Traditionally dates have provided a way of ‘checking someone out’ to see if an ongoing relationship is desirable. The date in essence has become a socially accepted ritual that lets you “try before you buy.” And often a date can be a stepping stone to sex.
But lately, and especially on college campuses, it’s more about getting right down to having sex than dating and getting to know someone. The modern term is ‘hooking up’ or sometimes known as ‘friends with benefits’.
What is hooking up?
Hook ups are a kind of ‘no strings’ relationship which is increasingly short and sexual.
If the sixties and seventies changed our attitudes about sex, the new millennium has blasted them wide open. According to a study done at Standford University, modern hook ups take four basic forms:
Kissing and touching (32%)
Hand to genital stimulation (12%)
Oral sex (12%)
At the same time, in a seeming contradiction, fewer students are choosing to have sex.
In a report by the National Center for Health Studies, the percentages of both men and women between the ages of 18 and 24 who say they are virgins is on the rise.
Economics of Supply and Demand
While the biological demand hasn’t changed, according to the CIA World Fact Book, women outnumbered men by nearly 5,000,000 in 2009. And while more men are born each year, women are living longer making the competition among women for finding ‘Mr. Right’ increasing difficult.
Even on college campuses about 56% of the students are women. As a result, men on campus are finding it easier to go from a first meeting straight to sex because of the increasing competition among women for the available men.
Young People Don’t Have The Skills Necessary To Get A Relationship Started
According to ‘hook up’ expert Justin Garcia at Bingham University, the general downturn in dating suggests that young people don’t have the skills necessary to get a relationship started – and they aren’t learning them. According to an interview in USA Today, Garcia says, “For the majority of students, they’re not going to dinner and a movie unless they’ve hooked up with someone. Some physical interaction comes before the dating. Often dates happen after a relationship [hook up] rather than before.”
Relationships Are Too Much Hassle
Sociologist Teresa Downing-Matibag of Iowa State University thinks that relationships among young people are viewed as too much of a hassle. She says that because of the down economy, more students have to work to pay their way through school leaving little time for relationships or anything else.
Porn Is Easy And You Don’t Have To Deal With Rejection
In addition, the wide spread availability of porn, chat rooms, web cams and virtual environments with increasingly sexual content and activity, means an individual no longer needs to form a traditional relationship or go on a date to get their needs met.
According to one student, porn is easy and you don’t have to deal with rejection.
Downing-Metibag says that her students have shown her websites where virtual sex is the mainstream. “They can still be a virgin and have 100 different partners online through chat rooms or webcams” she says.
One wonders what will become of marriage if the trend continues. According to the Population Reference Bureau, “Marriage rates have dropped precipitously among young adults ages 25 to 34 during the past decade and the decline has accelerated since the onset of the recession, according to PRB’s analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) and 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS). The data suggest that more young couples are delaying marriage or foregoing matrimony altogether…”
Perhaps This Is The True Outcome Of Equality Of The Sexes
While dates have traditionally provided a way of checking someone out, it seems like fewer people care. The fear of rejection built into the dating ritual coupled with the increasing availability of sex, far outweighs any benefit derived from a potential relationship. In a word, as long as our biological needs are met, men and women are increasingly content to go their separate ways.
Perhaps this is the true outcome of the movement for equality among the sexes – we’ve become so much alike in our attitudes and values that the only thing that matters any more is biology.
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