Since the 1990s, the options for a romantic or sexual life have been very broad for college students. Donna Freitas, who spent many years as a student counselor, has interviewed students about the hookup phenomenon which can refer to anything from a make-out session to having intercourse. For all intents and purposes, it has replaced the first date on campus.
Freitas states that three qualities characterize hooking up: "its sexual content, its brevity, and its apparent lack of emotional involvement." One of the most shocking findings in surveys of college women and men found that 41 percent express sadness and regret about these experiences. The students felt deprived of "healthy, fulfilling sex lives, positive dating experiences, and loving relationships." Females have much more reason to be disappointed by casual sex since they seem to be subservient to male needs.
Although when asked most students say they want to have "meaningful relationships," they often feel pressured to chill out and have fun; after all college is the only time when you can be free of parental authority and restrictions so why not make the most of it? Freitas explores some of the alternatives for those who are fed up with the hookup culture and especially with its emphasis on excessive drinking or use of drugs.
Here are a few options: going out on an old-fashioned dates, talking to administrators about sex programs that are something more than lectures on safe sex, rethinking abstinence, and doing more research on your sexual needs and the role sex plays in your religious or spiritual path.
Freitas deserves to be commended for bringing the hookup culture into the light of day. She correctly poses the question: who is going to provide the wise counsel, the resources, and the insights that college students need to move beyond one-night stands? Looking at the failure rate of so many marriages today, one shudders to think about the destiny of those who have gotten into the habit of casual sex also fear emotional entanglements with the opposite sex. What will their intimate relationships be like?