Just last night I listened to a podcast about the culture of hook-ups. What exactly does it mean to hook-up? According to author Peggy Ornstein, the real change in the culture of college aged people is that they frequently have sex first, then relationships. The “hook-up” , “… can mean anything really. It can mean kissing. It can mean intercourse. It can mean any other form of, you know, sexual interplay. It really is a non-phrase. But what the hook-up culture means – I mean, kids did not invent casual sex – right? But what has changed is the idea that casual sex is the pathway to a relationship, that sex is a precursor rather than a function of intimacy and affection.”
I am concerned with this cultural change for high school and college students particularly because of its direct attachment to alcohol consumption. I am worried about our girls and the continuing problem of mother’s not educating their daughters about pleasure. I think our female culture needs a giant shift where we become less fear-based when it comes to teen sexuality and actually meet teens where they are and inspire sexual self-confidence instead of sexual fear. With confidence, girls…women have the ability to make informed sexual choices that insure their needs being met.
So how do we, grown-up women, react to this. Well I think the positive side of this cultural change is that casual sex is an available choice. The best part is when casual sex turns into “friend sex” . There’s nothing better than having sex with someone you can talk to, laugh with and trust. How do we keep it casual? Make sure both of you know the deal. Agreement is key. And also, if one partner feels like they want to move the relationship into the monogamous realm, you really need to speak up…immediately. Sharing feelings is bringing your honest self to the bedroom. Accepting your partner’s honest self should build you up, not break your heart.
By the way…this is not easy. Everything about our hormones tells us that we want to spend more time with somebody who makes us feel good. Consider this carefully. Being honest with yourself is sometimes the most difficult part. There is real work involved in friend sex. You’ll need to check in with each other’s emotions frequently. When it works, both partners grow and learn and become better people from the connection.
I highly recommend reading Peggy Ornstein’s book, Girls and Sex , especially if you have teen girls in your life. For more information about honesty in relationships, check out Reid Mihalko, The Sex Geek.
One of very favorite discoveries as a 40-something, new-ishly single woman is the idea of finding and cultivating a lover. A lot of times when people speak of a lover, they are talking about someone outside of a marriage or a committed relationship. I am divorced, so for me taking a lover means I have someone who I sleep with, who I trust, who I share intimacy with but yet it’s not a committed relationship or leading to any kind of committed relationship.
It can be described as Friends with Benefits, and sometimes I have those relationships too, but a lover is more than a friend that I fuck. A lover is someone who I can share things with. Things that are important to me. We share goals. We share dreams. We might go away for the weekend together. We go out to dinner. It can be romantic. Sometimes we stare into each others’ eyes and sleep entangled in each others’ arms. If I fall sick, he would be there to bring me some soup. I would do the same. He is a friend. He does care. There is an investment in the other person.
Having a lover is the perfect balance for me. It’s amazing to have a friend who also gives you amazing orgasms. It’s amazing to have a friend who makes you feel safe. It’s amazing to be in a relationship with someone where the past and the future don’t matter. It’s beautiful.
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