Stereotypes are often wrong, but I have always found that there is a grain of truth in them all. There is a reason each stereotype was formed, even though there are always exceptions to the rules.
The stereotype of men in relationships is that they want to get laid without making a commitment. This may be true of some guys, but I think that this stereotype is changing. So many men that I have talked to are not necessarily looking for a serious pre-marriage relationship, but they do want a sense of commitment and monogamy before they hop into bed with someone.
There has been a new trend in Hollywood movies showing men who are not dating just for sex, where sex is secondary to the relationship. This trend is mirroring a movement in our culture.
Do men actually need the relationship more than women do? I think men have become frightened and insecure by how forward and independent women have become. Although they were fine seeing more than one woman and not staying faithful previously, when the tables are turned and women are doing the same thing it isn’t nearly as palatable to them.
There has been an incredible rise in the hook-up culture during our generation. Both men and women are putting school and career first and have deemed that they do not have time to invest emotionally in a relationship.
The problem I see with this culture is not the problem that our parents are touting. The generation before us thinks that we will be incapable of love and emotionally stagnant if we have sex outside of a committed relationship; I beg to differ, but I do agree that there is a serious problem with the hook-up culture.
The issue at hand is that hook-up sex is often not good sex at all. Being a busy college student who also works and has a life, I know the value of time and have no desire to waste mine on bad sex.
Laura Session Stepp approached this problem briefly in an interview on NPR about her book “How Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both.” One of her main interview subjects, referred to only as Alicia, said that more men have had sex with her than she with them. In other words, she was hooking up and not really getting into it or enjoying it at all. Alicia also said the best thing about missionary-style sex is that when you are on the bottom, you don’t have to do any work.
I found this heart-wrenching. Here was a woman who was giving her body up for someone else’s pleasure and getting nothing out of it. The whole idea behind hooking up and not pursuing a relationship is to satisfy the physical intimacy your body craves without being in a committed relationship, but it doesn’t appear to be working. If you still get nothing out of the sex, why bother?
Regular sex is better sex than a one-night stand. If you are in a monogamous, committed relationship, regardless of how serious it is, you begin to feel more comfortable demanding what you really want in bed. When your partner knows you better, it is amazing the difference it makes when you make love. Being able to relax a little about STDs and other risks of sexually promiscuous behavior is another huge burden off your back. If you know you are currently the only one sharing a bed (or conference-room table or floor) with your partner, it can make your sexual encounters much more pleasurable.
There was a situation once where a girl dated a guy for quite some time without ever being exclusive. They ended up going their separate ways because she assumed he was not interested in her as more than a friend after he went limp on her once and then never tried to have sex with her again. He later told a friend that he has problems maintaining an erection if he is not in an exclusive and committed relationship.
This came as a surprise for this particular young woman, who was under the impression that men wanted sex with no strings attached.
Now that this culture of hook-ups is an equal-opportunity employer with both men and women partaking in it in similar fashions, we are seeing it change. I think that this could be a very positive change; I am not an advocate of old-fashioned relationships, but I do think that in order to have the best possible sex life, your best chance is with one main squeeze.