OPINION: The Problem with Hookup Culture

Failure of a sex education magnifies the harms of hookup culture.


Lady Ortega-Perez

Although it may seem unimportant, this conversation between two teenagers is sometimes a relatively casual approach for them to initiate a hookup.

Cici Hunter

Within the past couple of decades, a trend has developed. As the current generation becomes more permissive and progressive, so do their ideals on sex. Hook up culture has taken hold of the current generations views on dating, and as the cultural phenomenon blossoms on college campuses, so too does it take root in high schools.

For many, high school is the time in which sexual awakenings occur. These feelings and changes are complicated for sure, and for most, quite confusing. 

Within this day and age, it seems that much confusion surrounds sexual, and romantic relations. Sex is arguably a healthy, and normal experience to have. As pubescents we all have some idea of sexual attraction.

As required by state, all high schoolers must have a completed credit for health class. The class is usually taken by freshmen, and typically the “sex talk” only lasts about a week. Unfortunately, it seems Kansas’s current sexual education lacks the acknowledgement of the idea of sexual attraction. In Kansas, some students may feel that sexual education pushes for abstinence and does not cover how to practice safe sex.

We know teenagers are having sex. We’ve all heard about the students having sex in the gender neutral bathrooms, or in their cars. In fact according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 60% of high schoolers have sexual relations by the time they graduate. 

Sexual education has to be more than a week long lesson where the educator puts a condom on a banana and talks about STI’s and getting pregnant. There’s a lot more to sex than STI’s and bananas. Sexual education should include discussions on sexuality and gender identity, as well as a conversation on safe sex, and consent.

Consent is a subject that many educators feel is a sensitive topic, and discussions of consent can get pretty confusing for the student body. As a woman, I’ve been taught that consent is up to me. 

Unfortunately, even if I say no in a sexual setting, how I dress, how many partners I’ve had, and my sobriety will impact whether society accepts my lack of consent, or dismisses it. This is one of the many inherent problems with hookup culture.

Since hookup culture is entrenched in promiscuity, the likelihood of assault is high, and in a high school setting, common. Yet rather than holding the accused accountable, we look to the accuser and blame them instead.

This is due to the failure that is our sexual education. The lack of conversation around sexuality, gender identities, and consent sets up our youth for failure. And because our current sex education treats sex as a frowned upon topic, it magnifies a double standard that exists within hookup culture. 

The double standard highlights that if you’re a woman engaging in sexual acts, you’re a whore, slut, thot, or hooker. If you’re a man engaging in the same activity, you’re a player, bachelor, hustler, or a pimp.

This double standard negatively impacts our youth as we grow into adulthood. Victims should not be shunned for sex or blamed for rape and assault, when the things that should be held responsible is our failed sex education and of course, the assaulter. 

Seeing the likes of Andrew Tate on social media, teaching young men that woman are nothing more than objects of sexual gratification and women are whores for engaging in sexual activities, is disgusting and clouds the already limited education we have currently established.

As a society, we have to educate our youth better about sex, sexualities, consent and the many nuances that come with growing up in a progressing society. Only then can we begin to address the misogynist driven double standard that exists in hookup culture.