The “Price” of Sexual Freedom

Amelia Saad


July 28, 2023

Hookup culture is a lifestyle of unemotional and “no-strings-attached” sex that has become so pervasive and obligatory on college campuses that it is impossible to escape, especially at Tulane. While hookup culture may enable some forms of sexual freedom like fighting mononormativity, it does not equal sexual equity. Hookup culture is not feminist or liberating and sexual freedoms only exist in contrast to inequity for many ethnic minorities. Sexual imperatives and scripts characterize hookup culture and, if not followed, you can be hooking up “wrong” and subsequently ostracized. Participating in a wider community of hookup culture can also erase body sovereignty, our power to fully own and inhabit our bodies as we wish. It promotes an aggressively sex-positive culture where if you aren’t open to being hypersexual, then you are also ostracized. Hypersexuality can be just as damaging as things like mandated abstinence; neither extremes are good. On college campuses, and in the culture of today's hookups, sexual violence, and uneven pleasures are pervasive. In both cultural and sexual interactions, the penis continues to be overvalued and centered upon in bedrooms and media. In addition, the idealization and overvaluation of whiteness as a desirable trait for sex is a hallmark of hookup culture. All of these tendencies produce a market for hazardous sex that is socially and ethically unequal, tailored to a specific gender and background which is benefitting the most from hookup culture. This funneling of power and pleasure is the antithesis of sexual freedom for all.

Amelia Saad