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Episode 14

Do you have positive, negative, or neutral associations with casual sex? What roles do these associations play in “hookup culture” and how can we positively influence the expectations of casual sex as well as outcomes of it?

In the second episode of our two-part interview with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, we debate both sides of hookup culture — both the good and the toxic ways in which it manifests itself — and how we can work to make casual sex more pleasurable and intimate for those who wish to engage in it.

Dr. Zhana Vrangalova is a researcher, sex educator, and adjunct professor at NYU.

What does “casual sex” mean to you? Does it have only one definition or are there different kinds? How does your brain — and your heart — react to it?   In the first episode of our two-part interview with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, we discuss “casual sex” — the very wide spectrum of how we define it, cultural differences in how we view it, and how self-esteem and dopamine play important roles.

Dr. Zhana Vrangalova is a researcher, sex educator, and adjunct professor at NYU.

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Sasza Lohrey

We kind of briefly touched on a couple of cultural differences, but I’m one wondering if there are any additional cultural differences that were found in the research, if there has even been any cross cultural research done. And then another follow up and kind of a bigger question is like subcultures of age, especially in the elderly populations where you know, there’s so much research about casual sex happening in retirement homes. And people generally have a stronger sense of self when they’re older. So is it that stronger sense of self that is kind of letting these people let loose and get their dopamine going in the way they’ve always been wanting to? Or what other? What other things might be at play?

Zhana Vrangalova 

Yeah. So with the age thing, it’s interesting, there are a number of different things going on at the same time. On one hand, you have people who are much more aware of who they are, what they want, they’ve been around the block, and have probably had some relationships already. And they’re more able to show up in those experiences from a position of autonomy and an authenticity to some extent. So it really depends on where is that 30, 40, 50, 70 year old person coming into casual sex from. If they’re coming to it after a lifetime of monogamy, right, where they never really had an experience of negotiating more casual interactions, they might be just as clueless and just as, you know, full of mistakes that as a 18 year old or a 17 year old who is just starting to have some some of these experiences. So, because it’s so new and you don’t know what you’re doing, and it’s very different from everything that you’ve experienced up to that point with your one long term partner, so there is that. There is also for the older population, we kind of started hearing about a lot of this casual sex that was happening in retirement homes and communities because sexually transmitted infections were going up like crazy. And that was an interesting kind of a cultural cohort effect that was happening because these older folks grew up in a time when there were no condoms, or nobody was really using them. The AIDS hadn’t happened to the world yet and all that, and now, they’re just not thinking about that they don’t think that they’re at risk. Pregnancy is no longer a concern and they think, oh, we’re at low risk for STIs. STIs really don’t care what age you are, as long as you are exposing yourself to the risk behaviors. The if you engaging in the risk behaviors that can lead to transmission, it’s going to happen and so we were seeing this rise in STIs among the older folks. So, you know, they’re those kinds of things, different factors, pulling some of these effects in different directions. And on one hand, the there’s no hookup culture, among older folks necessarily or kind of middle aged or even the people in their 30s post college. The hookup culture exists in colleges, where there’s kind of an expectation that people will go out on the weekends and they’ll get wasted. And they’ll hook up with someone and they’ll never going to talk to that person. Again, there’s this whole set of cultural scripts that college students have developed around hookup around hooking up that we now call hookup culture. And that might not exist so much among people who are out of college, because it’s also not such an insular environment that most people live in after college colleges are such their own little ecosystem that’s relatively closed off to the rest of the world. And so you can have these very clear, very specific scripts that develop whereas people might be a little more a little more individualistic around how they approach their casual sex experiences at 30, 40, 50, and so on. And so to some extent, they might feel more freedom to be more authentic, as opposed to having to follow this very specific script, which is not a very healthy script, people have a very negative view of hooking up because of the hookup culture that has developed around it, but hookups per se, hookups are not the problem. Even a hookup culture per se is not a problem. It’s a bad hookup culture. That’s a problem. What hookup culture is, is a given set of ideas about how hookups happen, and how they should happen. A set of scripts and whether that hookup culture is going to be a healthy and fulfilling and positive culture for the people who follow those rules. Depends on those rules. Are those good rules? Are they Bad, bad rules? What the problem right now in many of the colleges and the way that we think of hookup culture is that bad hookup culture has developed. And some of those scripts are things like, alcohol is heavily involved, everybody’s wasted. And we have that level of intoxication. All these other things that we talked about authenticity and autonomy and consent and pleasure being able to know and have a communication with your partner about what they like, what they don’t like, all of that goes out the window, and the more intoxicated you are and your partner is the the worst that is so so that’s a big piece of that script that harms the people who follow that script. In terms of their hookups, many of those scripts that make up hookup culture as it is are quite unhealthy, like no negotiation of consent whatsoever. Very often the way these hookups happen in college is when you’re dancing, someone comes up to you from behind, starts grinding on you, you’ve never even laid eyes.

