By Bryan Smilek, Opinion Writer
There is a lot of faux-concern among conservatives about how much more promiscuous millennials are, as opposed to previous generations and how that sexual freedom is hindering overall growth and emotional stability.
Indeed, a recent study at James Madison University “hooking up or dating: who benefits?” conducted by Carolyn Bradshaw and her colleagues, sparked an outcry for how millennials no longer care for dating, and inspired numerous articles about the death of chivalry and romance. These concerns, however, are exaggerated.
Sex is sex, and as it turns out, there are more benefits to the no-strings-attached culture of hookups than critics suggest. In her most recent article in The Atlantic, “Boys on the Side”, Hanna Rosin wrote an insightful piece in which she argues the merits of hook-up culture and the women who drive it.
In the end she concludes that it was a sign that women are replacing men as the alphas of society.
Rosin’s claims were of course not happily received, as many men cried “misandry” and women argued that in reality, the culture doesn’t empower them at all. To better understand the situation, I interviewed Seton Hall students and asked them about their perspectives on the “hook-up” culture.
When asked about the male versus female dichotomy, Patrick 20, said: “I think the hookup culture has grown to be quite balanced.
Now, men are as disposable as women and with the advancements in technology and social media, the hookup culture has become increasingly the majority and the relationship culture is few and fleeting.”
Jeanette 22, objectively reported that “socially, it doesn’t benefit a woman because we are seen as promiscuous for having one night stands. For men, it’s acceptable.”
As the interviews went on and the questions became more specific, a pattern was soon uncovered. When asked about the most rewarding factor of hooking up, Meta 22, a recent Seton Hall graduate, did not hesitate before saying, “I like hookups because they are emotionless. I also don’t have to worry about paying for things like dinner, gifts or new clothes for the other person.”
Meha wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Ali, 18, said, “If I’m just exclusively hooking up with someone, I would buy them gifts and take them out on ‘dates’, but I don’t necessarily have to.” Once the topic of finance was brought up, it was soon understood that while many focused on the emotional and sexual aspect of hook-up culture, they missed the most pivotal point: its financial benefits.
It is no secret that the economic prospects of this generation are worse than that of earlier ones.
The “I’m a broke college student” statement is one that many can identify with. While millennials are consistently labeled as commitment-phobes, the truth is, this lifestyle is embraced mostly because it’s the only one many can financially afford.
When one takes into account the amount that goes towards buying an exclusive partner holiday gifts, anniversary celebrations, birthdays, for broke college students, the overall sum is preposterous. Add the opportunity cost of spending time with a partner instead of actually investing that time in one’s job, internship, and academic success, and the numbers go up even more.
This is why hook up culture is important.According to Andrew 21, a typical hookup involves a couple of cheap drinks and having a good time: “there are no rights or wrongs, as long as no one catches feelings”.
Meha 22, added: “hooking up gives women the opportunity to focus on their personal goals. Instead of investing my time with a partner who may or may not be in my future in the next 5 years, I get to focus on accomplishing what’s important to me”.
This is what makes hooking up so appealing. No strings. No financial obligations. You can just focus on you.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 12th print edition.
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