Hook Up Culture - What you Need to Know

The Hook Up Culture: What You Absolutely Need to Know

A Serious Issue

The CDC has been issuing warnings for the past several years about the dramatic increase in the occurrence of STI (sexually transmitted infections) also known as STD (sexually transmitted diseases). More than 2 million cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis were reported, which is the highest number ever reported since tracking began in 1941. The majority of the new diagnoses are Chlamydia at 1.6 million, followed by Gonorrhea at 470,000, and primary and secondary cases of Syphilis at 28,000. While most can be cured with antibiotics, un-diagnosed or untreated cases “can have serious health consequences such as infertility, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased risk of HIV transmission.” (CDC, 2017).

Another concern is the development of antibiotic resistance, which could lead to inability to treat or cure certain infections. Gonorrhea infections have risen 67%, and there is a “growing threat of drug resistance to the last remaining Gonorrhea treatment.” The current treatment for Gonorrhea is a two-drug combination of Azithromycin & Ceftriaxone. According to the CDC, lab testing has confirmed the resistance to Azithromycin has increased from 1 percent of cases in 2013 to more than 4 percent of cases in 2017. The addition of Azithromycin to the prescribed treatment of Gonorrhea has been utilized to stall resistance to Ceftriaxone (USA Today, 2018). Public officials expect that a super-resistant strain will emerge in the United States. There has already been one case of super-resistance in the UK. (CDC, 2018).

The CDC recommends yearly testing for all sexually active women under the age of 25. The highest incidence of STIs is in sexually active individuals between the ages of 15-24 (CDC, 2018). The Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention has stated STIs “are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond.” (CDC, 2018).

Hooking Up. What Are The Consequences?

What has led to this growing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections? The current “hookup culture” has contributed to more individuals seeking sex without commitment. It is pervasive in our culture through movies, television, and song lyrics that sex can be casual and without repercussions. Most of today’s “young adults report some casual sexual experience.” Recent data indicates “between 60 percent and 80 percent of North American college students have had some sort of hook-up experience.” Seventy percent of adolescents aged 12 to 21 reported having had uncommitted sex within the last year (APA.org). Casual sex can be easily sought through many social websites or apps. The phrase “Netflix and chill” is synonymous with a casual sexual encounter (stdcheck.com).

Hookups are not without consequence. Even if the participants indicate positive feelings regarding the sexual encounter, over “half of the participants were not concerned about contracting sexually transmitted diseases from intercourse during a hookup, and most were unconcerned about contracting diseases” from oral sex as well. Compounding the disease risks include that only “46.6 percent reported using a condom.” (APA.org)

In addition to physical repercussions of casual sex, there can also be emotional consequences. Though many young adults report a positive experience following a hookup, there are still several who report regret or disappointment or confusion Mental health is also a concern and hook-up behavior has been associated with a variety of mental health issues, existing and otherwise. “Hookups can result in guilt and negative feelings.”  Women display “more negative reactions than men,” and identify “more emotional involvement in seemingly ‘low investment’ (i.e. uncommitted) sexual encounters than men.” Studies also indicate “more women than men hoped that a relationship would develop following a hookup.”
(All quotes in the above paragraph come from APA.org)

Uncommitted sex is “best understood as a biopsychosocial phenomenon.” Both pleasure and reproductive motives “may influence these sexual patterns.” A majority of both men and women are motivated to engage in hookups, but “often desire a more romantic relationship.” Sexual hookups “provide the allure of sex without strings attached.” However, with many emotional and physical repercussions to “uncommitted sex,” there may be more strings attached than most women and men might assume.
(All quotes in the above paragraph come from APA.org)


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Hooking up. It sounds innocent enough. But there are some serious consequences involved in this “innocent” idea. In fact, it really isn’t so innocent now, is it?

You need to take care of you . . . after all, no one else really will. And taking care of yourself means that you have the knowledge and education to make choices that are best for you. Best for your physical self. Best for your emotional self. Best for your current self. Best for your future self.

If you think you might be at risk for an STI/STD, you absolutely, positively have to get tested right away. This can be treated, but it shouldn’t be put off.

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