Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Casual Sex City

Today my internet meandering ran me across this article:

"The often discussed, much maligned, and occasionally defended "hookup culture" bears a name that perfectly captures the boring, lifeless, and dull sexuality that dominates the lives of too many young Americans. It is mechanical, technical, and instrumental. "Hooking up" sounds like something people in a bedroom would do with a desktop computer or DVD player, not something they would do with each others' bodies. It is a term belonging to machinery, not humanity."

First of all, I think this culture is not just occasionally defended but rather rabidly defended. It is our right to have casual, promiscuous encounters with objects of our attraction. If I want to walk into a bar and make out with a really hot guy, well, that's my decision, my choice. I am grown up! I can make grown up decisions! If I want cookies for dinner one night, I can have them. If I want to bring what'shisface who's-name-isn't-saved-in-my-phone home on the second date, I can do that too.

My question is, do we defend hookup culture because we think we should or because we actually enjoy the privilege of free reign over our bodies without the difficulties that come with the bigger "Soooo...Now what?" 

First of all, let's define hookups. I think the article has a pretty good run down:
"1) A hookup involves some form of sexual intimacy. 2) A hookup is brief—it can last a few minutes or, at the most, a few hours. 3) (This is the most important part) A hookup is intended to be purely physical in nature and involves both parties shutting down any communication or connection that might lead to emotional attachment."

The article argues that we use hookup culture to shy away from actual emotional attachment. This side of the hookup, I can appreciate. Feelings hurt. The lows are low. The drunk texts are embarrassing. Your friends can only listen to you cry about the latest broken heart for so long. 

Have a hookup instead. Safe. Unattached. Emotionless. But boring. Feelingless. And cold.

I realize that I am coming at this from a very different angle than I might have a few months ago. Entirely due to the fact that I have come to realize there is something really nice about being able to curl up in someones arms and feel totally safe and happy. And when it's right there's none of those annoying, nagging, insecurity doubts that taint so many outwardly promising starts.
And five months ago when someone pointed out that "safety" would be hot in it's own way, I laughed in their face.

I have (on occasion) celebrated my youth and freedom by "hooking up." I am not saying sex. Sure, sex, sometimes. But I had gotten over the one-night stand by the time I graduated from college. I made dates wait until after 6 or more dates. But my god. Has some of that sex been bad.

Here's the thing. Sex between two people is often bad. The more sex you have, the more likely you are to encounter bad sex. Just the other night a friend was telling me about a long-awaited hookup and the terrible sex that occurred. The final conclusion: "We just didn't fit."

First of all, if the sex is great, it probably won't happen just once. Like I said, there's a lot of bad sex out there. When you find good sex, you want to keep having it.

There is an argument that the more sex you have the more options you will have to sort through until you find good sex. But that's not really what a hookup implies. A hookup does not often lead to a long term romantic encounter.

I actually recently encountered a couple who had met online and the girl thought things were going really well. The guy had stayed with her for months as his apartment underwent repairs after Sandy. The guy meanwhile told my boyfriend that he had initially seen her as "just a hookup." We ate together at a restaurant in a newly reopened building in FiDi, the same building where his recently re-opened apartment was located. 
Two weeks later my boyfriend told me they had split. He had dumped her.

Conclusion: He had moved in w/ the hookup buddy until the literal storm blew over.

And further conclusion, I don't think hookups are a way to sort through the mire until we find a "good one."

This article argues the exact opposite. We use casual encounters to avoid real long term commitment. But why?

Okay, that's easy. Long term commitment is hard. And scary. The other night I got mad at my boyfriend. It was something minor and admittedly I was hungry and carb-deprived and probably over-reacting. My first thought was to "punish him" by jumping on a train and going back to Westchester and avoiding. I realized that this was not a legitimate solution because we were in a relationship and I had to face our issues. 

But that's just the little stuff. There's the big stuff like. "Is he the one?" "Am I really going to marry this guy and make babies?" "What if I'm wasting my time?" "What if... What if... What if..."
I can ask these questions forever. I could avoid commitment and risk bad sex. Or I could take the plunge. Open myself to hurt. And just say "Okay."
In the mean time, at least the sex is great.

No comments:

Post a Comment