Youngsters here do watch a lot of American sitcoms and movies, listen to music, and read books, which talk of casual sex in a nonchalant manner. And they do get influenced.
“American culture is open to sex and hook-ups, and it normalises it. Casual sex occurs in almost every show I watch,” says Rehan Tyagi, a student of Delhi Public School, whose favourite character is Barney Stinson, a casanova from the show How I Met Your Mother.
Gayatri Desai, a Business undergraduate from FLAME University adds, “Indians have been hooking up since ancient times, the only difference is, it’s more public now.” But since people are more comfortable with their sexuality and singularity, they are comfortable with openly hooking up now. “International exposure has helped us evolve sexually,” she adds.
Hooking up or engaging in casual sex has become convenient. The three main reasons for the spread of hook-up culture among millennials are:
EASE OF HOOK-UPS: Dr Devika Chopra, obstetrician and gynaecologist, says that the digital age has made hook-ups popular. “You can meet someone with the click of a button”.
And if not online, offline works as well. “At bars, clubs, parties and even weddings, there is great hook-up potential. You don’t even have to waste time in pleasantries,” says Tyagi.
SANS COMMITMENT: Casual sex implies no strings attached. “I enjoy my singularity, and love that I can get the physical benefits of a relationship without actually being in one,” says Firdaus Khan, a student at St Xavier’s College, Kolkata. “You don’t have to keep in touch with the person after you hook up with them, unless of course you want to hook up with them again,” she further adds.
SELF DISCOVERY: Believe it or not, but being with different people helps you discover yourself. “People are willing to be independent, explore their own personalities, figure out who they are. Part of self discovery is figuring out how you function with other people. Part of that is sexual exploration,” says Gauravi Lobo, a sexual educator, “for which you need not be committed to someone”.
Does it make you ‘loosely moralled’?
In our culture, there is indeed a lot of stigma attached to such a concept, and older generations tend to view it with extreme displeasure and judgement. But just because they think so, does that make you a person with questionable values?
“If you hook-up too much, you do get a certain reputation, and it’s worse if you’re a girl,” says Desai while Tyagi chimes in, “It’s sad but a guy who hooks up is considered cool, however, a girl who hooks up is called all sorts of demeaning names, which is very unfair.”
Khan believes that hook ups are not odd anymore. Says she, “In our generation, it’s acceptable and no one expects you to be a virgin till you’re married.”
Society should not judge you and your values, depending on your gender and sexual orientation. Sexuality and morality have no connection, believes Lobo. “‘Loosely moralled’ can be applied to those with no conscience like financial swindlers, bank robbers, murderers, rapists and so on. Hook-ups shouldn’t be used to label someone as loosely moralled,” adds Chopra.
Safety, safety, safety
When engaging in casual sex, be safe at all rimes. “Many youngsters don’t have safe sex and the use of i-pill as a method of regular contraception is not recommended,” says Chopra. When you hook up with someone, you might not know their name, but you definitely won’t know their sexual history. And this can be a big red flag. “I get patients who have consumed the i-pill and are relieved to find out they’re not pregnant, but when I ask to check for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) they’re horrified,” adds Chopra.
Getting an STD like herpes, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, etc can cause you a lot of pain. “I didn’t ever care about STDs and checking for them until I got one. They’re horrible,” adds Desai.
Lobo points out that one must also prepare themselves emotionally to be able to handle a hook-up. “It takes a while to get to know someone emotionally and sexually, so hook-ups can be mentally stressful,” says Lobo.
Know when to say ‘No’
Never at any point of time should you feel pressured or forced by anyone to hook up with them nor should you pressure anyone to hook up with you. Consent is the most important thing in such situations. “Even if you’re half way into it and want to stop, stop,” says Khan. “A girl may be giving you all the signals, but never force yourself on her. If she’s uncomfortable, just let her be. Taking advantage is the worst thing you can do,” says Tyagi. Even if you have a gut feeling, stick to it. Don’t ever feel pressured or obligated in any way to physically interact with someone if you don’t want to.
Hook-ups are not a big deal and engaging in them is entirely up to you. Your opinion should only matter, others should not judge you. But always remember to use protection, and consent is key.