Saying no to labels: Hook-up culture doesn't define me

Hook-up culture doesn't appeal to everyone and that's okay. Here's why.

Anna-Louise Davies
16th May 2023
Image Credits: Unsplash
Hook-up culture at university is renowned. We’re handed condoms at freshers events, first year pre-drinks to consist of drinking games which somehow always manages to incorporate the question of your body count and when clubbing you don't have to look very far to see people shamelessly snogging in the middle of the dance floor. For many, this will be an exciting and sexually liberating time, but for those who don’t want to partake there may be the fear of being labelled a ‘prude’. This is. of course. not to dismiss the pressures on the other end of the spectrum, for those who frequently enjoy casual sexual encounters but feel they need to change their ways out of fear of being labelled a ‘slut’. Ultimately, the decisions we make about what to do with our bodies should be made by us alone.

The concept of ‘sluts’ and ‘prudes’ are outdated to say the least and should have no sway on the way any of us choose to live our lives.

As I examined my time at university, I considered the extent to which my friends and I had been subjected to hook-up culture pressure. It was undeniable; we all felt this pressure but all for different reasons. Friends in relationships were made to feel as though they should be single during this phase of life. Others who were avid partakers in hook-up culture were sometimes told that they should ‘slow down’ or should be careful not to get a ‘reputation’. These pressures should not influence us out of our comfort zones and so many of us will spend time reassuring our friends this but will so often apply it to our own lives. It is natural in any environment to wonder if there is a better or even right way of doing things, but in the case of hook-up culture, there simply isn't. The concept of ‘sluts’ and ‘prudes’ are outdated to say the least and should have no sway on the way any of us choose to live our lives. I am also aware that sometimes putting these constructs out of our minds, when society has ingrained them in us, particularly for women, is easier said than done.

The fact of the matter is that hook-up culture, particularly at university, should not be viewed as compulsory merely because it is often the expectation. It is up to us to learn our own boundaries and respect that not everyone’s will be the same. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing wrong with exercising your sexual liberty or not; as long as whatever decision you make is safe and entirely your own.

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