The college experience has changed drastically over the years, and one of the most notable changes is the prevalence of hookup culture. Hookup culture is a term used to describe the casual sexual encounters that are common on college campuses. This culture has been linked to a variety of issues, including an increased risk of unplanned sexually transmitted infections and the perpetuation of patriarchy. It can also lead to feelings of pressure and insecurity among students who may not be as comfortable with casual sex.
Olivia Hanley, 25, noted that hookup culture may seem more prominent in college because it is often the first time students have left home. Generation Z has fewer sexual partners than previous generations, but there is still a perception that everyone is participating in hookup culture. Beer and liquor companies have capitalized on this by spending millions to convince students that drinking is an integral part of college life. The culture of casual sexual relationships can also be seen in the way students flirt and find partners.
Flirting and adapting to the rules of hookup culture can be fun for some, but it can also be detrimental to those who don't feel comfortable with casual sex. Vicky Chen from the 24th said that students at her school are more “free-spirited”, which could lead to more informal meetings. Universities need to take steps to address the power dynamics that are perpetuated by hookup culture. This includes changing institutional arrangements that give too much power to certain groups of students who benefit from hookup culture at the expense of their peers.
It is also important for universities to provide resources and support for students who may not feel comfortable with casual sex or who may be struggling with its effects.