When Alia Bhatt danced to the song, “hook up tu kar le na”, many of us suffered from a mild cultural shock, considering that hook up was a word, that was, until now, only a discussion in dating app chat rooms and was suddenly being thrown around so openly. And, it was surely embarrassing when parents, relatives or those living in the previous century, turned to us to understand what hook up exactly meant! Simply put, hook up, is used to describe a sexual encounter, without any strings attached. Yeah, try explaining that to the seniors in your home! But then again, for the millennials, the idea of hook up is not new, in fact, we are the ones who curated this culture of hooking up with people for sex, without involving any complex emotions and commitment in this equation. Simply put, hook up is an open platform for the youth, where they can give vent to their pent-up sexual energy, without any strings attached. But, how do we explain this to a gender normative and patriarchal society, what exactly -- hook up culture means?
The Millennial Point of View
The youth, have clarified time and again, that they want independence to figure out their sexual orientation in their own time. But in a society that refuses to bend its archaic ways, even to make way for sexual education, hook up is not pleasant. However, for the millennials, it is the other way around and hook ups have made their life easier. For a generation that is caught up in work, pulling long night shifts, hook up culture helps connect with people briefly, before going back to the daily struggle. They are brief, like a one-night stand and a couple of hours and that ensures no courtesies are exchanged or pleasantries offered, just get the work done and get out. Many people have found hook ups helpful. One can say it’s the cowards’ way out, but when one is looking for simple things, hook ups come as a saving grace.
Casual sex or any non-committal sexual encounter, between two consenting individuals is not something that we need to roll our eyes at. Hook up culture doesn’t necessarily have to be perceived as the youth being lazy or too chicken to agree to any kind of efforts necessary to build a relationship. The idea is to help people associate with their sexuality and promote notions of sexual liberation, body positivity and sex positivity. It has given people the freedom to choose, understand and experiment with themselves, without putting pressure on another person. Normalization of sex is one area, where hook up culture has helped us, by becoming more open about physical intimacy and sexual diversity. However, it has also opened a Pandora’s box of sex, that up until now, was only a word used in hushed tones behind closed doors and given room to a lot of people to shape their personal relationship with it.
Is Romance Dead?
A valid argument can be made against the hook up culture is that it kills romance and all its allies like trust, heartbreak and commitment. But, in a culture where we barely let young adults experience sex and simply marry them off with the rarest idea of the task ahead, hook ups have been an aid to them. It is surely causing problems to people who are on dating apps and websites in search of an honest relationship, since instead of honest, pure relationships, they find people looking for a quickie. It becomes especially problematic when one develops feelings for one’s hook up partner. Some women have also faced sexual assault from a back previous hook up commitment gone wrong. Owing to all these reasons, one tends to think about what will happen to those who still desire chocolate and flowers romance? Hook ups are casual. Meaning you may or may not meet the person again. Caution to the wind needs to be thrown while you are entering the hook up culture. But if hook up culture helps to break the stigma around sex and sexual pleasure, it’s better in the long run.
And as for a whirlwind romance, you may have to go looking for that a little further, but worry not, because after all, what is life without love?