Sasza Lohrey 

 I swear I don’t think anybody’s creepier on the dance floor than in the US. 

Zhana Vrangalova 

Yeah, I’ve never had that happen in Europe. 

Sasza Lohrey 

Then you’re looking at your friend and you’re like, Who’s that? Yeah, who is this person?. Do you want to save me? Should you save me? Save me.

Zhana Vrangalova 

And in fact, people will have pacts with their friends that when that happens when someone comes down behind, your friend is your mirror basically to tell you whether you want to keep dancing with that person or not. But I find that so repulsive.

Sasza Lohrey 

And that’s just an example of consent, at least for me has always been Why do we only tie to the bedroom? Why it’s the same it’s we you can’t really practice what you don’t preach in the sense of if we’re not practicing consent on the dance floor. Not saying like, you know, if you make eye contact with somebody, and there’s a clear consent there, but I have specifically noticed again in Latin America that I don’t think anybody danced with me once without in some way or another, verbal or non verbal, verbal asking permission. And it was such a relief. That’s just permission to know that they’re the creepy people lurking behind.  I mean, you still have a pact about if you need to get saved or not. That is just being so important.

Zhana Vrangalova 

Yeah, people think consent has to be verbal has to be like, no. Consent can be establishing mutual interest that doesn’t have to have any words exchanged, as you said, on the dance floor is something like eye contact and a smile. Extending an arm and you either take that arm or not, hands on. Yeah, exactly. And, but in the hookup culture as is, especially on college campuses, that is not part of the script. Part of the script is that it’s perfectly acceptable. In fact, it’s, it’s even desirable. There’s a great book on hookup culture on campuses, written by a sociologist Lisa Wade called American Hookup, in which she kind of goes through the script of what is hookup culture, and she did a lot of interviews with college students across America of how hookups play out. And even the women who would be the ones supposedly repulsed by this kind of behavior. They were saying that that’s how they expect guys to approach if a guy approached in any other way, then they would think that he’s not cool

Sasza Lohrey 

That is so backwards. Yeah. And that is why really the conversation around all these themes is something that needs to come from both sides, but really a conversation that verbal or non verbal needs to come from people knowing what their own rights and boundaries are and not just being accepting of the shitty behavior. I know, hookup culture and the unhealthy practices it has not just kind of settling for that or blindly seeing that as the only option but really trying to change it.

