Hook-Up Culture: Part 3 — The Emotional Cost…

Trey Hamilton
11 min readApr 5, 2021

Welcome to part 3 of my “Hook Up” Series! We’ve spoken about how Hook-Up culture has changed dating, and I’ve written about why people participate in hook-up culture, and now I want to write about the emotional consequences. Because just like anything good or bad, there will always be a cost. No matter how much you try and spin it. There is always a price to pay.

Let’s say you grew up under conventional dating standards. One day you were socially shamed into trying the hook-up culture because:

  • It was portrayed to be a significant notch on your “manliness”
  • You were trying to prove that you’re empowered.
  • You were told sex doesn’t have to have meaning. “It’s just sex.”
  • The commitment was never promoted in your social circles.
  • Everyone’s doing it.
  • I just what to have fun and go through my “ho” phase
  • I’m getting over an ex.

Any of these sound familiar?

For whatever reason, you got out of “hook up” culture. Or if you’re still in it. Either you’re feeling these kinds of emotions, or you’ve felt that way in the past. No matter how long you’re in it. You’ll never walk away unscathed. Sex has always been such a raw and passionate physical connection between two people it’s impossible to be emotionally removed.

The Emotional Consequences of Hook-Up Culture:

Apprehensive Towards Relationships

Suppose you haven’t had a serious relationship in 3–5 years or ever. You’ve spent a majority of time hooking up or having a string of situationships. It’s natural to be wary of actually getting into a relationship because you haven’t been in one in so long. Just like anything else, right? Imagine not driving for five years and then getting into a car and having to drive it? How would you feel? Or not having a drop of alcohol for so long and then suddenly having a double shot of liquor. It’s going to hit you like mack truck guzzling nitro’s oxide. So in comparison to relationships, that’s a big deal. Or if you’ve never had a relationship EVER. I couldn’t even imagine the apprehensiveness. It must be absolutely bonkers. Especially coming from just having sex so much or consistently hooking up with one person. That’s essentially having all the intimate benefits of a relationship but with nothing in the end to represent all the time you’ve wasted doing it. It’s like doing all the courses, finals, classes, and tests for a degree. But nothing getting the degree and never walking down the aisle to grab your piece of paper and throw your hat in the air, never being able to utilize it on your resume. OF COURSE, SOMEONE’s going to be apprehensive towards relationships.

He’s very apprehensive :(

People Getting Married A Lot Later

I’ll never forget this conversation I had with a former friend of mine. It really woke me up with the kind of lifestyle I was living and gave me a stark reminder I didn’t want to be like him. It went like this:

Me: Don’t you ever get bored of this, bruv?

Him: What?

Me: Hooking up with women.

Him: Nah dawg, there’s so much good p***y out there these days. There’s always gonna be a badder b*tch, ya know?

His logic scared the shit out of me. Is that what everyone thinks? Is that why so many people do this? Had I been discarded in the past unknowingly cause there was a guy that could lay the pipe far better than I?

People are getting married later because they’re not really sure why they even want to get married. They’re not sure if they’re going to get married because they’ve dated so much. They’ve dated so much because dating apps and technology have made the dating market larger than it ever has been before. So many options to some people give them more opportunities to take part in many sexual desires they might not have before. I’ve had conversations with former married men or women who generally got bored of their marriages and were never single around the dating app era. So they divorced their spouse to be a part of it. I’m for real! Hook-up culture offers the perceived notion of getting the best parts of dating or a relationship without actually doing or being in either. So why on earth would people look for the pursuance of a marriage?

They’re so emotionally damaged by how much sex they’ve been having they honestly can’t even fathom all the reasons why monogamy works because they’ve been un-monogamous for so long.

The “Hook-Up Crutch”

It’s a crutch; it’s a crutch that helps you hobbling along into a multitude of negative possibilities until you end up needing both crutches for each leg cause you’ve hooked up so much. Eventually, being so emotionally debilitated, you can barely walk on either crutch. Your mind begins to slowly get warped, progressively wiping out any experienced discernment you might have already possessed. You can no longer tell who’s looking for something real? Or who’s just hooking up? You find it hard to understand if you’re lustful for them or you generally want this person to be in your life for a multitude of other reasons besides sex. It’s a passive thought that lies in wait steadily in your head, preventing you from meeting someone you could grow with because you’ve been through so many emotional experiences that are only physical and not reminiscent of a healthy and positive monogamous relationship.

Suppressing True Emotions

Suppressing anything is bad news. Ask any introvert that finally blows up on someone or any volcano which has laid dormant for so many years. I’ll never forget this quiet kid called Jimmy Mason. Never bothered a damn soul in HS. He was happily playing on his Game Boy Advance leaving everyone alone. This one bully in the class who will remain nameless used to call him Pokemon Boy. Cause Jimmy would always be playing it. Well. One day the bully was on his ass! He would not stop teasing him. Till Jimmy got up and started swinging on the kid. It was nuts. The very few HS friends I still stay in touch with to this day, we still bring that up. He completely brutalized that bully, blood all over his shirt as we stood and watched in horror as the teacher finally broke the two apart. The bully suffered from a broken nose, a ruptured eye socket, and two knots the size of golfballs on his forehead.

SUPPRESSING ANY EMOTION is bad. Suppressing emotion for an extended period of time is worse.

So imagine someone who is so in touch with their emotions and feelings. A complete empath, through and through. But for years, anyone they kind of want to be with and express how they feel. They can’t. Why? Cause in the hook-up culture, it’s frowned upon. You can’t “catch feelings”. The person who admits how they feel first loses. That’s what the hook-up culture promotes.

She’s fed up!

