It’s okay if you don’t vibe with hookup culture

Hookup culture isn’t for everyone

Hookup culture can be harmful to your self-esteem.
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Casual sex shouldn’t be condemned, but it shouldn’t be represented as the norm either.

In the past few months, I’ve been reflecting a lot on hookup culture in society and at Queen’s, the negative consequences it has on many people’s self-esteem and views towards sexuality. Hookup culture is perhaps more prevalent than ever, perpetuated by the media.

I’ve seen various Reddit posts and TikTok videos from students expressing their lack of belonging to this culture. At Queen’s, I’ve never fit into this lifestyle, especially as a late bloomer who’s still figuring out what I want out of life and other people.

But I eventually came to the realization that it’s okay if you don’t want to indulge in hookup culture.

There are many other things in life and in university that students can enjoy, and other ways to go about your relationships that don’t involve casual sex.

We live in a hypersexualized world where everything is about “numbers,” body counts, and doing things quickly to just “get it over with.” Billboards, magazines, and social media show a lot of explicit, over-curated content that wrecks people’s self-esteem when it comes to ideas surrounding sex.

Beer commercials involve women in bikinis and female superheroes wear skin-tight costumes—it’s hard to not engage in a culture that focuses on physicality and body image over everything else.

It’s hard to look at these images of women—who are deeply adored by men—and live in a society where casual sex is prioritized without feeling unworthy or unlovable.

I learned while everyone is free to do what they want, we shouldn’t feel peer-pressured into doing something that doesn’t connect with our values.

Ask yourself: Is sex the most important thing right now? Am I engaging in it because that’s what everyone else is doing, or because I want to?

Answering these questions can reframe your perspective. Sexuality and sex are marketed as this holy grail, when, in reality, it’s just one thing—a natural thing in life that will just eventually come to everyone, if that’s what they want.

Social media perpetuates hookup culture. It makes it feel like everyone is participating in it, when that’s not really the case. Hookup culture can engrain false senses of insecurity into people’s heads that everyone is living their best life sleeping with numerous people and that if you’re not doing that, or enough or it, then you aren’t enough.

At the end of the day, sexuality and sex are personal and intimate matters that don’t need to be disclosed to anyone, not even your closest friends and family members. You should never feel rushed or pressured to hook up if you don’t want to.

There’s a huge subsection of students who aren’t into casual sex at all. Some are merely at the library focused on getting their degree, studying, and hanging out with their friends—without the benefits. Everyone has their own trajectory, and sometimes, hooking up with strangers on a sweaty dance floor doesn’t need to happen or be romanticized as normalcy.

Give yourself permission to carve your own path and own who you are, even if that road is outside of the hookup culture path. You are whole and complete as you are. You have a lot to give to this world and are worth more than your body and the relationships you’ve been in.

This hasn’t been easy for me to realize, but after realizing how much I love the little things in life—like spending time with my friends and chasing my own career pursuits—I’ve come to the conclusion that hookup culture isn’t for me, and that’s alright.

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