Thompson: Hookup culture has taken precedence over authentic relationships on college campuses

College is, without a doubt, the most foolish time of our lives. From consuming an unhealthy amount of caffeine and averaging six hours of sleep per night to partying with strangers and spending nights by the toilet, college kids give insanity a new definition. For some, high stress levels cause impaired judgment and caution is thrown to the wind when opportunities arise to blow off some steam.

Although stress relief can take many dangerous forms, I find our generation’s hookup culture to be one of the most damaging byproducts of reckless behavior—and new technology continues to make the problem worse. What began as sexting has since evolved with Snapchat, Hot or Not, and Tinder, all of which have completely eliminated the need for social interaction as a prerequisite to physical intimacy. Now, a meaningless hookup is literally a “snap” away—and the worst part is, that is good enough for some people.

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Whether for fear of commitment or a heedless desire for the unfamiliar, hooking up has for the most part replaced relationships as the norm among college kids. Crushes, flirting, and dates are steadily becoming a thing of the past, as technology makes it easier and more acceptable to skip these steps. In a culture that is driven by convenience and artificiality, this trend is only fitting; young people are collectively losing respect for themselves and each other because it is seldom required to achieve an end result. In short, our standards have plummeted.

I know I am in the minority so this may sound cynical, but I simply cannot appreciate a lifestyle consisting of one-night stands with strangers off the internet and weekend hookups in a frat house basement—and that goes for all genders. To me, it seems entirely unfulfilling and regrettable, not to mention extremely risky.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it’s fair to assume that people who don’t know each other on a first-name basis before hooking up most likely haven’t checked to make sure they won’t contract an STD. And on the off-chance that this conversation was had in the heat of the moment, it is also highly unlikely that enough trust had previously been established for the answer to be believable. This, along with the other dangers involved in hooking up with strangers, can be prevented by getting to know people before pursuing a physical relationship with them. Shocking, I know, but somehow the message seems to have been lost in all the chaos.

To many, this column will seem pretentious. Some might even accuse me of singling out particular groups of people or of shaming college kids for being sexually active—neither of which is the case. I will most likely get hate mail from people who disagree with my opinion. So to these people, let me reiterate:

From my experience and from the experiences of those I am close with, relationships have proven to be much more healthy and fulfilling than the emotionless hookups that are gaining normativity on college campuses. Yes, they are harder to find and yes, they require more work to maintain. But believe me; the extra effort is worth being with someone who values you as an individual, and not as an object. It’s time to stop merely taking what we can get.