Newfangled Heterosexual Mating Habit Sounds Awfully Familiar

How many times has a straight guy come up to you and told you how lucky us gays have it when it comes to sex? While breeders have the whole “three-date rule” thing, gays have “Fuck now. Talk Later.” Now, like cosmos and pastels, the straight community is appropriating another good gay idea. NY Times columnist Charles M. Blow read a report last spring saying that more high school seniors never date than date frequently and came to the conclusion this weekend that “it’s all about the hook-up.” What else about the sex-lives of teenagers fascinates middle-aged journalists?

Well, Blow went to Kathleen Bogle, an expert in college students hooking up (ohmygod, I used to have that job, too!), whose written a book called “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.” Blow learns that:

“It turns out that everything is the opposite of what I remember. Under the old model, you dated a few times and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex. Under the new model, you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider going on a date.

I asked her to explain the pros and cons of this strange culture. According to her, the pros are that hooking up emphasizes group friendships over the one-pair model of dating, and, therefore, removes the negative stigma from those who can’t get a date. As she put it, “It used to be that if you couldn’t get a date, you were a loser.” Now, she said, you just hang out with your friends and hope that something happens.

The cons center on the issues of gender inequity. Girls get tired of hooking up because they want it to lead to a relationship (the guys don’t), and, as they get older, they start to realize that it’s not a good way to find a spouse. Also, there’s an increased likelihood of sexual assaults because hooking up is often fueled by alcohol.”

Throw in a Gaydar account (yay corporate sponsors!) and you have the sex lives of most of the gay guys I know. So, is the trend away from meet-cute dates part of the grand gay agenda? Not really. As some of the article’s commenters point out, the hook-up model works because teenagers are more likely to hang out in social groups of friends, where they get to know each other first before deciding to take the sexual plunge.

In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, today’s teenagers are having less sex and when they do, they’re having it with friends, not strangers. While gay men (and lesbians, too) have been forming extended ad-hoc social families for years (often because their real ones have rejected them), today’s teenagers, who grew up on social networking platforms like MySpace and Facebook, are focused on group friendships as well, hence the rise of the hook-up. And if they do happen to wind up seriously dating? Maybe the next thing the hets will discover is the meaning of “Lesbian Bed Death.”

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