Zhana Vrangalova 

Right. But I think that happens when you have this sort of bad hookup culture. I’m gonna call it the bad hookup culture, the toxic culture. And people think that and people say, well, that’s the only way hookups can happen. That’s the only hookup culture that can possibly exist. If you have a culture in which people hook up a lot. It has to be like this. There’s no other way because hookups are the problem, as opposed to doing hookahs poorly being the problem. In fact, you can have a very different kind of hookup culture that has good scripts associated with how things should happen. And you can see that in the sex positive community. In polyamorous, kinky communities, sex party communities. Not all places obviously will have some of these but many of the big cities in America and elsewhere have at least the beginning of some sex positive culture. And when you go to some of these events, you have a hookup culture there, there’s plenty of hooking up going on, but they’re the scripts around how hookups should happen. are very different. The scripts are, you shouldn’t be overly intoxicated. In fact, if if you notice that someone is kind of too intoxicated, then you’re not going to take their word, even their consent, even explicit consent. You might take it with a grain of salt and maybe say maybe we’ll do this, you know, next time when you’re less less intoxicated, you really focus on making sure that there is mutual enthusiastic consent. You make sure this is another script that that exists in the toxic hookup culture that in heterosexual hookups, it’s really the male pleasure that matters. And if the woman has an orgasm or has a good time, that’s great. That’s a bonus. That’s not a requirement. Whereas in the in the sex positive hookup culture, everybody’s pleasure matters just as much and so everybody tries to be as invested as they can in each other’s pleasure. Another toxic script or script into toxic hookup culture is what we’re discussing earlier on. On how much passion and intimacy you’re going to put into your hookups, with the toxic hookup culture script being zero intimacy, the less intimacy the better- you want to be as detached as you possibly can. And that is countered in the sex positive hookup culture as the exact opposite. In fact, you put in as much passion and intimacy as you possibly can, in the toxic scripts. It’s no communication around anything, what you don’t like, you know, how do we make this better, communication before, communication afterwards. Whereas in the non toxic positive sex positive hookup culture, you have the script is you check in with your partner, you make sure that they’re on the same page, you’re not trying to manipulate them into something that they don’t want to do beforehand. You try to get as much information as you can from them about what is going to make them feel good during the encounter. And then after the encounter you check in with them. You Thank them for the experience, you make them feel good about it. And then you negotiate is there going to be something following that or not. But even if there isn’t, you try to wrap that up in a way that get, you know, leaves everybody feeling good about it, even if it wasn’t the most amazing sex because, again, it’s a gamble, you don’t know if it’s gonna be amazing. It might not be, but you don’t walk away feeling taken advantage of or disrespected. Whereas that’s such a common thing in the toxic hookup culture. And so I want us to not blame hookups for the negative consequences that people often experience from hooking up. It’s the toxic scripts that govern how we go about hookups that lead to those consequences. And we can replace them with these positive healthy scripts that are going to end up with everybody enjoying and, and having positive as opposed to negative outcomes.

Sasza Lohrey 

It was so interesting because as you were talking about that, I was thinking back on what you said about our desires, our values and our behavior. So often people think I need to change my desires, or I need to change my values. But really, where we need to start is by changing the behavior. You know, whether it’s it’s the, the way we were, are acting out these scripts that we’re following, but going back to what kind of that other side, I now realize that they’re different, we really do need to change the way we think, talk and act, because that’s what’s defining these scripts. And we need to change the script and really raise the bar so we stopped settling for the shitty script. Yes, so we stop living that shitty script. And know that we deserve better and know that better exists. Exactly. And then align that with whatever your desires and values are. Absolutely. I also was thinking back to what we talked about earlier. What people Goals are of, you know, these casual sex casual encounters. And when they’re not the goal isn’t intimacy. For example, if, in the US, let’s say, casual sex, people only associate with the goal of sexual pleasure. But if the goal is maybe just physical touch, or if the goal is intimacy, then it would allow this space for casual encounters, I’ll say, because they might not have to include sex, you could have these casual hookups, that were non penetrative that where maybe somebody really just does need a great cuddle sesh, and he would create that space for that. That to be okay, because I think part of the problem is people see it, and it’s so easy to see it this way. Sadly, our culture only leaves space where it’s, you know, I can think you can either bring this person home and invite them into your bed and have sex with them or you Don’t invite them home and you don’t let them in your door, right? Because we don’t create space for the in between. But what if that space existed for I can invite you in my door, I can invite you into my room and into my bed. But it doesn’t need to lead anything, you know more than whatever we want. And maybe that’s sex. Maybe that’s something in between, or maybe that’s just intimacy created in some other way. Maybe that is the cuddle session. But until we have space for that, that in between, we’re just forcing these extremes of the script that are-

Zhana Vrangalova 

that might not be meeting the needs of the people involved. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s why there is a service that exists out there for, that people pay for cuddling. Right there, you can, you can hire a professional cuddler to come into your house. Like you would hire a woody massage person or you can hire a sex worker to satisfy sexual needs or massage needs. And you can hire a cuddler, professional cuddler to come in and cuddle with you. And you’re right, we need it. I support providing services that people need that they can’t meet in other ways. But absolutely, I think so many more people would be able to get some of their needs met, if we had a broader understanding for what these connections with different people can be.

