Despite cultural mythology, not all men just want to hook up with a bunch of random women.
By Habeeb Akande — Written on Jun 02, 2023
Photo: Vovatol / shutterstock
While many argue that hookup culture is detrimental to women, we rarely hear how it affects men.
Hookups are brief encounters between people who are not committed to each other. They can refer to a range of sexual encounters from kissing to intercourse and anything in-between.
“Hookup culture” refers to a culture that accepts and encourages casual sexual encounters. Casual sex is ingrained in Western culture, where it has become a normative practice, especially among college students.
Many of us have inherited negative messaging surrounding sex and masculinity. It’s a myth that men are emotionless and disconnected from sex. Men have emotions and desire a connection with a woman they trust, honor and respect.
We pretend that casual sex has no impact on us. In reality, frequent casual sex is more likely to desensitize us from love and commitment.
Men are not emotionless hookup artists
Our culture teaches us that men are emotionless womanizers. Always ready for sex. Apparently, this is what it means to be a “high-value man” nowadays. Movies and internet personalities promote men who seemingly find great pleasure in sleeping around without intimacy (a.k.a catching feelings). These expectations can lead to anxiety among young men in particular who are expected to always be ready to perform like a porn star.
Culturally speaking, having multiple women was always presented as something positive for men. It was a badge of honor and something I bought into for years. That being said, the thrill of the chase was exhilarating but it didn’t last for long. Casual sex became easy but boring. Playing around was fun but not fulfilling.
Whilst most men will eventually grow out of the “hooking up” stage, this hedonistic lifestyle can negatively impact guys long-term. Transactional sex that is void of intimacy and meaning is not liberating, it’s demeaning.
Here are five ways the hookup culture harms men
1. Undermining pair bonding
Promiscuity harms the ability of people to form pair bonds, as having many sexual partners will make a person less able to form a committed, monogamous relationship.
Casual sex leads to a decrease in the neurochemical production of oxytocin and interferes with what is called “pair bonding,” whereas sexual encounters with multiple partners rewire the brain.
The brain forms a new synaptic map. This pattern becomes the “new normal” for the individual. When and if the individual desires a long-term partner, the brain mapping will have to be overcome, making a permanent bond more difficult to achieve. In other words, casual sex can affect men’s ability to maintain a long-term relationship.
2. Inceasing the risk of STIs
Studies suggest that frequent sexual partners correlate with a higher transmission risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) due to sexual impulsivity and inconsistent condom use.
Although condoms are effective at preventing STI transmission, they are not full-proof. Protective sex does not prevent STIs such as herpes, genital warts, syphilis and mpox which can be spread from skin-to-skin contact.
Professor of sociology Paula England found that people often drink alcohol before hookups in her research of college students in America. When you’re drunk, you’re less likely to use a condom. This will increase STI risk.
3. Increasing the risk of unwanted pregnancy
Casual sex can lead to unwanted pregnancies — something most guys fear.
Navigating a pregnancy with someone you are not committed to can be a complicated affair.
A high number of sexual partners increases the unintended pregnancy risk. As a result, the associated costs and additional responsibilities that come with raising a child are a potential risk.
4. Increasing trust issues in relationships
Hookups can leave guys feeling detached from intimacy and relationships.
Neuroscience teaches us that sex is like super glue. Although it brings pleasure, it also creates a powerful emotional bond. When a couple has orgasmic sex, oxytocin is released in their brains, which promotes trust and bonding.
This means an emotional bond is being forged between the couple whether they are aware of it or not. When the hook-up ends, an emotional attachment is present, but a lasting commitment is not. Additionally, men who have intimate relations with women in relationships develop trust issues as they incorrectly think most women are unfaithful.
Casual-sex culture leaves young men feeling unfulfilled and confused about intimacy, writes Professor Donna Freitas, the author of The End of Sex. Freitas discovered that many college students were deeply unhappy with hookup culture despite having numerous sexual partners.
5. Risking honey traps and other types of violence
As men, we often lie to ourselves that sex is meaningless and without consequences.
One of the serious consequences of sleeping around is the potential harm that you may face from a male relative or partner of the woman/woman you are messing around with.
There are untold stories of men who have been physically attacked, beaten up, or even killed due to an affair or a honeytrap.
Be a man of integrity, have self-respect, and practice sexual discipline. It will save you from much harm.
More for You:
What Men Really Think About Small Breasts (As Told By VERY Honest Men)The 9 Sex Positions That Help You Fall In Love (Yes, Really!)30 Best Role Play Ideas Couples Should Try At Least Once3 Erotic Sex Positions That Make Women Orgasm
Habeeb Akande is a sex educator, YourTango Expert, and author of Kunyaza: The Secret to Female Pleasure. Habeeb runs intimacy workshops on sexual well-being and was featured in a BBC documentary exploring female sexual pleasure.