I hear and read all the time that girls in their teens and 20’s regularly hook up with guys and it’s no big deal. These encounters are described as being casual, random, emotionally detached, and with no strings attached. But I have wondered if that’s really true.
Being a child of the 60’s and 70’s, I am no stranger to sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Since drug, cigarette, and alcohol usage and teen pregnancies all peaked in the 70’s, perhaps I need to tread lightly in these areas. So I went to the source, girls in these age ranges, to get the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
One of the things I found out is that the large majority of the girls today are almost always wasted or high when they hook up. Girls and women told me that they would not have done it if they hadn’t been drunk. When I ask them what that might tell them about the experience, there is an uncomfortable silence. They haven’t really thought about it in this way before.
Something else I have heard over and over again in retreat settings with girls in high school and college: most regret their first intercourse experience, and wish it had been different. It was usually a hook-up kind of experience. The other thing that girls tell me is that predictably after a hook-up, most guys stops calling them or paying attention to them unless they are partying and he wants some more fun in the sack. It seemed okay at the time, but in retrospect, they wish it had been with someone they really loved; someone they had been in a more intimate relationship with.
So even though it is 2013 and we are way past the sexual revolution days, I believe that sex still has emotional ties for girls. Most girls still want it to mean more than just a random, instantaneous discharge. All the more reason for them to get really clear about what they want before they ever go to a party or get into the proverbial backseat with a guy.
One of my camp counselors years ago told me an insightful story that might make sense of all of this hook-up business. She had been drunk at a party in high school, and a guy forced himself on her and they had sex. Like many girls, she never reported it, but carried a lot of pain with her about it. When she was in college, she dated a guy for 2 years before they decided together to have sex. What she told me next has never left me.
“I lost my virginity the night that guy raped me, but I decided to not let it ruin my life or relationships with guys. When I decided I was ready to have sex again, it was with my boyfriend, whom I was in love with. I am very clear that that was the first time I had made love, which is a really crucial distinction for me.”
Are hook-ups meaningless? After hearing from my girls, what do you think?