Dating in the world of hookups
“Hit it and Quit it!” It’s one of the dating cries of Generation Z– (also known as iGeneration or iGen and Post-Millennials) the people born between 2000 and present.
Having gotten this far into this newsletter means you have put forth much more effort into reading this than many people these days put into wooing their latest sexual partner.
One young man bragged that he could get a girl to come over and have sex with him within 10 minutes without even using words. When asked how, he replied, “Emoji’s.”
And it worked.
I am not a millennial. Waaaay not. I’m 50, so according to the Population Reference Bureau
that makes me a Generation X-er. So what am I doing researching this topic?
Not only have I been divorced and dating off and on for 5 years, I also have two teenagers, a daughter (13) and a son (15), and I’m seeing and hearing what’s out there for all age ranges in my practice and giving workshops.
Many people have never been taught how to date, I know I wasn’t (what I was taught is sadly predictable–how to make sure the guy had a good evening! But that’s another blog post all to its own!), so choosing a partner was more or less a gamble or a crapshoot.
I wanted to better understand how to help myself, my children and other folks prepare for the dating world, and ultimately choosing a partner.
I’m also presenting a workshop this month in Dallas at the ASGPP– American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama on this very topic: “Sociodrama and the Hook-Up Generation”
My research has led me to learn some fascinating things. Some have horrified me and shocked my sensibilities like
“Are you on Snapchat? You should add me. Dick pic for free!”
as a pickup line and others touched my heart and gave me hope like Sierra, a freshman in college who had been with her boyfriend for a year.
“I used to think the sexual stuff was how you got to the emotional connection,” she said. “But that’s not true. The emotional connection comes first. That’s what has made the sex so good.”
However, what I was really interested in was the research on whether or not indiscriminate, impersonal sexual encounters or “hookups” affected people negatively. And it turned out it can but it doesn’t always have to.
That’s according to the research. And I’m a fan of research, but remember those cigarette advertisements back during the time of the Baby Boomers that said 9 out of 10 doctors recommend smoking Virginia Slims?
And look how that turned out! I always wanted to meet with that 10th doctor who just wouldn’t acquiesce and high-five him for his scruples!
In my 20+ years in the psychotherapy field, I have found that whatever is lurking, simmering, marinating, 2, 3, 4 or even 5 layers into the unconscious doesn’t always show up in a Likert scale or even in a face-to-face interview.
It’s hard to reveal something one hasn’t even discovered he or she feels!
I’m not sure how long it will take before we truly understand the impact of people being released from emotional responsibility for their partner to acknowledge straight-up lust instead.
But for women, according to Peggy Orenstein in her book Girls & Sex,
girls’ physical satisfaction in hookups tends to be secondary, an afterthought. Rather than being a product of intimacy, then, sex has become its precursor, or sometimes its replacement.
But this doesn’t match the other research from Debby Herbenick at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute that found that out of the 150 students in her human sexuality course three quarters of the boys and 80 % of the girls said they’d prefer a date to a hookup, and nearly 80 % of both sexes would like to be in a loving relationship within the next year.
Um, I’m pretty sure anyone starting off a relationship with a hookup and a “Hit it and Quit it” mentality is more than a year away from a loving relationship. And whether one is 50 or 18-years-old, deep down that’s really all most of us desire—to be truly seen, accepted and loved.