Hookup culture effects on the mind and body

Hookup culture sunrise

YUMA, Ariz. - If you’re a millennial, you’ve probably heard of the culture phrase, “hooking up” also known as having casual sex. In a time where the internet is easily accessible, it has become a popular platform to meet partners, using websites such as Match, Zoosk, or social media apps such as Bumble or Tinder.

Professor of Sociology at Arizona Western College, Brooke Ayars says she feels that this may be a big concern on university campuses.

“The students that I talked to in my classes are very familiar with Tinder, Grinder...and that's their way of dating today,” she adds. Ayars teaches human sexuality at AWC and says some of her students say hooking up can be a fun experience but positive experiences, according to her are few and far in between.

The American Psychological Association says more adults are engaging in hookups, but there are repercussions the human mind and body can face. Ayars mentions that the more negative encounters one has in the casual sex arena, the more it can start to eat at your self-esteem, particularly for a young girl.

Ayars says, “If you have bad experiences then you can face any number of psychological issues; depression, self-esteem, loathing.”

A report from the Center For Disease Control And Prevention, reveals numbers are in the millions when it comes to new cases of sexually transmitted diseases among teens and young adults per year.

An epidemiologist at the Yuma County Public Health Services District, Benito Lopez says young people in high school have STD’s in Yuma. “About 20 percent of teens between the ages of 15 to 19, have  STD’s in Yuma.” Lopez also adds that the risk of having sex is not knowing the other individual.

The most recent data from the Arizona Department Of Health Services reveals that in Yuma, Chlamydia cases increased from almost 1,081 in 2016 to 1,228 in 2017. Gonorrhea cases were stagnant with around 240 cases in both years, and data shows there were 0 cases of syphilis in 2016 and 25 in 2017.

Rachel Baker, a Public Health Nurse at Yuma County Public Health Services District, says what they're finding is that many young females in middle school and high school are more worried about pregnancy and not realizing that the sexual activity they're engaging in also puts them at risk for a sexually transmitted infection.

A recent Harvard report on romantic and sexual relationships says teens and adults tend to overestimate the number of young people having casual sex significantly. The research suggests, about 85% of young people prefer spending time with friends or having sex in a serious relationship.

The report also found parents, educators and other adults often provide young people with little or no guidance in developing relationships, but there's a high percentage of young people that want that guidance.  

Nurse Baker recommends that “Parents need to decide at which point they would like to have this conversation with their child...It can be an uncomfortable conversation for parents but  its a very important conversation that needs to happen.”

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