. Love yourself completely and love will flow from you.
- Don’t fear rejection: Of course, everyone you meet won’t want what you want. But if they don’t want what you have, it’s for certain you won’t find happiness there.