November 20, 2012

A basic tenet of (male) human psychology seems to be misunderstood here…

Filed under: Humour, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:39

Emily Esfahani Smith on “hook-up culture”:

The good news is that Sex Week is only around every two years. In 2008, the Harvard Crimson quipped: “Sex at Harvard is a year-round activity. At Yale, it lasts a week.” It’s a funny line, but not exactly true, which brings up the bad news: There is another part of the social-sexual landscape of Yale and other schools that is more lasting and endemic: the hook-up culture. In the hook-up culture, which is primarily driven by women, college students prefer to have sex with “no strings attached” — that is, they seek to have meaningless, casual sex outside of the context of a relationship. Some women consider this “empowering,” as Harden finds out by eavesdropping on a conversation between two female students, one of whom has this to say about her hook-up conquests, who are football players on campus: “If you go up to them at a party and just get them drinking, and start dancing with them, and kissing them, they will totally end up sleeping with you. They don’t even know they’re being played. They have no clue.”

Cue reality: “Could it be possible,” Harden writes, “That these girls don’t understand a fundamental fact about the human male? You normally don’t have to trick a man into having sex.” Young women today, influenced by Sex Week-style programming, have lost track of how the sexual marketplace really works.


  1. That’s funny lolquote at the end, but that article never quite gets around to stating why we readers should be in a New Criterion-esque state of high dudgeon over greater societal acceptance of casual sexual activity.

    I like to consider myself a reactionary, and enjoy reflexive paternalism as much as the next guy… but I prefer that my paternalisms be quantified and justified. Millenia ago, human civilization (and religion) put a high value on virginity. In a time when contraception and disease prevention was impossible, and women were essentially nonentities from a legal/dynastic/inheritance perspective, protecting the one valuable thing every woman is born with makes sense. Suddenly those liabilities with two X chromosomes get added value and aren’t just a drain on the family net worth.

    But I’m a little lost as to why women in the 21st century should continue to regard virginity as a commodity (i.e. “gift”) to be surrendered only to Mr. Right. They have equal standing under the law, they have property rights and rights of inheritance. Contraception is readily available, you can get medical assistance to kill your baby before it is born, and many STIs are preventable and treatable. Relatively few men in the First World will refuse to marry non-virgins. There’s no compelling socioeconomic reason to maintain the commodity model of virginity (which is probably why it’s coming apart at the seams now). If women themselves don’t regard virtue as commodity to be hoarded, then I’m not sure why we should be aghast.

    If it’s because women have a different innate attitude toward sex, well then this whole hook-up thing is going to sort itself out without anyone having to stand athwart the vibrating bed of History, yelling stop.

    I’m not arguing for promiscuity either, but I don’t see how NC is making a coherent case against hook-ups.

    Comment by Chris Taylor — November 20, 2012 @ 15:09

  2. The theory that the whole “virginity matters” meme was what was holding women back from full equality with men wouldn’t pass the laugh test … except among academic women, apparently.

    That a larger number of young women today are engaged in the sort of sexual exploits that only the well-heeled or athletically gifted Alpha males of past generations would have the opportunity to experience is … ?empowering? … for at least some of those women. I guess.

    It’s perhaps only a coincidence that all these sexually aware/sexually active young women all seem to be attempting to bed exactly the same sort of Alpha male as past generations. So this just adds to the number of available young women for the same group of privileged young men to have sex with? I’m perhaps just too dense to see how this is “empowering”.

    Comment by Nicholas — November 21, 2012 @ 11:45

  3. The anthropologist Dr. Flea could probably add better value here than me. I’m just pleased to live in an age where women can exercise the choice to be sexually active and not have that choice turned into a lifelong social stigma. Quibbling over their attraction to traditional archetypes is too fine a net for me. =)

    Comment by Chris Taylor — November 21, 2012 @ 20:33

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