Hookup sex is fast, uncaring, unthinking, perfunctory.
When I was an undergraduate at Georgetown University in the early 1990s, my roommate and I dressed up like prostitutes for Halloween.
We bought fishnets, wore our tightest, sexiest clothes and sauntered out like we were the hottest girls alive.
They think that if they try to be less casual about sex, it’ll ruin their social lives. At one Catholic school, for instance, an all-girls, first-year hall was dubbed the Virgin Vault at the beginning of the year by the senior guys at the college.
I remember that night fondly, even though my feminist sensibilities cringe a little now.
For me, that costume was a form of sexual experimentation.
I chose to dress sexier than I ever had and to stretch the boundaries of what I considered acceptable.
And back then, I didn’t know anyone else who had done it.
I thought I would find that the vast majority of students revel in it, but instead I encountered a large percentage who feel confined by it or ambivalent about it (the “whateverists,” as I call them).
Nervous to be alone in challenging hookup culture, most students go along with it, even if they privately long for alternatives.
Yet, it has become the defining aspect of social life on many campuses — so common, so obligatory, that it leaves little room for experimentation that bends the rules.
I’ve spent the past eight years investigating hookup culture and talking with students, faculty members and college administrators about it.