Sasza Lohrey 

Yeah. And then it just so much comes down to the communication of feeling comfortable communicating, these are my needs, my desires and value and this is how I want to behave and openly with you know, be it somebody you just met and are deciding whether or not to invite in the door. But on both sides the responsibility, to know and then to communicate with them.

Zhana Vrangalova 

Yeah, I think of everyone having a hundred percent of the responsibility for stating their, their interests and desires and boundaries. And then respecting the other person. You can’t respect persons if you if that person didn’t tell you what, what they want or not want,

Sasza Lohrey 

At one point I’ve heard you say that people aren’t psychic. And so going back to this everything, you know, not necessarily needing to be verbal but needing to be said in some way. And people don’t realize, like people really don’t realize. And so it’s that knowing your own boundaries and saying them because people can’t read your mind as much as you want them to be able to do that. Yeah,

Zhana Vrangalova 

absolutely. I mean, it starts with this kind of understanding that people should just know what to do in a sexual situation, piece of piece of that. And then the other piece, especially when it comes to male, female heterosexual interactions, that the guy should always know what, what he’s doing. But there’s no knowing what you’re doing outside, the particular partner that you’re with, you can have a certain set of tools in your toolbox, but which one you’re going to pull out and use depends on what the right and what is the appropriate tool for this particular context in this particular person. And so even if you do have someone who’s relatively skilled and caring and invested, you’re still going to need to communicate to some extent, or at least engage in a fair amount of kind of research and development, or trial and error, until he gets exact what it is that you want. And in casual interactions, you don’t really have necessarily the amount of time available and this is a person that barely knows you and you barely know and people really Aren’t psychic. So that’s why it becomes so important. I mean that communication is important in any sexual interaction. But the less you know the person and the less that person knows you, the less they’re invested in your pleasure and enjoyment, the more important it becomes that you express what it is that you want, and not want and make sure that you get it. And of course, you can think of encouraging your partner to let you know as well what they like and don’t like. But it’s a two way conversation. And of course, it doesn’t have to be verbal. People often think oh, my God, this communication thing is I don’t have the words for it. It’s so awkward. I don’t feel comfortable doing it. And that’s often true because we’re not taught to have sexual conversations. And when do you have them? Do you have it in the moment? Do you have it before that? But there’s so many different ways to say what you want or express what you want. with words, with moans, with actions, pulling someone closer, pushing them away moving their hand this way or that way, you know, moving your, your, your own body to put yourself in a different position and all that offering to do something for your partner or inviting them to do something to you and so on. But it’s so critical. People are not psychic.

Sasza Lohrey 

I keep picturing these- have you seen the studies of developmental psychology, the studies of children and they watch this video, and somebody takes a piece of treasure. And the child is watching the video and they go into this other room that nobody else can see. And the person hides the treasure in some place in the room and then to the child, they ask ‘Now if somebody else goes into that room, where do you think they’ll look for the treasure?’ And up until a certain age they can only say right where it is they’ll know where It is. And it’s just so interesting because some of that feels like it, it kind of carried over somehow. So that treasure is your orgasm is your pleasure or is just your needs be it touch, you know, whatever your desire need be. Somehow people are stuck on this. Well, they’ll just look, you know, where I hid it they’ll just know I put it there.

Zhana Vrangalova 

So funny. I’ve never thought of theory of mind experiments being applied to those But yeah, I know why, in a way. That’s true. And that’s also difficult for women in particular, because in heterosexual relationships, because we’re taught as women to not be assertive, to not really demand because we’re going to hurt the male ego because the man should know what to do. And if you tell him that he basically is not exactly doing what you want him or if you tell him that You want him to be doing something else, then you might hurt his male ego as the sexual God that he’s supposed to be. And in that situation you also don’t want to appear too sexual. If you say I want this or that or I want another orgasm or whatever, then you might appear too slutty too sexual too… And that’s that can be threatening. And you’re supposed to be there. Your role is to please the man and women have internalized those values that it’s the male orgasm that really counts. And yours is a bonus if it happens during the time that it takes for the guy to come, great. But if it doesn’t, then oh, well, next time, right? We all have internalized those those scripts that sex ends when the male when the man orgasms, and so on. So all of these things make it very difficult for women to ask for what they want or even be a little more selfish than That will get them to experience the pleasure that they want.

