Hit It and Quit It: An Epidemic



Story by Ruchika Bajaj

Maneuvering through a crowded house of drunken college kids, Aarya Mishra stumbles into a room of flashing lights and the sounds of Juicy J. She is enjoying dancing with her friends but she can't help but notice the abundance of attractive guys around her. With her "liquid courage" in hand, she makes her way over to the guy that throws her the biggest smile, and before you know it they are in the corner making out.

 Mishra had never experienced this behavior before she came to college. 

"I'm not looking for anything serious or any commitment, but I still like to be with someone during the night or by the end of it," said, Mishra, freshmen business major.

 With frat parties, accessibility to alcohol, and the impact of social media, it is no shock that the idea of casual sex has become a full-blown culture that college students align with.

For some students, hookup culture has almost completely transformed the traditional dating scene on college campuses. The vague term “hookup”, which, in high school, could define any sort of sexual experience aside from sexual intercourse, means something entirely different in the college sphere.

As individuals enter college and are exposed to a different social atmosphere, where a hookup can encompass anything from making out to having sex. The way people view intimacy is completely altered, as sex becomes a more casual activity.

"College hookup culture is the drunken one night stands, walk of shames, risqué, ‘I'll worry about it later’ behavior," said, Mishra.

In a survey of about 55 Chapman students, 63% of participants said that a hookup between two people is most likely to occur the first time two people meet. With a mindset like this, it is rare that an intimate emotional connection will be made. It has come to a point where relationships are sex-centered, never moving past one-night stands and friends with benefits. 

"I don't mind indulging in the culture, and I find it fun to have sex with no emotions if possible," said, Liz Rosero, junior business major.

We have entered a generation where going on numerous dates is too much work and seek instant gratification. Hooking up gives us exactly what we need without countless effort.

"If we can’t even focus ourselves on a video longer than six seconds or a tweet longer than 140 characters, how could we have the attention span to go through the lengthy process of courtship,” said, Thomas Hecker, sophomore communications major.

If it is not someone you meet at a party or someone you are friends with exclusively while intoxicated, where else are individuals seeking this so-called “instant gratification”? They turn to dating applications that are now readily available on their smart phones at the touch of a button.

For example, the mobile phone application Tinder, which was released in September 2012, garnered nationwide attention and a large user base of almost ten million users. Tinder connects people using their Facebook profiles, pictures, ages, and interests. Using GPS technology, users are able to set a radius and match with others in their area using a swipe right/left feature: right if they like the person and left if they do not. Tinder quickly became a strong, addictive application in which people could find others who share their needs and wants, while satisfying their desire for instant gratification.

"It has created less of a desire to form a lasting and meaningful relationship with someone and an ability to quickly and easily move on to someone new," said, Eesha Choudhari, sophomore computer science major.

On Tinder, individuals are meeting solely based off physical attraction, reducing dating in our generation to a simple swipe. One doesn't have to go through the painful process of getting to know an individual and seeing if personalities match. 

"I use it for easy hookups," said, Choudhari.

Yet there still exist those individuals that are optimistic in seeking commitment and a significant other.           

Various studies have shown that between 15-25% of college students opt out of hooking up and instead seek satisfaction and enjoyment through dating and committed relationships. This percentage includes individuals who previously engaged in hookups but then decided to remove themselves from the hookup culture. 

"I prefer dates rather than hookups because the person you’re with makes you happy all the time and isn’t just a one time thing. They respect you and love you for yourself not just your body like hookups," said, Ayah Khader, sophomore biology major.

Adults hope that there will be a change in this generation. Susan Patton, alumna of Princeton University, shared her thoughts in March 2013 in a letter to The Daily Princetonian. She encouraged women to use college as an opportunity to seek out their future husbands on campus, rather than fall in line with the hook up culture and reduced emphasis on relationships. She argues that once students leave college, it only gets harder to find a significant other.

And they are students who aren't afraid to be an outlier to the single life freedom college has to offer.

It’s 9 PM on Khader's birthday, and the time for the big surprise has come. He takes her to a fancy restaurant that overlooks the city of Chicago. Awaiting them is a table covered in rose petals accompanied by a note that says “Happy birthday, I love you.”

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