Pop culture plays a large role in the current generation’s perspective on many topics and subjects, especially in romance. In the current times, romance and falling in love are often associated with sex and hookups. With pop songs and trending TV shows usually playing on the topic of romance, love, and breakups, pop culture media has conditioned our minds to think in such a way, leading the youth to have many “expectations” when it comes to real life relationships. Pop culture media depicts an image of an “ideal romance” in such a way that causes the youth to have unrealistic expectations when it comes to real-life relationships and pressuring people to find their “special person”.
Hookup culture is the idea of casually making out or having sex with someone you may have just met and not necessarily having a committed relationship. This behavior has been widely accepted in many countries, particularly in the United States. Casual sex has slowly become a “normal” part of people’s lives. So, what makes hookup culture so popular? What makes it so accepted? Hookup culture is so attractive because it quickly fulfills one’s emotional needs. A study from the American Psychological Association shows that such hookups have brought generally positive emotions. Those who have been experiencing loneliness increased confidence and had lower rates of depression and loneliness. Despite the many risks of this culture, society believes that if nobody gets hurt, then it is alright to do so. Hookup culture also teaches people not to be afraid to explore and meet different people. It allows people to be more open and gives them second chances.
Although people generally enjoy the idea of hooking up and the benefits that come with it, the consequences are far too important to ignore. A psychological study led by Lucy Napper from Lehigh University says that many people experience psychological distress after hooking up, which may include anxiety, depression, regret, low self-esteem and reduced life satisfaction. Stronger feelings of regret can especially be found in individuals who previously did not show any depressive symptoms. People often hookup on the spur of the moment or because of peer pressure, which contributes to the feelings of regret one may experience after hooking up. Psychologists also show that women are more likely to experience the negative effects of hooking up than men do. Not only can hookups lead to emotional and mental drawbacks, but it can also affect one’s physical health. Due to the fact that society is normalizing this type of culture, engaging in hookups increases the chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases, experiencing sexual violence, and having unwanted pregnancies. Despite all the risks in this type of behavior, modern media continues to encourage hooking up.
Hookups bring more harm than good. The positive effects of hooking up only lasts for a short period of time; however, during the long run, individuals often experience more drawbacks from hooking up. There are also healthier ways in receiving emotional fulfillment and creating relationships. The “ideal romance” that pop culture is promoting has created a very toxic environment for romantic relationships. Pop culture portrays romance in a very harmful and unreal way, and so it causes people to view romance as one of the most important elements in life, giving people numerous false expectations and allowing them to ignore the weight of the situation. Pop culture’s idealism has led to people viewing things in a more unrealistic way, which may lead to many consequences. Society should stop fixating on a certain standard of romantic experiences to avoid such toxic environments for relationship-building. Boundaries should also be set early on in a relationship to prevent misunderstandings and regret. In conclusion, instead of rushing encounters and relationships with different people, romantic relationships should be given time and patience to grow and flourish.
Considering the different consequences of hooking up, it is not a surprise to see Christians discourage such behavior. The Christian faith teaches one to remain sexually pure before marriage and to properly value intimacy in romantic relationships. Unfortunately, nowadays even Christians conform to the pattern of this world. Principles meant to protect one’s well-being have been replaced with worldly culture. Although Christian teachings have dated back since ancient times, these teachings still remain applicable to this day.
Bunderson, J. (2020). Popular culture gives relationships unrealistic portrayals and unfair expectations. Retrieved from https://marquettemessenger.com/ae/2020/02/14/popular-culture-gives-relationships-unrealistic-portrayals-and-unfair-expectations/
Garcia, J. R., Reiber, C., Massey, S. G., & Merriwether, A. M. (2013). Sexual hook-up culture. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/02/ce-corner#:~:text=Hook%2Dup%20culture%20and%20sexual,transmitted%20infections%20and%20unintended%20pregnancy.
Ng, N. (2017). How has pop culture and the media influenced our perspectives of love and sex? Retrieved from https://www.meldmagazine.com.au/2017/09/love-sex-pop-culture-media/
Perry, L. (2021). Regret, distress, low self-esteem: Why today’s hook-up culture is a terrible deal for women. Retrieved from https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2021/07/regret-distress-low-self-esteem-why-today-s-hook-culture-terrible-deal
Shepardson, R. L., Walsh, J. L., Carey, K. B., & Carey, M.P. (2017). Benefits of hooking up: Self-reports from first-year college women. Int J Sex Health, 28(3), 216-220. doi: 10.1080/19317611.2016.1178677
Spaulding, J. A. M. (2018). What's so bad about hooking up?: Factors predictive of more positive perceptions following a hookup. Retrieved from https://ir.library.illinoisstate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1912&context=etd