Sasza Lohrey 

Maybe we can go it self-full. Like they should be all you know being because you encourage people to say to be selfish, but there’s such a, you know, negative connotation to that already that I think self-full.

Zhana Vrangalova 

 I like that. Yeah, I often say in these, because you mentioned the orgasm gap earlier and there is an orgasm gap with heterosexual women in particular having orgasms a lot less frequently than unless a lot less reliably than heterosexual men are. And that gap exists in long term romantic relationships. But it’s even bigger in casual interactions. It’s much bigger in casual settings, because of all these things that we talked about thus far. And in order to, to bridge that orgasm gap, I often talk about women needing to be more selfish. Ask for what they want and demand their pleasure. Demand there needs to be met. And men need to be more giving and more attentive to their female partners. But I like self-full.

Sasza Lohrey 

Yes, perfect, sell-full and generous.

Zhana Vrangalova 

Yes, men need to be more generous and women need to be more self-fulfilled.

Sasza Lohrey 

connotations, I like it, I like it to wrap things up then closing on on those, you know, themes of self full and generosity and everything that we’ve talked about what could be to really take things out of the theory and the concepts and understanding what would be kind of a piece of actionable advice or examples of behavior that people so nobody can leave this kind of being like, Oh, I get it, but then not go out and actually create that change. How can we give somebody something I don’t want to say homework assignment but a homework assignment, just, you know, a one way one example in which they can really practice enacting the change that We’ve been talking about and change their own script and behavior.

Zhana Vrangalova

It really starts with as we’re talking earlier with the desires and the values. I think people need to examine their desires. What do you crave in general? To what extent let’s say if we’re talking about casual sex in particular, how much do you want this? How much is this a turn on for you to have sex with people that you don’t necessarily know very well? If this is a big turn on for you, then, okay, well, this might be something that you want to pursue more. And even, it gets more granular than that. It’s not necessarily just any casual sex because again, as we talked, casual sex is a pretty broad set of experiences. And so what are the kinds of, think about what are the kinds of interactions that you want to have with people and maybe go back to some of your, I think probably the best homework assignment that’s more that’s most applicable to everybody is go back to the best hookup that you’ve ever had, and the worst hookup that you’ve ever had. And write down, analyze it. What happened? What did you do? What were you thinking, what transpired? Who was your partner? How did the hookup happen? Was there alcohol involved? Was there, did you use condoms, did you have an orgasm? Was it pleasurable, what kind of communication you had with that person? So really analyze the experience and see what are the things that worked? And that you want to do again and more of and seek that out? And what are the things that you didn’t enjoy and didn’t work and what you can learn from that to not repeat it? And think about, okay, what is it that I can do next time I hook up with someone to prevent that from happening? Because I mean, there are some things that we obviously don’t have control over other people’s behaviors. For example, to some degree to an extent, but there’s so much that we can control based on what we do and how we approach the situations. And so, you know, if you ended up feeling terrible after your last hookup because you didn’t use a condom, and then you spend the next, I don’t know, a week or two freaking out about whether you got chlamydia, whether you got pregnant or something like that. Then learn that lesson for your next hookup. If the experience was negative, because you ended up not really getting much pleasure because you didn’t express what you wanted, because your partner really just wanted to have jackhammer sex and all you wanted was for him to go down on you. Well, next time, try to express that and make that happen during that time. So there’s no one advice or homework that’s gonna work for everybody because different people are going to have different struggles depending or different things that they need to learn and improve on depending on which Areas of everything that makes up casual sex, they feel like they don’t really have a good grasp on. But I think going back to, maybe not even the worst and the best sometimes the worst and the best are not a very good example. But even going to the meh, to the kind of the whatever hookups and how you can make them better What? What would you have done? What could you do differently in the future to make those mediocre experiences, amazing experiences?

