Is dating dead? Has your romance been replaced by random hookups? At Fairfield University it would seem so.
What is Hook Up Culture?
Most college students define a hookup as anything from kissing to sex without the emotional involvement of a relationship.
Christina DeBlasi, a sophomore at Fairfield University said, “It seems like relationships are dead because the hook up culture is more prevalent than ever, especially on college campuses.”
The hook up culture is appealing to college students because it allows students to have enjoyable sex lives while letting them focus on their academics.
According to students at Fairfield University, they describe the hook up culture as fun, but it causes them to miss out on “normal” and romantic relationships.It is believed that hook up culture causes students to feel lonely and unhappy because they wish for starting a relationship.
Is it time for our generation to start dating again?
“Of course the hook up culture exists at Fairfield University. Just go to the townhouses or the beach on Friday or Saturday night and you will see countless of students participating in the hook up culture,” said Jennie Chieco, a sophomore at Fairfield University.
Chieco was another student impacted by the hook up culture at Fairfield University.
Prior to college, she was involved in a relationship since her sophomore year of high school. She and her boyfriend promise to make their long distant relationship work. However, the hook up culture caused their relationship to turn for the worse.
“The hook up culture impacted my relationship in just the very first week of freshman year,” said Chieco.
She explained that they quickly broke up after she realized how hard it was to maintain a relationship while experiencing the pressure of the hook up culture at Fairfield University.
Chieco said, “My friends were quick to assure me that it is “easier to be single at a college like Fairfield” and I agreed with that. I found that having a long distance relationship meant giving up a lot of my social life because it is so focused on the hook up culture.”
Chieco admitted that at first hooking up with random people at the townhouses or the beach was fun, but she soon found out that the novelty quickly wore off.
She said, “The feelings of loneliness crept in. Hook ups are ok in the short term but can be emotionally detrimental in the long term.”
Chieco, like other college students, long for a man or woman to treat them right and love them unconditionally. However, the hook up culture at Fairfield makes this idea unrealistic.
“I find myself just accepting how the students here act on the weekends and just going along with the hook up culture because sometimes going against the status quo is just too hard,” Chieco said.
How do Fairfield University students’ feel about the hook up culture happening on their campus?
I decided to interview around 15 students. I presented freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students with a list of questions regarding how they view the hook up culture at Fairfield and any personal experiences with the hook up culture on campus. I decided to interview men and women from different class years to get a broad view of the hook up culture at Fairfield.
Amanda McKelyvey, a senior at Fairfield University, has experienced the hook up culture during her four years at Fairfield.
“Hook up culture is a college thing. It’s something you just have to accept”, said McKelyvey.
Contrary, Danielle Tullo, a senior at Fairfield University, is so happy she stayed with her boyfriend during her four years at Fairfield.
She explained that she never wanted to give up her special relationship with her boyfriend for random hook ups.
Tullo said, “During my freshman year everyone judged me for having a boyfriend because they assumed I wasn’t going to have fun, but now as a senior all my friends look at me as lucky for having a boyfriend.”
Mike LeBoeuf, a senior at Fairfield, offers his opinion on hook up culture from a male point of view.
He said, “It sucks to think that all hook ups are interconnected. Most likely if you get involved with a girl she probably has already hooked up with your friends.”
Leboeuf described hook up culture as a game.
“It’s all about how many girls you have hooked up with,” said Leboeuf.
Certainly, Leboeuf agreed that the hook up culture is a problem on campus and students need to start getting to know each other on a more emotional level.
Hook Up Culture Across College Campuses
“Dating is dead and hook up culture dominates the lives of college students today”, said Donna Freitas, author of the book, The End of Sex.
In her book, Freitas explains that more college hookups lead to students feeling lonely, sad, and regretful.
Freitas’s book describes the results of an early Internet survey she conducted of 2,500 U.S college students at public, private, and Catholic universities.
Out of the 557 male and female students who participated in the survey, 41% of them said they felt sadness, emptiness, and regret after a hook up.
In a new study published in the Journal of Sex Research, scientists at the University of Portland compared data from the General Social Survey at two different points in time: 1988-1996 and 2004-2012.
