Cindy’s thoughts on “We’re Casual About Sex and Serious About Consent”
Healthy sexual choices are not often made under the influence of alcohol and optimistic arousal. The unspoken social contract among young people dictates that hooking up is the way busy people conduct their sex lives. “Hooking up” is a conveniently vague term that allows people to evade judgment. The hookup culture has created an accepted reversed dating scene. Students of all ages laugh in agreement when I share the following quote from a fifteen year-old girl, “If you hook up once, one of the two people is interested. If you hook up twice, both are interested. If you hook up a third time, it’s a thing.” In other words, physically connecting with someone with whom you are emotionally disconnected is part of the deal and a way to see what might shake out. When students tell me it would be “awkward” to ask for consent, I say, “You are naked. That is awkward! Speak up and get to the other side of awkward or get dressed.” Freitas’s research aligns with my findings over many years of interviews with college students: Hooking up leaves many young women AND men feeling emotionally unfulfilled. The assumption that guys just want to get off is NOT true regardless of what guys say with a group of friends. Girls and young women also feel emotionally unfulfilled and rarely have orgasms in a hookup. The normalization of casual sex has made it a rite of passage, a way to join the club, feel wanted, and evade judgment. Many assume more sex leads to more skills. I have had a number alarming interviews with young men who have had many female partners and are relied on as the source of guidance and information for their peers. These guys are misinformed about female pleasure and misguide their peers. Without a connection, communication, and shared trust, people end up having a lot of below-average sex – one’s practice becomes his or her practice.