I hate to burst your bubble or sound like your grandmother, but the easy hook-up culture has "low self-esteem" written all over it. And it's hurting you, your future spouse and the success of your potential marriage- whether you realize it or not.
The scene: a dimly lit, noisy bar. Two beacons in the night... each sending out signals of "make me feel attractive" and "I'll take anyone who shows interest in me"... find their way to one another. The night's previous beverages have provided them each a handy set of "beer goggles." Introductions are slurred and barely heard over the DJ's request to get your booty to the dance floor. Who needs last names anyway?
Both check their phones for new matches. Nope: swipe left. What's in front of me will do. Back to the intellectual mating call: playfully ordering a Buttery Nipple and a Red Headed Slut. And so goes the night.
Oh, be still my heart! This sounds just like a Nicholas Sparks novel. The stuff solid, life-long marriages are made of. Where are my tissues?
Ah, but I digress.
Popular culture makes it seem like there is nothing more romantic - or normal- than when two desperate-for- uh, "love" single (or more accurately, presumably but not always "single") people happily collide over a googly-eyed love song, fueled by generous quantities of alcohol. Followed by easy sex. And no consequences. And happily ever after. Or, not. Sometimes happily-on-to-the-next.
This makes for good ticket sales but not for good reality. Reality is a hung-over "oh crap" followed by an STD test, potential pregnancy scare, possible child support, and/or a sorely damaged ego when Prince or Princess Charming mysteriously disappears in an age-old act that is now technologically assisted and called ghosting.
The easy pick-up may act like a ghost, but the consequences to sense of self don't. The reality of knowing that we were sloppily used and unceremoniously tossed aside like a dirty rag is a brutal truth in today's wet-n-ready society. The more painful truth is that we were willing participants in this act of self-degradation. Okay, I don't sound like your grandmother anymore. But the truth hurts and I'm not going to serve it to you with a cookie and a glass of a milk. And the sooner we all accept it, the sooner we can get back to actually respecting the act of physical intimacy, our own bodies and the bodies of others. Plus, I'm lactose intolerant.
This isn't simply a moral stance here. Although that aspect is completely valid, this easy hookup thing has become a twisted cultural phenomenon. Sadly, we are damaging ourselves psychologically through our so-called use of freedom. In psychology world, its called cognitive dissonance- when our values or goals are in stark contrast to our behaviors. And we can only live like that for so long before it takes a serious emotional toll. How can I say that I am special, or that the act of sex is actually "making love" when I've given myself to half the people in town? How can I expect a partner to work at having a solid long-term relationship with me when all it took to get me was thirty minutes and price of a drink?
We crave connection, closeness, and that one special person to love and cherish us "till death do us part," but we toss our junk to whomever is willing at the moment. We set standards in our minds for a future monogamous relationship, all while building the foundation for polygamy, serial cheating, pornography addiction and divorce. We say we want Rodeo Drive, but we're putting ourselves on the dime store rack, marked down at half price- while digging in the Goodwill reject pile for a good find.
Not only are we subconsciously telling ourselves that we belong in the bargain bin, we are participating in creating this mentality in others. Using and being used. Actively dirtying something that is supposed to be clean. It's like sticking your toothbrush in the toilet before brushing your teeth.
You Are Not Community Property
Here's the thing, if you want to save yourself some heartache and the cost of therapy, keep it in your pants or keep your knees closed. Cheapening your body and the act of physical intimacy for a quick thrill or a temporary ego boost only causes more damage in the long run. We cannot carry on thinking, believing and acting as if we (or other people) are nothing more than usable, disposable, replaceable body parts without damaging our own sense of self-worth and future relationships in the process.
Remember, private parts aren't private once they have become community property. Let the rest of the world slop their stuff around. As for you, set a higher standard for yourself and for the person who will be in most of your wedding photos. Maybe refusing to participate in hookup culture will not only build your self-esteem, but will lead you to that right other person- the one who has also decided that you are worth the wait.
It's okay to be different, my friends. Sometimes different is better, - M
photo credit: pixabay
The Motley Ms.
Hi! My name is Melinda. I'm a saved-by-grace-er, lifelong learner, INFJ, health & fitness trynabe, Mom, #vanlifer, mental health vlogger, and Director & Clinical Supervisor at a Child & Family Therapy Practice in Northern California.
The Motley Ms
The Therapist's Therapy Blog