Growing up, one of the first rules in cultural etiquette that I learned from my mother was that you never, ever had sex without being in love and being married. The later was just something you did—in addition eating your vegetables first to enjoy desert later, and going to bed early in order to avoid being tired the next morning.
But then, when I was in middle school, a student council trip to Boston one weekend brought the subject to my attention again. It was, in fact, all anyone could whisper about on the way home. How W had asked X to come to his room for other purposes than to watch “Billy Madison” on TV at the Holiday Inn. Wasn’t Billy enough?
Apparently not, especially not at my boarding school during sophomore year, where the subject of sex was so popular it could have had a Twitter following. My sexually savvy friends gave me the low down (to keep on the down low, naturally) of the hot spots on campus that had been frequented by Y and Z. With equal amounts of disgust and intrigue, I nevertheless vowed to guard myself with hand sanitizer, cross country, and British sitcoms to distract myself from the sexual playground my campus had reportedly become on the weekends.
So getting back to the discussion at hand, are hookups a good idea for today’s youth? I believe that in order to have an understanding of the hookup culture, one must first have an understanding of sex. Not just a physical understanding, but also how one can emotionally connect (or disconnect) with a person in the process. You will never be more exposed and vulnerable than when you crawl into a bed with someone. You will be physically and emotionally naked with another person, trusting them implicitly with your body and your heart.
You also need to consider why you want have a hookup. There are countless reasons to “do it” (peer pressure, curiosity, lust) and reasons not to (STDs, pregnancy, embarrassment). For some, the risks outweigh temptation. For others, setting guidelines and taking all the necessary precautions beforehand, from birth control to what happens when the sex is over, secure an enjoyable experience for both parties.
So to hookup or not hookup—that is the question? The only advice I can give is that you have to know yourself and what type of relationship you want with a person. And ultimately, you’re going to do what you want to do anyways, so just make sure you’ve made peace with your decision beforehand. No judgment, either way.