If you’ve been single and dating at any point in the last five years, you probably know that apps like Tinder and online dating sites have taken over as the dominant methods for finding a date. With all those options literally at our fingertips, it has become increasingly harder for people to choose just one. Add the growing acceptance of sex positivity and we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of hook up culture.
Urban Dictionary defines hook up culture as “the era that began in the early 1990s and has since prevailed on college campuses and elsewhere when hooking up has replaced traditional dating as the preferred method of heterosexual liaison.” Of course, hookup culture doesn’t discriminate based on age or sexual orientation. If you’re single, you’ve experienced the effects of hook up culture.
Maybe the guy you thought you were making progress with suddenly told you that he was still actively on Tinder and he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Or you’ve been forced to scroll through way too many messages from guys who proposition you before even saying hello. Maybe you’ve had one too many guys ghost you after you make it clear you don’t just want a one night stand. We’ve all been there, and it’s frustrating, to say the least.
It’s only natural if you’ve started to feel like maybe you should just embrace the casual thing for awhile. It could be fun, right? And who knows, maybe once you let go of all those expectations you could find exactly what you’re looking for when you least expect it. At least that’s the dream.
The truth is, there’s no one size fits all advice when it comes to dating. The thousands upon thousands of articles on the internet that lay out the path to love will tell you that. Everyone has their own ideal relationship, and all you really need is to find one person who is compatible with that and wants the same things as you. Doing the casual thing when it’s really not who you are or what you want isn’t going to to lead you to that person. Quite the opposite, actually.
We all like to daydream about a romantic comedy type situation where the perfect guy ends up showing himself in the least likely of places, but for most of us, that’s just a fantasy. The only real way to find the right person for you is to be unapologetically yourself. If you aren’t interested in using Tinder to find late night hook ups, then don’t. There are plenty of people who have swiped right until they found a committed relationship. There may be a lot of not so great people and situations to wade through, but it’s seemingly worth it in the end. Anyone who has met the love of their life online or on a dating app will tell you that.
You might wonder how you’re supposed to date when it seems like you’re the only one who isn’t on the hook up band wagon. Who is going to want to go out with you if you make it clear you have no intention of sleeping with anyone you aren’t in a relationship with? The answer is, the right people. You aren’t the only one who isn’t just in it for no strings attached casual sex. There are tons of other people who are in the same boat as you. Together, you make up the anti-hook up culture movement.
At its core, hook up culture is about being able to do what you want, when you want, with whoever you want. It’s the freedom of keeping things casual and only settling down when you’re really ready. It’s enjoying sex for the sake of it, not because it has to mean anything. But it’s also about being honest with yourself about what you want and not being ashamed to ask for it. So if what you want is a serious, committed relationship, go ahead and shout it from the rooftops, because if you don’t, casual might be all you seem to find.