Could Gen Y’s “hook-up culture” actually be a good thing for women’s lives? Yes, according to Erica Grossman, who recently shared on HuffingtonPost that she supports our current hook-up culture (i.e. “the emerging trend in which young singles engage in consensual sexual encounters out of the confines of a committed relationship”) because they actually give women more options in terms of how we choose to live our lives.
As we learned from The Gaggle (Vixely’s favorite, new dating book!), in a world where “everything and nothing is a date” among a multitude of men friends, women’s greater choices today when it comes to our romantic prospects can actually be empowering. As Grossman writes:
It’s not just that body-buddies can be fun…but based on my own experience, this new sexual paradigm has given women the freedom to focus on their own lives and careers rather than simply finding a comfortable relationship.
Many women agree. In her new book, The End of Men and the Rise of Women, Atlantic magazine correspondent Hanna Rosin defends the hookup culture as an “engine of female progress” and “one being harnessed and driven by women themselves.” Rosin goes on to argue that the freedom underlying this culture demonstrates, yet again, that what’s actually good for women is the same thing that’s good for any group trying to attain equal footing in a culture hobbled by inequality: choice.
Grossman goes on to explain that real women vary in terms of what they want when it comes to intimacy, and that our sense of what is “normal” now runs the gamut:
I know women who have betrayed themselves by pretending that sex means nothing to them. I know women who have betrayed themselves by pretending that sex means everything to them. I have sat around a table of professional women, all of whom spoke about engaging in sexual “threesomes” with such off-the-cuff nonchalance that you’d think they were talking about going to yoga class.
Grossman goes on to explain that arguments against women partaking in sexual encounters outside of committed relationships ignores the simple fact that women, like men, enjoy sex. (It can be a vicious cycle for women, first faking that you don’t want sex, then faking that you like it once you do have it, even if it wasn’t good—which 60% of women do.) Also, in a society that has ardently fought for greater gender equality, have we not moved past using women’s chastity basically as a bartering mechanism? Grossman agrees:
…to generalize the hookup culture as somehow strategically flawed for women — to claim that it plays into the outdated mantra that “you’ll never get a man to buy the cow if you give the milk away for free” — ignores the fact that many women, just like men, enjoy having sex. Period.
What’s worse, this [anti-hook-up culture] misguided mindset also teaches girls that the only thing of importance that they can offer a man is between their legs, and so they’d better be careful about permitting a guy to cross that sexual Rubicon. How foolish is that? As the always spot-on Bill Maher once commented, withholding sex simply for the sake of withholding sex sends the message: “I have nothing else that could possibly interest you, so I have to embargo my vagina.”
Grossman neither advocates women engaging in “reckless” sexual encounters, nor women feeling pressure hook-up when they don’t want to. As she concludes, at the heart of women’s liberation and empowerment is freedom of choice and the equal right to pursue what we want as women:
Surely, I am not advocating that all women have sex without attachment, or proposing that young women everywhere attend orgies (unless they want to). Nor am I condoning the reckless, immature kind of sex that all too often features too much alcohol…
…I am saying that girls — and women — should be encouraged to feel completely comfortable going after what they want; to be given the freedom to discover their authentic selves; to start doing what feels right and stop doing what feels awful. Because, in the end, equality is all about making our own decisions.
We couldn’t agree more.