Why Is Hookup Culture So Popular With Young Adults?

Young people who are finishing up their high school days, looking through their college applications, or attending their first classes have more than just academia on their minds. Although adults would say they are at a tender age, young women and men would disagree. Namely, they are boldly making changes that previous generations could only dream about. 


Now, we’re not just talking about the activism that Gen Z is prone to (although we have to give them credit for that). One of the most significant changes that young people, especially in the United States, are making has to do with dating. Young adults are leaving serious dating and relationships behind for the sake of hookup culture.


Investigating the Hookup Culture in Young Adults

Today more than ever, teenagers and young adults are having casual sex without emotional attachments. Hooking up was always a rite of passage in college. But previous generations of high school and college students didn’t partake in it as frequently as the newest generation does.


It seems that young people have discovered that having one-night stands, friends with benefits, and other casual hookups is better for them than engaging in long-term committed relationships. But why?


In short — sexual liberation. Of course, it’s not like Gen Z invented hookups. Young adults were always the ones to pioneer sexual revolutions. Gen Z can’t really hold a candle to the hippie generation and the 1960s free love movement. 


However, it seems that young adults are moving even further away from the traditional concept of relationships and engaging in casual sex even sooner than the generations before.


So, let’s see why that is.

Self Exploration of Young Adults

More than anything else, the seemingly new outburst of hookup culture has to do with the fact that having “no strings attached” sex allows young people to explore sexuality in general. It also allows them to explore their own sexual preferences.


Engaging in a sexual relationship with no prospect of getting emotionally attached gives people the opportunity to really figure out what they like. 


Let’s put it this way — if you’re in a relationship with someone you care about or maybe even love, and they suggest trying out something new, you’d probably agree. And, let’s say you end up with a pleasant experience under your belt. 


But did you like it because you were into it, or were you into it because you knew that the person you love was enjoying it?


Having sex with a random hookup makes separating the emotional from the physical easier. In a way, it’s a much more convenient and a bit self-centered way to figure out what you like.


Sexual Liberation and Experimenting

But that’s not all. The sexual liberation movement also has an essential component — accepting and embracing all sexualities and preferences. So, it’s only logical that the hookup culture also serves as a way for young people to figure out their own sexual orientation. 


Of course, exploring your sexuality is still a big deal. Deciding to try out something new is huge. So, it’s not something that happens lightly. But it’s not as groundbreaking as it was before.


The hookup culture makes it easier for young people to “give everything a try.” 


They can see what they like and dislike. What’s more, they can see if they are into one or multiple genders. In other words, they can experiment. 


The hookup culture takes the pressure off since there’s no emotional attachment. Furthermore, thanks to hookup apps and dating sites, it’s much easier to find someone (or multiple someones) to experiment with. 


Older generations, especially those who were sexually repressed, think that the hookup culture is responsible for there “being more gay people.”


But the truth is that it allows people to explore themselves in the open. It means there’s no need to hide anymore. 


If you explore, you can find out what you like. And, thanks to the fact that being anything other than straight is no longer such a big deal as before, it means that people don’t have to live in the closet.


Quarter-Life Crisis and Difficulties

More and more, we see the term quarter-life crisis everywhere. It’s the phenomenon that is quickly surpassing the age-old mid-life crisis. Unlike its counterpart, the quarter-life crisis doesn’t involve middle-aged men buying convertibles and marrying women half their age. 


Instead, it involves indulging in hookup culture (among other things). 


As they approach their mid-twenties, young adults leave their college campuses. They leave the known for the unknown. Many of them struggle with this transition. 


We live in a fast-paced, corporate world where nothing is certain. The economy is in a never-before-seen crisis, making it hard for young people to enjoy life. They struggle to make ends meet, build a life, and be content.


So what do they do? They engage in a bit of meaningless sexual activity. It’s their way of feeling happy and carefree, at least for a moment. Plus, it allows them to meet their needs without having to invest time and effort into a relationship.


Peer Pressure

Of course, there’s also the other side of the coin here. Since hookup culture is so prevalent in young adults, there’s also pressure to partake in it. 


Young people who see their peers party on college campuses and hook up with different people every other day might feel pressured to do the same. After all, they are at an impressionable age. And if they see their peers having sex on campus without rhyme or reason, what else are they supposed to think other than it’s the norm?

The Rise of Technology and Dating Apps

There’s a specific reason, other than sexual liberation that Gen Z is more prone to hooking up. It’s availability.


Thanks to modern technology and the rise of dating apps, young adults no longer have to go throug

h the traditional dance of meeting someone, dating them, and then having sex with them. Dating apps, and especially hookup apps, have turned sex into an easily accessible commodity.


Now more than ever, you can find someone who’s down to just about anything in a few minutes. That’s a far cry from finding prospective sexual partners ten or twenty years ago. Back then, it took ages (comparatively).


After All — Single People Are Everywhere

Since most young adults enjoy the hookup culture more than being in committed relationships, many of them are perpetually single. But that, of course, doesn’t mean they are partner-less. 


In fact, since most of them are single, hookup culture is more prevalent than ever. The more single people there are around you, the more likely it is that you’ll find someone to hook up with, right?


Overall, young adults are trying to make the best of their teens and twenties. So, it’s no wonder that they freely and readily engage in hookup culture. After all, they are at the age to explore, have fun, experiment, and try out new things. Hooking up lets them do all of that without any pressure.

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