Sasza Lohrey 

And it reminds me a bit and I think those are fantastic pieces of advice, great examples. And it also reminded me a bit of a quote I heard from you before that was, you know, before you have sex with somebody, ask yourself if I never see this person again, Do I still want to have sex with them? Which is another just example of something really proactive and tangible that people can take with them.

Zhana Vrangalova

Yeah, that’s true. That is a good piece of advice for each individual hookup. that you might go into that, in general, people have more or less need or interest or desire in hooking up versus not hooking up. And we talked about that a lot. But you can also think of that in the hookup by hookup basis. Even if you’re someone who’s crazy into hookups, you still might not really be feeling this particular hookup. So before each time you have sex with somebody, ask yourself, why am I Why am I doing it? Do I really want this? Even if I never see this person again? Would I still want to have this particular experience? And if the answer is no, not really, then maybe you don’t want to go into it unless you have communicated that with the other person that there is mutual interest in this not just being a one night stand.

Sasza Lohrey 

I think people need to remember that they can keep asking themselves that throughout the experience, and it’s not just a one day gang before it’s dark. Well, thank you so much for joining us today everyone, and I look forward to continuing the rest of the conversation.

For this episode, we’re bringing you part two of our conversation about casual sex with sex researcher Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D. On this episode, we focus the discussion around the cultural scripts regarding hook ups and how we can help change those negative scripts, so that these sexual encounters can be more fulfilling and pleasurable for all parties involved.

Cultural Impacts

Culturally, we focus a lot on hook-ups within young adult and college aged populations. However, people of all ages are participating in hook ups and casual sex. Everyone from teenagers to octogenarians are having casual sex!

Hook Up Scripts – The Good, The Bad, and The Toxic

Zhana points out that it’s not hook ups that are bad, per say, but rather it’s the toxic scripts that dictate hook up culture. She lists the many different ways current hook up scripts are unhealthy which include intoxication, lack of consent negotiation, the focus on male pleasure (specifically in
heterosexual hook ups), lack of intimacy, and little to no communication about your desires.

However, there are many sex positive communities – like kink or polyamory – which provide excellent examples of good hook up culture. In these communities, the scripts are ones that empower people to have better casual experiences. These include: little to no intoxication, mutual enthusiastic consent, mutual pleasure, deep intimacy, and communication throughout the experience.

We need to stop settling for shitty hook up scripts.

People Aren’t Psychic

Everyone had 100% responsibility for stating their interests, desires, and boundaries.

And in doing so, we can allow our partners to better understand what we need and want so that we can have more mutually pleasurable experiences. It takes communication and a lot of fun R&D to figure each other out!

Being More Self-Full

Women in heterosexual partnerships are taught to not be demanding, so as to not bruise the male ego, and at the same time, women are taught to not be too sexual either. And the internalization of male orgasm being the pinnacle of a sexual experience means that female pleasure is a bonus, if it happens at all. Overall, in heterosexual partnerships, “men need to be more generous, and women need to be more self-full.”

How to Increase Your Pleasure

Know yourself – what you want and how to ask for it. Also, take time to think about the last hook ups that you had: what went well? What didn’t go so well? What can you do differently next time to increase your pleasure?

No additional resources found for this episode.

About the Expert

Zhana Vrangalova

Zhana Vrangalova

NYC-based sex researcher, writer, and educator.

Dr. Zhana Vrangalova has a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, where she studied how different aspects of sexuality (especially casual sex/promiscuity and mostly heterosexuality) are linked to health and well-being. She's currently an adjunct professor at the NYU Psychology department where she teaches the first Human Sexuality course this department has offered in a long time.