So imagine being a person with years of pent-up feelings. How do you think they feel? Are they thrilled? Or might they end up being a Jimmy Mason with a random person on a first date? (Not his violence, just his frustrations) Let’s pray to God that’s not the case. Insufficient emotional communication with someone you’re intimate with means other emotions are completely disregarded, which means deep down, you know you’re disregarded. This is not good for anyone’s emotional well-being by any stretch. This all accumulates to a high-pressure cooker of deep emotional anxiety that doesn’t get any better. It only gets worse unless you start fortifying small pieces of courage to express how you feel.

It’s not clingy or desperate if you express your feelings or emotions. It’s HUMAN. Please don’t pay any mind to those who disagree.

Impulsive Pleasure

When you jump into bed with someone so quickly, you’re essentially giving into impulsive pleasure. These scenarios are not always bad. Sometimes you just need the release. I ain’t mad at your game. But having this be a habit can be dangerous for your soul. Bad habits are easy to pick up. Good habits must always be developed, nurtured, and consistently in your focus. Your emotions might be so used to instant gratification you can never really say no. That’s scary. It could put you in dangerous scenarios, it could affect your health, and you could be stuck in a cycle you don’t know how to get out of.

Your True Desires

“I guess I don’t know what I want” — Random First Date Person.

I’ve lost count of how many women have said this to me on a first date. As I’m sure, many of you reading have heard this too. Ultimately it comes down to having too many casual dalliances with the opposite sex. Your heart’s true relationship desires will never be awoken by repeated instances of sexual gratification, it just won’t. Unless you have a deep, meaningful connection putting sex on the back burner and focusing on who they indeed are. Your heart's truest desires might never be realized. I didn’t know what I wanted till I looked past the physical aspects of a person and looked to their heart. It sounds corny as hell and cheesy. It’s the truth, though. Either you accept it and seek it out. Or you live in denial and keep repeating these same mistakes. Sexual lovingly devoted partners and hook-up partners will NEVER be the same until you separate and cancel one out. You’ll never get what you’re genuinely looking for. You can’t ever have your cake and eat it no matter what they think.

Am I missing out?

We have a rich consumer mentality of continually upgrading whilst constantly being worried about missing out. Hooking up so much gives you accessibility. Accessibility gives you a sense of confidence and ego-boosting. Ego boosting and multiple sexual partners gives you a false blanket of security that there will always be options. So a lot of people get confused with their emotions for looking out for something better. In reality, it’s just not true. There will always be an abundance of sexual partners, sure. You just have to be lightly good at sex and attractive; they’ll mostly be a plethora of people you can have sex with. But a plethora of relationship compatibility and longevity is a very finite resource. Most people don’t realize this until their clock start’s running out. Time to have kids, time to enjoy things with a young family, time to experience things best experienced at a certain age, time to live, time to grow, and time to really build that foundation of what you want your relationship to be. Will you still be able to sleep with multiple people in a week when you’re 50–60? Will it be as enjoyable? Looks fade. Hook-up culture has no scalability and no way of sustaining itself. When people realize they need to change their ways. Often father time looks down upon them and says good luck. You’ll have a lot of ground to make up. So instead of focusing on the question of, “Am I missing out?” Focus on this question. “How many potential partners am I missing out on because I can’t seem to focus on one”. Or, “Am I focusing on the wrong one?”

Sexual Objects

This concept is not new, nor is it lost on anyone. But now, it comes with far greater nuances. For example, some people are unknowing contestants in someone’s little game. Hook-up culture has left people so emotionally removed from other people’s feelings they now rank, rate and pit other people against each other until one comes out on top. Or they’re happy to use certain people for different things as they amas or curate their current ho-tation. It’s somewhat creepy. Numbing down any kind of sexuality to take yourself out of the situation emotionally is the truest betrayal of one's self. It’s not who you are. It’s who you’ve allowed yourself to become.

Nomadic Existence:

Hooking up with multiple people throughout the course of a few months, to years is really a nomadic existence. You go from person to person, slightly leaving the door open for something unique but never fully. So you end up leaving a paper trail of despair, heartache, or just a lack of fulfillment. It’s ultimately the enemy of actual internal progression by learning how to develop with someone other than yourself. It fractures your emotions by eradicating any form of consistency, stability, and progression with someone you might want to be with. Hook-up culture is the epitome of destroying anything that could possibly grow into something extraordinary.

So, where do we go from here?

The only place is up, to be honest. Real talk.

There will always be exceptions, and there will always be people who are outliers. Of course. But the rest of us who feel and have rich emotions are susceptible to some intense feelings such as getting low self-esteem. Small bouts of depression and some real insecurity. Those are on the tamer side of some of the emotional effects of hooking up.

Ultimately if you never choose to remove yourself from this hook-up market, we’ve created. You’ll never receive the emotional pay-off of your gross maturity investment that comes from nurturing something real with someone you love.

Suppose you’re too busy hooking up with and choosing multiple partners. You’ll never really have to self-examine your internal, interpersonal dating ethics or morality. This is far too costly to the soul and will dampen your emotions, sometimes beyond its own recognition.

You’re free to experience the hook-up culture, you’re free to try it out, and you’re free to ultimately leave it. But the most important thing is that you’re truly happy and making decisions that are propelling you to you’re ultimate goal.

I love you, I’ve been where you are; I hope the best for you. If you felt like even a sentence of this was helpful, follow me for more insights into this crazy modern dating world we’re in!

Have a great week!


Trey Hamilton

Author - The First Date Fix - Dating Coach - Content Creator -Dog Dad | follow me for some ramblings of a millennial who has dated. A LOT! TheFirstDateFix.Com