The Daily Illini

Hookup culture pops up around University campus

By Mara Shapiro

“I’m for whatever anyone wants to do. As long as people are consenting and no one is getting hurt, I’m great with it,” Metcalf said.

According to Dr. Kami Kosenko, University alumna and sexual communications professor at North Carolina State University, hookup culture is a myth created by the media.

“Most studies conducted with college-age populations indicate that the majority of sex acts occur within the context of committed romantic relationships, and some indicate that the sex lives of college students today are quite similar to that of their parents and grandparents,” Kosenko wrote via email.

Kosenko, however, explained that no-strings-attached sex can appeal to students for many reasons.

“College is often a time of transition, and, for some, committed relationships might not make sense during a time of change,” she wrote. “Also, some might view casual sex as a sort of relationship-litmus test or a way of gauging someone’s potential for a committed partnership.”

Both Kosenko and Metcalf discuss the pros and cons of friends with benefits relationships.

“Friends-with-benefits relationships run the risk of one person becoming attached while the other does not. Another con is the risk of damaging the friendship. Finally, research suggests that these relationships have a low likelihood of advancing to a long-term relationship. So, if that’s what someone is looking for, then they should try to start a relationship in another manner,” Kosenko wrote.

Metcalf thinks friends with benefits can create emotional consequences.

“I don’t think I could ever have a stable friendship where I am having sex with my friend. Part of hookup culture is not having to worry about emotional consequences. Friendships are already emotional investments, so if you pursue a sexual relationship, you could make things more complicated. There could be unclear expectations and communication,” Metcalf said.

Kosenko said that casual sex, in general, comes with risks.

“Any unprotected sex act can be risky, and casual sexual relationships run the risk of having one person develop feelings while the other person remains emotionally unattached,” she wrote.

Metcalf thinks that people can get caught up in the thrill of non-commitment and forget to be safe.

“There’s nothing wrong with having sex with a million people if you choose. But people can become too comfortable and content and forget they need to take care of themselves,” Metcalf said.

Kimberly Rice, sexual health educator at McKinely Health Center, explains the health risks associated with casual sexual encounters.

“Exposure to sexually transmitted diseases is a possibility for those who are sexually active. If students choose to be sexually active, we recommend they talk to their partners about STDs and using protection. We also recommend that students take advantage of the services provided at McKinley like STD testing and over the counter supplies such as condoms,” Rice wrote via email.

Metcalf believes that hookup culture can be a popular choice for college students due to convenience.

“I think it’s popular because it’s easy, and at our age, it’s very easy to only engage with someone on a basic and surface level, especially for someone who has no interest in a serious, committed or monogamous relationship,” she said.

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