Off the hook: the rise of hookup culture

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Kayla Polansky Reporter

With another exhilarating swipe to the right and left, a message appears: “Oh no, you’re out of swipes!” Tinder is closed out for another hour until the game of swiping begins again.

Hookup culture is the idea of having casual sexual encounters, including one-night stands, without the aspect of commitment. For many youth in college and beyond, hookup culture has become a popular phenomenon.

The younger generations are oftentimes the groups reporting the most participation in hookup culture. Data has shown that between 60% to 80% of North American college students have indulged in the experience, according to the American Psychological Association.

College is useful in many aspects, such as learning, joining clubs and finding one’s niche. But for some, college can be used as a time to branch out romantically.

Noah Miller, a junior psychology major, has enjoyed his college experience in experimenting with hookup culture.

“I get to meet new people and it’s something that I find fun,” he said. “I think the thing I enjoy most is the excitement of meeting new people and that everybody’s different.”

Miller said that he does participate in dating apps, but only uses Tinder. In fact, Tinder was the most downloaded dating app in the U.S. as of April 2021, according to Statista.com.

Dating apps, such as Tinder, and other social media apps can connect college students with one another faster than ever before. With a right swipe on Tinder or a follow on Instagram, students can have access to another person within seconds.

Keagan McLellan, a sophomore finance major, finds social media a beneficial tool when participating in hookup culture.

“Social media makes hookup culture way easier and way more accessible,” he said. “I feel like it’s an urge that every young person has at this age. To me, it’s about exploring new things and new people.”

While some like to participate in hookup culture, others choose to stray away from the subject.

Melanie McCalip, a junior psychology major, does not participate in casual hookups. While she understands why many do participate, she believes the idea isn’t suited for her.

“College has an infamous reputation for many things, one-night stands being one,” she said. “I think sometimes it can be viewed as a competition in a sense rather than committing to one person.”

With easy social media access and the ability to branch out from home, the “no strings attached” is becoming a normal topic of conversation.

“I think we see it commonly at our age, especially on a college campus,” McCalip said. “For many, this is our first time away from the nest and are totally on our own guidance. We have the most freedom and space.”

Kayla Polansky is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]