Hookups, S&M, and Modern American Sex

By Monica Wilcox

They say dating is dead; hookups are all the rage. So I went straight to my beautician, the local dating expert, to see if this was true. Her answer was grave, “I don’t know where a girl goes these days to find a guy who actually wants to build a relationship. Maybe online dating?” Poor Ashley sounds tired for 26. “What’s wrong with the men of my generation? They’re terrified of commitment.”

Pass the pork and bless the beans! I’m 19 years out of the singles market and yet, I’m still not free of it. My two children are on the cusp of sexual curiosity and, being their mother, I suppose it’s up to me to prepare them for the dating scene AS IT IS. Could Ashley be right, are men afraid of commitment?

Maybe. . .

“Why does Rihanna keep saying S…S…S…M…M…M?” my 11-year-old daughter asks in her evaporating innocence. Holy Crap! I was prepared when the sex talk came at seven but I never imagined I’d be hashing over S&M with her in the family minivan. Thanks Rihanna, thanks a bunch!!

I debate playing “naďve” because, honestly, I’m not ready to explain to my child that some people like to mix pain with sex. “I’m going to tell all my friends at school how much I love that song.” She chimes. Great! Now I have this mental image of her telling her girlfriends how much she likes S&M, which will travel through the 5th grade faster than headlice until some wiseass boy asks her if she’d like to bend over so he can spank her. HOLY CRAP!!! I’m taking a baseball bat to our stereo tonight.

Or Maybe. . .

I should swallow my mortification and open myself up to preparing her for this trend toward empty sex. “I don’t have time for a boyfriend,” Sara, my 20-year-old neighbor admits. “I’m too busy focusing on my degree and I’ve got to be ready to go wherever it takes me. That’s what the dudes have been doing all this time.” Ahhh… Sara’s voice sparks my growing suspicion. Could the popularity of the hookup be correlated to the growing rise in female independence? Maybe it’s not the dudes driving this trend but today’s modern woman…maybe it’s us.

Let’s face it, men have proven pretty willing to follow our lead when it comes to sex. When women were demanding a two-year wooing process, men were doing it. Now that we’re accepting a quick sext (sex+text), men are doing it. If the women of America took a sexual stand tomorrow, demanding an extensive string of gourmet cooking classes, candlelit chats, and salsa dancing MEN WOULD BE DOING IT.

Maybe. . .

…this is an offshoot of feminism. Maybe western women love the fact that we can screw a stranger without any fear of tying ourselves to them for life. Maybe we’re finally meeting our own sexual needs as efficiently as we are meeting our mortgage payments. Now that more of us are running our own show, we’re free to test our own sexual grounds, own sex on our own terms, and redefine normal. Has sexual liberation finally reached the bedroom?

Maybe. . .

But where does all this take my parental wisdom? I want my daughter to KNOW she is completely capable of doing anything she wants on her own. I want her to be comfortable and confident in her sexuality and her feminine energy. If a string of hookups is going to validate this for her, empower her, then who am I, with all my Sweet Valley High dreams, to lace it with guilt and judgment?

And where does this leave my son? I’ve never been one of those “boys will be boys” type of moms but am I truly preparing him for the dating world with statements like “Most girls have a hard time keeping their hearts out of the sex” or “A guy becomes part of a girl once he’s inside of her body.” Am I going to raise a sensitive, hesitant man who will find himself repeatedly bagged and abandoned? Maybe I should be preparing him for women with strong, independent minds, significant resources, and very little time; like 12 hours.

Or Maybe. . .

I can continue to raise them to value relationships even as they explore and thrive in their mutual independence. Because I want both of them to know that life-changing lessons rarely come in a 3 hour shack session, that a life without intimate connection can become a very lonely place. I want my daughter to know the joy of having a mate who supports and celebrates her efforts because they were around to witness her struggles. I want my son to know it’s okay to make himself vulnerable to another in the name of love, that he will not only survive, but will be a better man for it. I want them to experience the magic of making love. I want them to understand how a loving partner acts as our reflecting pool; displaying our greatest gifts while they challenge our weaknesses. Relationships nurture us. Push us. Teach us when to serve, sacrifice, and choose ourselves first. I want my children to create heart wrenching moments with another person whose very name will chime in their hearts like the sweetest bell. Moments that will light up their death bed like fireflies over a summer lake.

Maybe. . .

…a hookup will feed their sense of independence but I still believe it’s the relationships that will feed their souls.

What about you? Are you trying to prepare you children for a dating world you don’t understand? Do you feel the value of relationships is being undermined by the demand for a quick physical release? Does feminism have anything to do with this trend? Or do you think I’ve been listening to too many hours of Rihanna and I should follow through on taking a bat to my stereo?

Monica Wilcox




Turid K.
Past Member 5 years ago

It is the age that decides what men yarn for!
Senior men fall in love,and long for commitment, But at that age women are tired of taking care of men's emotional needs.

Leigh Anne Burnette-Turne

I really enjoyed this article. It was well written and right on the nose with the current culture change.

Damien Wilson
Damien Wilson6 years ago

as a teen i find it largely depends on who and why.....

Naomi Bitmead
Naomi Bitmead6 years ago

Beautifully written, really enjoyed reading this. Luckily (or maybe not) we don't have to have this "talk" for a few more years!

Emily Drew
Emily Drew6 years ago

hmm interesting thanks. Nicely done.

Cassie M.
Cassie Marcks6 years ago

love this article thank you

CYNTHIS O6 years ago

Thank You for your Article!! I have a 20 yr. old Daughter and I keep on telling her over and over to wait till she is married or when she finds her true love that respects her and loves her. She is a Young Lady and I hope and pray she stays a Lady!!

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Rachel R.
Rachel R6 years ago

Interesting points! I'm sure your kids will turn out fine. :)

Ellen Mccabe
Ellen m6 years ago

What a great, funny, realis tic read! Thank you.