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It was a Monday afternoon and Espresso Royale Cafe, a popular coffee shop full of Northeastern students, bustled, despite the dreary overcast. Maggie Kowalski, who graduated in December, was discussing her adventures and misadventures in dating, pausing infrequently to take quick sips of steamed tea. Kowalski said she knew she would graduate in a few weeks and move to Miami, where she had accepted and since began a job. While she admitted the prospect of leaving was difficult with a budding romance, she was content not to complicate her situation by pursuing a relationship.
The hook up culture is the latest trend to define the romantic relationship landscape. For most people, the rules of formal dating have changed. The custom of dinner and a movie has largely been reduced to meeting someone, commonly under the influence of alcohol, and engaging in anything from making out to sex, experts say, and often without the expectation of it progressing to a relationship.
Kowalski is aware of this culture because she said she is a part of it. The key word is casual, a word hardly associated with marriage. Because of the more casual dating scene, men and women are less inclined to experience commitment and intimacy that will better prepare them for marriage, experts who research the topic say. Hooking up, or no-strings attached intimacy, not only hinders the preparation for marriage, but could have a devastating effect on the amount of successful marriages in the future, studies show.
With relationships cast in the backdrop it is easy to wonder if marriage is even on the romantic stage. But in Espresso Royale Cafe there are couples seated across from one another, holding hands and talking. Other women laugh over steaming mugs of tea. The hook up culture began to shape the social landscape during the sexual revolution of the s and s when more men and women began to attend colleges and live together on campus. Factors like text messages, the invention of birth control, the popularity of alcohol and the rise of career-driven men and women have contributed to the frequency of more casual romantic relationships, Bogle said.
With careers ablaze on the front burner, Bogle said the latest data reveal that both, men and women, on average, are getting married at a later age. Currently, women are getting married at 26 and men are getting married at an average age of 28, a slight rise fromin which women married at an average of Since the poll was taken, both men and women have delayed marriage over the years.
Inwomen and men married at an average age of At Pepperdine, a university religiously affiliated with the Church of Christ, Christian values are heavily instilled in the student body, Scott-Lowe said. Without the obligation of a serious commitment, hooking up provides an ideal dating option for people, especially those who are interested in meeting partners but lack the time. Data was collected during two fall semesters in and College student samples revealed that 70 percent of students reported engaging in sexual relations with partners they did not deem romantic.
Deborah Welsh, the author of the study and professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, said while there has not been data to prove hooking up is a new movement, the lack of studies conducted in the past about casual sex may be indicative of the rising trend. The consequences Far removed from a rowdy apartment overwhelmed with Solo cups of beer, Kim Landry sat quietly at Starbucks, doing her homework and eating a salad as Norah Jones softly croons love songs in the background. She described the typical party scene. Landry, a sophomore business major at, said she does not frequent the hook-up culture scene.
With more than colleges and universities in and around Boston, the dating scene is vibrant and accessible. Last year, Forbes. And while Boston is home to thousands of college students, many of whom are single, the dating scene is hard to judge, he said. But do young men and women learn the same kind of love and intimacy found in marriages by hooking up? Sex releases the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates a caring instinct, apparently more in women than men. Being mindful of the fact that hooking up is not necessarily ample preparation for marriage is critical in drawing the line between the two, she said.
Her practical view of college, she said, is as a time for experimentation which runs parallel with the idea that the focus of college is not necessarily marriage but career. Kowalski said she uses her experiences from hooking up to her advantage, capitalizing on the next relationship by building off the .
Kowalski, similar to many college students, said she understands that being in a relationship is hard. Both are things college students often find in short supply. As people become increasingly immersed in mainstream culture and dependent upon technology, the necessity for formal relationships have seemingly lost their place. The advent of whirlwind schedules and extensive, virtual social networks have desensitized the hook-up culture, making it both normal and acceptable, Kowalski said. The collegiate life that has been responsible for spawning the hook up movement has reassessed values like marriage and commitment.
And although not completely lost, marriage has been pushed back and set aside for later years, experts say. Putting off marriage and serious relationships has produced a generation seemingly fearful of commitment, experts say. Making the jump from a hook up to a relationship suddenly places intense emphasis on the idea that relationships are more serious. Looking more closely at the hook up culture, the underlying and unifying desire for true intimacy, emotional connection and love are paramount.
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