Sometimes a fling can feel more like the real thing. Everyone has physical urges and should be able to act on them in a safe environment. If on a midnight tryst, you found you’ve caught feelings for your casual hookup, you may be wondering if your relationship could be something more. You’re certainly not alone in mulling over the question of taking your relationship to the next level. Your partner might even be wondering the same thing.
Can your hookup transform into a meaningful relationship? Thankfully, hookup culture is starting to garner attention and researchers are taking it more seriously. Here are a few experts’ and psychologists’ thoughts on the matter.
“Hookup culture” is the new norm.
According to a study conducted in 2010 and written about in Psychology Today, “the majority of college students (65-80 percent) have hooked up in their lifetimes, and emerging adults have reported nearly two times as many recent hookup partners as first dates.” If you find yourself part of the hookup culture, you’re simply sharing in the zeitgeist, no matter what your parents or grandparents say.
Physical compatibility has become more important to partners as sex gets “safer” and the stigma surrounding intercourse before marriage minimizes. Who doesn’t want to know if you’re sexually complimentary with the person you could end up spending the rest of your life with? Although there are probably many reasons that the divorce rate is down—contrary to the misconception you may have heard from your friends—it certainly doesn’t hurt that people are considering more options before making a full commitment.
Honoring your agreement.
Some hookups are more nebulous. For example, you met someone at a party, had a nice time, and now you’re not really sure where you stand. You’ll probably hook up again, but whether or not that person is looking for a romantic relationship is going to have to be a real conversation. On the flip side of that, there are apps now that are specifically for “no strings attached” hookups.
Sometimes a random hookup is exactly what you need. You don’t want to be with anyone you know, so you can avoid any potentially awkward situations. LocalSexApp allows you to easily find other people looking for a one-night stand. The people who use this app are discrete and really just looking for something very casual. It uses your location to show you who you can match with, so you don’t have to go out of your way to find someone who’s also just looking to have a good time. This is a convenient and efficient way to have a little human contact.
If you’ve developed feelings from an encounter like this, you may need to start seeing someone else. It might be that casual hookup culture just isn’t for you. When using an app specifically for “no strings attached” intimacy, you probably shouldn’t hold out hope that it can be anything more. You can always ask to see that person outside of this situation, but if they turn you down, you should honor your casual agreement.
Here’s the good news.
All hope isn’t lost, chivalry isn’t totally dead, and there can still be romance in hookup culture. According to a study lead by Dr. Sarah Whitton,12 percent of couples—that had hooked up first—were in established, romantic relationships. This means a hookup can lead to a meaningful relationship. It’s important to be open with your partner about what you want upfront and honest if that feeling ever changes. It can be hard to be open and vulnerable, but it can be worth your while in the long term.
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