Episode Discussion

Home Forums Episodes 13 & 14 – “Keeping It Casual” with Zhana Vrangalova

  • Episodes 13 & 14 – “Keeping It Casual” with Zhana Vrangalova

  • Valentina 

    September 14, 2020 at 7:55 am
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    • What did you learn about yourself?
    • What did you learn about culture?
    • What was your favorite quote?
    • What surprised you most?
    • What is one way you can enact what you learned in your own life?
    • How can we each help shift the culture and the conversation surrounding this topic?
  • Amy

    September 15, 2020 at 2:28 pm
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    The thing that I learned about myself while listening to this episode is that casual sex is a bad thing when young people are in college and that as adults casual sex isn’t so bad. The thing that I learned about culture was that young people in college are told that going out on the weekends and getting drunk then having meaningless casual sex is accepted.The thing that surprised me most was that people out of college see casual sex as just a hookup and they will never see that person again.The one way that I can enact what I learned in my own life is to have a relationship with a man that isn’t just a casual hookup when it should be based on a real connection. The way that we can each shift the culture and the conversation about this topic is to educate ourselves about how casual hookups are not always a good thing and that building a real connection with someone will allow us to live more fulfilling lives.

  • Hope

    September 18, 2020 at 1:59 pm
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    It is interesting to consider that casual sex is a way for some people to avoid being vulnerable to another person, but also just a way that people would rather have sex currently in their life.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with people choosing to take the path of sex vs. a relationship– I believe certain people prefer their own independence and can’t settle down at different points in their life so they decide to put emotions on the back burner, for now. Some may even decide to never settle down and I believe that is their choice and they shouldn’t feel discouraged by said choice.

    However, I also believe that casual sex may be difficult to truly understand due to miscommunication that tends to occur amidst the grey area of casual sex, “Are we dating? Are we exclusive? If we hang out all the time, why don’t we just make it official?” I think casual sex overall is ok, as long as there is strong communication from the beginning and throughout so both parties involved are able to be on the same page and not end up in the grey area.

  • Valentina 

    September 21, 2020 at 10:13 am
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    I found really interesting the concept of hook up scripts and how they can be negative or healthy, but only the scripts and not the hook up itself. So if you’re a person that likes casual sex you’ll just need to follow sex possitive scripts where it’s all about sexual empowerment, pleasure and communication.

    This is a topic that I don’t know much about and I really learned a lot listening!

    • Jessica

      September 28, 2020 at 10:28 am
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      Hi Valentina! I also found the fact that hook up scripts–not the hook up itself–are good, bad, or toxic. We can definitely learn something from the scripts in sex-positive communities to have better casual experiences, i.e., little to no intoxication, mutual enthusiastic consent, mutual pleasure, deep intimacy, and communication throughout the experience.

  • BBXX 

    September 23, 2020 at 12:29 pm
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    This was one of my favorite episodes! So as a young woman I have enjoyed casual sex (it just seemed natural) but along with it I’ve gotten critiqued by my own girlfriends who like me also were raised in a conservative Latin family. My position is this one: If it makes me feel good, if it allows me to enjoy a moment of intimacy and helps me work-out, I will do it! Yet it has not been easy to accept this part of my life fully and definitely had some issues figuring out how to manage a healthy lifestyle having different partners (is just something no one really guides you about) so I thank the expert for giving us this insight! It made me realize at the end of the day we are all seeking for connection one way or another and it truly does not matter how close the relationship with your partner is as long as you both are being respectful to each other and of course, having a great time!

  • BBXX 

    September 28, 2020 at 9:12 am
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    I remember talking to my female friends about our sex lives our second semester of college and loved how, even in casual hookups, they “demanded” their partner to go down on them in every encounter. Especially with hookups, it sucks that male partners expect themselves to orgasm but their female partners needs aren’t even a thought in their mind.

  • Sarah

    October 7, 2020 at 10:24 pm
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    Hookup culture is not necessarily the problem its the scripts/norms around the culture itself, such as alcohol consumption. The emphasis on intoxication take away from our own authenticity and autonomy in our sexual encounters disempowering an individual who is engaging in hookup culture to essentially fill a void. However, hookup culture can be viewed positively, like in Latin America where there is enthusiastic consent from both parties and is typically in participation without severe intoxication. Here both partners want to pleasure each other and do not walk away with feelings of being taken advantage of. This highlights how important it is not to blame hookup culture itself, but rather the toxic scripts that surround it.

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