Before beginning the beginning of this piece, I’d like to refresh your understanding of the word ‘hookup’. No standard definition will clean up the mess which is the meaning of this popular culture but let me lay out a few variations that are all accurate as they are.
A 23-year-old female law-graduate calls it a “hyper-sex in a quickie”, a 40-year-old middle-school teacher says it’s basically “picking up random people to get laid” and my mom just calls it “promiscuous relationships”. Don’t worry, I got the usual “moral-less intercourse” and “uncool” too during the interviews.
Content Head Leena Duwadi shared, "As much as I accept the freedom each human possesses, we can't deny that being too casual with anything, be it hookup or any other practice may spoil our mental and emotional health in the long run. It's good that Indian societies still have that ancient ethics as unsaid rules which are in many ways, good for us."
If I tack together the 33 responses I got from people aged 13 to 41, both working and non-working, majorly educated and belonging to different states of this country, here’s what it boiled down to:
The hookup culture can be defined as an idea of sexual liberation in which participants of both sexes engage in commitment-free sexual exchanges, and the nature of this act is not elusive.
But if this involves the agreement of both parties emotional involvement, why India refused to warm this practice with open arms?
India gushes about its diversity, flaunts romanticism in almost every movie or series it produces, provides financial and logistic support for families and yet frowns upon the idea of anything no-strings-attached. Sexual pleasure is discounted, and parents think that their children should only practice committed relationships. It’s not just immoral or distasteful, but on this land, it’s worse than committing a crime.
In 2004, the National Sample Survey Office published a report in which they found 4.91 million people in India suffering from loneliness. In 2015 and ‘16 National Mental Health Survey of India reported that 10% of the populations suffer from mental disorders, anxiety and FOMO.
In 2016, the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung took a survey of the attitudes, concerns and aspirations of people ageing 15 to 35 and concluded that 12 per cent are often depressed, and 8 per cent felt lonely quite frequently.
Honestly, it’s an epidemic. Let me point out another aspect that we haven’t discussed hookingup. Do you realise how I never mentioned ‘love’, ‘relationship’ or ‘care’ in this entire piece?
Well, people seek love, develop relationships and tend to care, few of the many psychological aspects of being conscious. As much as I would like to say that every individual of the 7.7 billion population deserves a partner who they can invest in emotionally, the reality isn’t very supportive always. Some find their significant other at a tender age and have the luxury never to have to experience loneliness. Those who don’t are left with unsettling hope and all the time in the world to overthink about their future. Thus, leading a majority population towards psychological disorders.
Hooking up with a partner who’s temporary isn’t dehumanising. Expressing a liberal attitude toward sex is not only making it safer but also encourages the individual to not confine in societal expectations. The biological need for adventure is satisfied, confidence is multiplied without forceful diets or anxiety to match up beauty standards, and there’s no tolerance for fake relationships.
According to Dr Zhana Vrangalova, PhD in developmental psychology, sex educator and researcher, “Casual sex has many potential benefits, for instance, sexual pleasure; an increased sense of self-confidence, desirability, and freedom; and satisfaction of our biological need for adventure. Study after study finds that people have more positive reactions after hookups than negative ones.”
We are living in a time of Google searches and picture-perfect-everything, and no matter how many opinions are out there, you are who you choose. India’s history and culture might have swayed it away from this new-age rebellion but what you stand up for today will impact the history that will come. Would you want those people to feel the things you feel today?
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