Why does an unanswered text message elicit so much angst? Why are we attracted to people we don’t even like? And why do we shrug off people who show an incessant interest in us? Because we do not want commitment, we want a scandal. We do not want to settle down, we want a chase and a casual hook-up.
After spending almost four years in college with a superfluous amount of nights spent Downtown, I have had time to observe the way sex on a college campus works, and it is simply inexplicable.
This fad is a recent trend that I believe will sadly make marriage, settling down and remaining loyal a very difficult process for our generation.
To what do we owe this phenomenon? I would firmly say the media.
New shows on television, such as “Betrayal,” “Mistresses” and “Scandal,” revolve around extramarital affairs and even portray them in a positive light. While watching these shows, we get caught up in the enthrallment of them and begin to view affairs as acts that are fun and exciting, rather than sinful.
In the 1950s, a married couple in bed together was still considered scandalous for television. In 1947, the television show “Mary Kay and Johnny” was the first to feature a couple — husband Johnny and wife Mary Kay — in bed together. We now regularly see explicit sex performed by people who are supposed to be in committed relationships with other people. American television has certainly come a long way in the bedroom.
In July 2012, Cosmopolitan magazine featured an article about what to do if you cheat on your husband or significant other. The advice given to women who had cheated was to keep it a secret and continue with the relationship as if nothing had happened.
I highly doubt our grandmothers would have passed that advice onto our mothers.
These shows and articles greatly influence the way we view our relationships, and the degree to which we hold them as sacred, in my opinion, is greatly decreasing. The television we choose to watch and the magazines we choose to read begin to infiltrate our college campuses. Instead of avidly looking for a relationship or a spouse to love and grow old with, we settle for a casual, meaningless hook-up.
We don’t want a steady relationship because we have been told that a scandal is more fun.
In July 2013, The New York Times published an article, “Sex on Campus — She Can Play That Game, Too,” about the hook-up culture at the University of Pennsylvania. The findings are applicable to most colleges in the United States. One student that was interviewed for the article told the Times that her group of friends was no longer searching for steady boyfriends, but for people they could routinely hook up with. The anonymous student described her ideal man as a “guy that we don’t actually really like his personality, but we think is really attractive and hot and good in bed.”
As fun and carefree as this mentality seems now, how will it affect us when it comes time to actually settle down?
The majority of us will not know how to compromise, how to make time for someone other than ourselves, how to genuinely care for another person’s pleasure and happiness or how to learn to appreciate someone else in his or her entirety. Those who have only experienced the casual hook-up don’t know how to make a relationship work. Our generation just gives up and moves onto the next one when things get tough — but that is not how relationships succeed.
The hook-up culture on our college campus makes us blind to the reality of marriage and, instead, lets us fall in love with the chase and the scandal.