by Samantha Lund, News Editor

Friday nights to our parents meant dates, flirting and drinking. For some of us, it means the same. But, in today’s competitive world where students need to market themselves, many students now find themselves in the library on a Friday night.

We have less time than ever before to focus on relationships and finding “the one,” so we have moved on. Young adults are now more empowered to make the choice to seek out sex with no strings attached after a long week of work.

Slut-shaming has always been a part of hookup culture. Young adults are told that casual sexual encounters lead to STI’s, rape and unhealthy views of relationships.

However, instead of telling women to keep their legs closed and teaching young adults that casual sex leads to various STI’s, I wonder why we don’t take the easier route and teach children to practice safe sex.

Hooking up is loosely defined as having sex without being in a committed relationship. Hookup culture does not depend on alcohol or drugs. Educated young women do not need alcohol or drugs to force them into sexual encounters – we are not the damsels in Disney movies.

Also, hooking up does not necessarily mean sex. Hooking up can just be considered making out. Sex does not always have to be a part of the equation.

The stigmas against hookup culture comes from three general places: adults shaming us, shaming one another and the media making each sexual encounter into a rape story.

Many adults in our lives have taken a note out of Coach Carr’s playbook, which he so eloquently stated in “Mean Girls,”

“At this age, you’re going to have a lot of urges. You’re going to want to take off your clothes and touch each other. But if you do touch each other, you will get Chlamydia…and die.”

Following this idea, if we eat candy all of our teeth will get cavities and will fall out. Yes, having sex can lead to STI’s just like candy leads to cavities. Instead of teaching kids to never eat sugar, we teach them to brush their teeth twice a day and practice safe sugar eating. Practicing safe sex is no different.

Peer shaming ostracizes men and women who choose to have sex without monogamy. Girls who have casual sex are sluts and men are players, but there are so many other labels they fit into.

Peer labels are slowly going out of fashion. Calling things “so gay” is no longer acceptable and calling a girl a slut is the same – it is a sexual stigma. Let’s drop the labels and embrace who we are beyond that.

The media portrays hookups as horny teens looking to fill their pleasures in dumb, drunken ways or girls being peer- pressured to go home with a guy after one- too-many drinks.

In reality, if we let women empower themselves sexually, they will not need to get drunk to claim that as their excuse for having sex.

If casual sex is no longer taboo, open and honest conversations about practicing safe sex are more likely.

Rape is a very serious and real threat not to be taken lightly. It seems that colleges are known for having Friday night parties turn into students being too drunk to consent and being raped. I cannot stress this next point more clearly: instead of shaming women for drinking or choosing to partake in casual sex, teach young men not to rape.

It is not crazy to believe that students can partake in casual sex in a smart way, without drugs or peer pressure. Some young adults simply choose to focus on themselves rather than having to keep up with another person. Shaming them for that is what makes students think they need to be drunk to have casual sex.

It is offensive and demeaning to say that students need to get drunk to choose to have sex with one another. We are young. There is no reason to keep two consenting adults from practicing casual and safe sex with one another.

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