Today’s teenagers and young adults are entrenched in the modern hook-up culture. At Trinity University in particular, this modern ‘lifestyle’ is particularly rampant. The university promotes sexting as part of healthy relationships. While this is great for the institution’s sense of relevance and relatability to its students, it also reveals a deeper, cultural problem.
In modern America, the culture of sexual promiscuity has been normalized, and is even encouraged. And yet, this emphasis on casual sex has ruined the romance in relationships, both in and out of pop-culture.
In popular culture, it is incredibly rare to find any ‘romantic’ relationship that does not involve sex. In almost every romantic comedy, the pair has sex. In most books with a romantic subplot, the couple has sex. In sitcoms, dramas, and comedies, couples have sex. If not explicitly mentioned, it is implied.
There are very few couples from twenty-first century media in which the couple doesn’t have intimate relations, except for books targeted at children. Even then, some books that claim to be targeted for children age 12+ (or at least are read by children who are that age) have explicit or implicit sexual content.. Cassandra Clare’s novels are full of sex and unhealthy romantic relationships, yet are marketed as Young Adult fictions for children ages 12-14. Tamoura Pierce’s fantasy novels, while enjoyable for an adult audience, are often marketed for children ages 12 and older, even though they deal with adult themes and sex as a subplot.
For recent generations, the line between love and lust is not simply blurred. There is no line.
Lust is mistaken for romantic love. Sex and intimacy have almost the same meaning. In fact, one of the first definitions of intimacy in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “engaging in sexual relations.”
Because the lines between love and sex have become so blurred, or even non-existent, romantic relationships have been drastically affected, especially on college campuses. According to one survey, 44% of respondents claimed to be in a serious relationship and to be having sex with their partner. In another survey conducted at Washington University in St. Louis, roughly three-quarters of the survey respondents had had sex. This is not true for all couples, of course, but it is the norm for many.
This mentality has ruined the romance for the modern college couple. People begin their relationships with the impersonality of dating apps like Tinder or at parties, and then often find it difficult to move beyond the initial, awkward phases of a relationship until the original spark and chemistry inevitably die out. While many people can find meaningful, healthy relationships through online apps such as Tinder, very few Tinder users actually go on dates, according to this survey where only 29.2% percent of Tinder uses admitted to meeting up face-to-face with their matches. In addition, only 4.16% users said that they used Tinder to find a relationship, as opposed to the 22% who stated hook-ups as their main motivation to use the app, and another 44% who stated that they use the app for a confidence boost. Dating is becoming less and less about finding a partner with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. Instead, it’s become a convenient means of “getting laid.” This is far more depressing than it is immoral. Dating is now a prettily-named term for hooking up with someone, and no longer the fun, mentally-stimulating and truly enjoyable experience that it can be. When the true reason a couple is together is merely for the sex and physical pleasures, then it’s bound to end eventually— and sooner, rather than later.