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Hookup Culture: Hot or Haunting?

Dating apps may have hidden insidious psychological effects impacting your love life. PHOTO/ Flickr Creative Commons
Dating apps may have hidden insidious psychological effects impacting your love life. PHOTO/ Flickr Creative Commons

By Boris Mullayev

Published: March 14th, 2018

Tinder is like ordering a pizza, except you are ordering sex.

The emergence of a sea of dating apps (from Tinder to Bumble) and social media platforms are radically changing the sexual-social-marketplace. The prevalence of online-dating sites has come to replace meeting potential suitors in real life. People have become so habituated to socializing through the Internet that it has come to replace real-world, face-to-face interactions. After all, it is far easier to copy, paste, and mass-send 100 messages behind a screen in your pajamas at 9 a.m. while eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream than it is to develop the courage necessary to approach potential dating prospects in real life. It is a lot more convenient to send a stream of texts to your friends than it is to arrange a real-world hang out. The result is a generation of Internet super-stars who thrive online behind the safety of a screen, yet have awkward social skills and can barely keep a normal conversation going in the real world. The tendency to choose digital communication instead of face-to-face communication makes it harder to form meaningful, substantial connections with other people.

The rise of dating online has created an unsurpassed, overabundance of options. If you ever feel down, you can just log onto a dating site (from POF to Ok-Cupid) and get dozens of messages from a pool of a seemingly endless number of options, to rapidly build up your self-esteem. Yes, on one hand, it is extremely empowering and ego-satisfying to know that you are desired by the opposite gender. But on the other hand, it has become harder than ever to remain loyal to a single partner because of the easy access to effortless sex on Tinder and the constant bombardment of newfound attention on social media sites.

Debbie Changoo, 42, a senior at Brooklyn College, said, “When I was a teenager, I wasn’t even allowed to talk about sex.”

That’s a stark contrast to contemporary hookup culture, where the subject of intercourse is being shamelessly discussed in classrooms and among students. There is a mountain-high stack of condoms openly being handed out in the Women’s Center at Brooklyn College. This embracing of safe sex as an enjoyable, natural, self-expressing activity between two consenting adults is a healthy mindset and extremely empowering; yet hookup culture has made it more difficult to have a meaningful connection because the barriers towards sex have become far lower than ever before. In the past, intense physical intimacy was reserved within the confines of a relationship as a means to strengthen a meaningful connection; now physical intimacy is given away freely and thoughtlessly as a means of basking in hedonistic pleasure. As a result, sex has become “cheapened”. Hooking up with many people—without a second thought—makes the act far less meaningful when you finally connect with a special someone whom you care a lot about.

We live in an unprecedented time when digital communication has become more prevalent than ever before in the history of mankind. It is important to be aware of this phenomenon’s psychological impacts on our social, romantic, and work lives. While it would be absurd to take a “vow of purity” to entirely abstain from dating apps and social media platforms, it is important to use these technologies merely to supplement a healthy, active social life and to keep meeting people organically throughout the course of your day. Instead of spending several hours on Facebook, consider investing that time to develop a competitive edge and become a more attractive candidate for potential employers.

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