They concluded that today’s students, ranging from the age of 18-25, are more likely to report engaging in a hookup (71.0%) compared to past students (55.7%).
Freitas states that our culture puts pressure on college students to engage in meaningless hook ups.
“Many students today have never been on a traditional date,” said Freitas.
She explains that hook ups may be fine for college students but what about after college?
“The problem is that young people don’t know how to get out of hook up culture,” said Freitas.
Both men and women prefer having “hookup buddies.” This label means having a regular sexual partner with little commitment. However, others still long for a boyfriend or girlfriend and getting to know individuals on a deeper and emotional level.
Hook Up Culture at Fairfield University
Just by overhearing a students’ conversation in the cafeteria talking about who hooked up with who, or having the goal on Friday night at the party to hook up with that guy, or even watching every engaged with their phones, one can see that the hook up culture exists at Fairfield University.
Although casual sex is not new to a college campus, it seems students at Fairfield have become so dependent on the hook up culture. Many students at Fairfield admitted that they don’t follow the traditional rules of a relationship, including giving out your phone number, making plans, and going out on a dinner or movie date.
According to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics, “hook ups” or “friends with benefits” is a dominant part of campus life.
College students love to spend our free time watching Netflix. Some of Fairfield students’ favorite shows air on MTV. These shows include Awkward, Faking It, and Friendzone. Most of these MTV shows depict the hook up culture.
Annie O’Neil, a sophomore at Fairfield, explained that most television shows portray the hook up culture as normal.
Annie O’Neil said, “My favorite MTV show, Jersey Shore, shows hook up culture as the new norm. Instead of depicting a romantic relationship, they only seem to depict one night stands.”
Students at Fairfield believe one of the reasons why hook up culture exists on their campus is because the media obsesses over hook up culture. Most shows only focus on hook ups and display intimate college relationships as extremely uncommon.
By just talking to friends and colleagues, many enjoy just hooking up with people because they feel like relationships are a lot of work.
Students at Fairfield much rather pour their energy into their studies and professional goals than a romantic relationship. On the weekends, when students go to parties they only look to hook up with people because it satisfies their sexual desires without being tied down in a relationship.
Now with all the pressure to succeed in school and to land a job after graduation, students at Fairfield admit that their main priority it to go to school to receive an education rather than search for a husband.
Reducing Hook Up Culture- Some Student Suggestions
Experts like Chieco, believe today most college students communicate through texts, tweets, and Facebook posts.
Students rather send texts to avoid face-to-face interaction, making it hard to have any sort of romantic relationship.
Jillian Lucia, a sophomore at Fairfield University, explained that we could make a few changes to reduce the hook up culture on campus.
“First off, students should not indulge in alcohol or large amounts of alcohol. Also we need to change the whole outlook of the weekend. We should go out to have a good time with your friends instead of trying to find boys to kiss,” she said.
Students at Fairfield think it is important that we all remember that there are plenty of respectful men and women on campus that are looking for a meaningful relationship.
Bernie O’Connor, a freshman at Fairfield University, thought coming to college would mean parties and hook ups; however, he is over it.
He said, “We need to change our mindset of college, meaning don’t just go to college looking for hook ups. College is all about meeting people and getting to know people on a deeper level.”
Fairfield University students advocate that it is up to the students to fix the problem.
Students need to break this routine of meaningless hook ups and communicating only through texts and social media sites. Students need to be open to going on typical dates, like going out to dinner or to the movies. It is important to spend time with others on a more personal level.
Margaret Liguori, a junior at Fairfield University, hopes that students will abandon their relaxed attitudes towards romance.
“It sucks that students don’t see relationships as important. We don’t value them as much as relationships should be valued. This attitude needs to change.”
Many students at Fairfield explained that dating on college campuses is not entirely dead.
Want to learn more?
The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused About Intimacy” http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/16/health/kerner-hookup-culture/
Sex On Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/fashion/sex-on-campus-she-can-play-that-game-too.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&
Why College Dating Is So Messed Up? http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/advice/a5585/college-dating-screwed-up/
More facts and statistics on sexual assault https://rainn.org
Fairfield University’s information on sexual assault http://www.fairfield.edu/lifeatfairfield/healthsafety/counselingpsychologicalservices/forstudents/newstudents/sexualassault/