Changing the stigma of hookup culture

Women speak out about their opinions pertaining to the hookup scene


Khushi Arya, Staff Writer

It is no secret that hookup culture is prominent on college campuses in the United States. College students are stressed, overworked and anxious. It makes sense that we don’t have the time and energy to sustain a real romantic relationship. So, how exactly does this phenomenon of the so called “casual entanglements” operate on campus?  I interviewed some females at Wake Forest to find out their understanding of romantic love and relationships on campus. 

A sophomore heterosexual female emphasized, “The dating scene here is an absolute shitshow.” And she isn’t wrong. In her experience, the boys she meets either offer to be “f*** buddies” from the very beginning or establish a friendship based on the expection of eventually turning it sexual. Sliding into her DMs is another way that boys get her attention. What annoys her is the sheer audacity of men to pass unwarranted comments on her body. This was a recurring problem that I encountered while interviewingeach of these women. Lots of boys at Wake Forest take no time to attach sexual connotations to any and every interaction you have with them, reducing girls to nothing more than a sex object made for their appeasement. 

A junior athlete agreed that Wake Forest is “definitely a one-night stand school.” According to her, boys  don’t even try to suggest casual dating. They would just see her at an athlete party and ask her to go home with them. This is true for most of her teammates and lots of other female athletes. She added that athletes would usually just hook up with each other since they have such a tight knit group. This is interesting because everyone knows about who is dating/ getting with whom at any given point. 

This brings me back to a similar point sophomore made about the lack of anonymity at Wake Forest. Since Wake Forest isn’t that big of a school, there are times when you get with someone your friend has hooked up with in the past or is currently hooking up with. She said, “Personally, I don’t really care if my friend and I have hooked up with the same guy as long as nobody has real feelings for that guy.” 

There is nothing new about swiping endlessly on Tinder, however, that seems to be the only option these days. A freshman remarked, “I keep matching with boys who invite me to come over to their dorm to watch a movie but we all know what that means.” It is unlikely that Tinder will give her a real connection but desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose. With all the COVID-19 restrictions, it is hard for freshmen to meet people in person. 

A common theme I uncovered for the popularity of the “friends with benefits” scenario was the ability to get validation without effort. It is like discount dating. You don’t have to go on fancy dinners or plan birthdays for your partner yet you have someone drooling over your pictures and bombarding you with compliments. Everyone likes attention, especially from people they find attractive. Not everyone is a hopeless romantic, but basic courtesy is a universally appreciated behavior. Modern means of communication with all the mind games that you are required to play has truly defeated the whole purpose of communication. Yes, I’m talking about leaving people on read on Snapchat for days or taking a designated amount of time to reply to a text. Sorry to break it to you, we do not like that. Respecting someone you are physically intimate with really shouldn’t be that hard. 

 Hookup culture can be hard to navigate, but something that would make it easier would be to first reflect on what you are really looking for. Setting clear expectations about what you want out of the interaction/relationship with a specific person would ensure that neither of the two parties gets hurt in the end. There is nothing wrong with wanting something casual or even a one night stand as long as there are clearly communicated boundaries. Sadly, if you are looking for love, it is unlikely that you will find it at Wake Forest. However, I have heard numerous positive stories about Dating Deacons in terms of finding real relationships. There’s still hope for us romantics.