Duke Forum

Discussions about the hookup culture are not limited to a subset of the population. How can we open the dialogue to include all genders, races, sexual preferences, and religions?

Hooking up is viewed as the norm in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Hooking up has become so prevalent that our group is marginalized and our relationships are considered inferior to conventional heterosexual relationships. To counter this, a small portion of the LGBT community has adopted the ideal of promiscuity, rebelling against the normalities of common interaction while trying to maintain “healthy” relationships. I have witnessed this among community members on Duke’s campus as well as the community at large. Throughout my time at Duke, I can only identify two visible LGBT couples that have sustained a relationship for longer than two months. However, that is not to say that those relationships were ideal models to any degree. In addition to the apprehension of coming out and being open about participating in an LGBT relationship, the few that I have witnessed have been filled with infidelity and distrust. Unfortunately, this set the tone for my freshman year. With no role models, it seemed impossible to be involved in a successful relationship and the only alternative appeared to be hooking up.

Since the LGBT community is very small, secluded, and forced to be private, it differs from the traditional hookup culture that many heterosexual students have experienced. We don’t get drunk and randomly fall into some predator boy’s lap. Instead, we must stealthily sneak out our hookups. Sometimes they are found through observation, like when “Party-Boy Chad” pours you a little too much sketchy punch and is overfriendly. Other times, like when you’re secretly rubbed up in a crowded room or cornered in the dark outside of a party, it is a little less subtle and more premeditated than casual heterosexual hookups.

Since we can’t just find someone with similar sexual preferences, have to plan out, who, when, where, and how to go about hooking up with someone of interest. For an already fragile community that’s continuously discriminated against, the hookup culture in general does nothing more than destroy our spirits, sentencing us to silence and providing reason to continue the reoccurring spiral that is the hookup. It reduces us to value ourselves based on how hot or attractive last night’s “hookee” was or who gets the most “closet cases.” I personally believe the hookup culture is destructive amongst all groups, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, or age. Nonetheless, I also believe the LGBT community consumes a bigger portion of the hookup pie. Instead of focusing on fostering care and support for one another, the focus is on fulfilling physical desires minus any form of interpersonal communication or compatibility.