Challenging the thought-process of hook-up culture
Courtney Jenne, Staff Writer
April 12, 2012
Filed under News & Features
“Twitterpated”… The wise owl in Bambi explains that it’s the feeling we get in the springtime that causes us to lose our bearings around attractive animals. College students will likely witness these same effects on their classmates, which are especially enhanced by the coming of good weather.
The event “Sex in College: Exploring the Hook-up Culture” was held on Monday, April 2, and aimed to bring light to these types of feelings that some college students might experience. The event was sponsored by the gender and women’s studies department, the Wellness Center for Health and Counseling and Student Development. The turnout was tremendous: in excess of 200 individuals attended, with an audience composed of faculty and students alike.
The term “hooking up,” as Dr. Rebecca Plante told us, is a “purposely vague phrase.” She has devoted her studies to finding out exactly what that term means.
In her study of nearly 13,000 men and women, she has discovered that it involves an intimate connection with someone, but the degree of intimacy remains unknown. She explained that, while it can safely be assumed that kissing or more happened during a hook-up, there really is no specific definition to this cultural phenomenon.
In her studies, she has found that the term is not only vague, but it is maintained as vague to “meet a social and cultural need” in society. By using this term, no one will know exactly what happened until further explanation is given.
This phrase also speaks to a group of people who hook up on a regular basis as opposed to maintaining a steady relationship. These people feel that it’s less time-consuming and it doesn’t involve emotions or risk.
However, Plante argued that it is impossible for there not to be emotions or risk during this type of event, which, by definition, makes it just as hard and time-consuming as any other type of relationship.
“A type of emotional fallout is often seen after these experiences, and that itself is an area of great concern,” said Anne Kearney, director of the Wellness Center for Health and Counseling.
Plante explained that much of this is derived from a lack of instructed sexual health in the United States, leaving us unprepared in deciding who we are as sexual beings, as well as leaving us unprepared in dealing with the experimentation that goes along with it.
The lack of healthy communication about sexual events in our society makes the process even more difficult. Dr. Björn Krondorfer spoke about the role of male sexuality in Christianity throughout history. In many ancient religious texts, there are detailed conversations about the sexual encounters of men. The men in these conversations speak freely and without shame.
Today, these types of conversations are not seen. This might have to do with a transition of the ideal man in society. In ancient Rome, fertility was the defining quality of a man. Today, performance is the greater aspect.
“The modern man has a strong sexuality,” stated Krondorfer. “However, he lacks the language to discuss these encounters with partners, friends and himself.”
Kearney said she has high hopes that this event will serve as a rare experience in our culture to begin to think more deeply and thoughtfully about our sexualities, and the ways we explore and express this important aspect of our identity.
“At Le Moyne, we feel that feelings and behaviors are deeply connected with critical thinking. We want to help students find relationships without regret or shame, but rather ones that will enhance their well-being.”