The Tinder app shapes this campus’ hookup culture

Tell it Like it Izz

Right next to Facebook and Instagram on my home screen, there it is: Tinder, mascot of the hookup culture that has swept college campuses.

“You have to get it,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. “Just do it for the laughs,” chanted my friends. And I did.

For a couple days, I had a blast. My ego was awash with matches and messages reading “hey beautiful.”

The unending horde of users to choose from made it easy to ignore the people that opened with “I eat ass” or “show me your genitals.”

But after a few dates and an enormous number of disturbingly similar conversations, it became apparent what larger element of our generation this trend represented.

In the media, millennials are portrayed as having massive quantities of wild sex — but in real life, it doesn’t seem that way.

In fact, studies by the University of Chicago show that our generation reports fewer sexual partners during our college years than Generation X did.

So yeah, I swipe my finger across a screen and match with someone. Yet, the truth is that usually nothing happens.

I wanted to find out if other users felt the same, so I decided to use my app for some very forward interviews.

“I’ve only hooked up once off Tinder and that was two years ago,” one sophomore said. “Besides that, I delete it pretty often and then download it when I’m bored.”

Here is the epitome of hookup culture: not only is sex a status symbol, it’s also a game — another way to pass the time when Snapchat and Tumblr fail to do so.

Not everyone was quite so gentle in their response, though.

“I’ll tell you my full experience with hookup culture if you hook up with me first,” one senior said. Thanks, Tinder boy.

I recently listened to an NPR podcast called “Hookup Culture: The Unspoken Rules of Sex on Campus,” and its analysis gave me shivers.

Hookups are defined by their absolute opposition to anything traditionally romantic, said Lisa Wade, a sociologist at Occidental College. Both parties should make it clear that they don’t care about each other, deeming the encounter meaningless.

With our generation constantly seeking instant gratification, hookups also tend to be followed by what has been coined as “ghosting,” a complete and utter cold shoulder.

Some people think sex is just sex, so you go over someone’s house, screw and then go home. There’s little room for emotional attachment.

On the other side of the spectrum, hookup culture seems to be emotionally damaging for some.

Students in Wade’s book, “American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus,” exposed the two options of hookup culture: either you are used or nobody wants to use you. Neither feels good.

Whether you stand on the casual or the careful side, hookup culture is almost unavoidable today.

“I hate it because it’s mainly our only option in college,” sophomore Sarah Smith said. “We either have sex by hooking up with guys or we don’t have sex at all.”

On the other hand, it works for some, like two of my closest friends who found fulfilling long-term relationships through Tinder.

At the end of the day, your sex life is your decision. If Tinder suits your needs, go for it. The philosophy surrounding sex needn’t be limited to two extremes.