Casual sex and hook-up culture often claim to be pro-woman and a form of female empowerment, but is this true? As we dig deeper into the effects of casual sex, we become more aware of the specific ways hook-ups can make women emotionally and physically vulnerable. Let’s unpack this below.
Hook-ups Can Make Women Feel Emotionally Vulnerable
Feelings of regret, loneliness, and a lack of fulfillment often follow casual sex. Why is this the case? Neuroscience teaches us that sex is like superglue. Although it brings pleasure, it also creates a powerful emotional bond between two people. When a couple has sex, Oxytocin is released in their brains, which promotes trust and bonding (the same chemical is released in a woman when she gives birth or breastfeeds). This means an emotional bond is being forged between the duo, whether they choose it or not. When the hook up ends, an emotional attachment is present, but a lasting commitment is not.
Although you may decide to have sex, “just for fun” – the emotional bond created between you and your partner will last for longer than a night. The perpetual forging and breaking of such a deep tie can be painful and have a lasting effect on your psyche. This is why one-night stands often leave women with complicated emotions of confusion, emptiness, or betrayal.
Hook-ups Can Put Women At Risk
Because hook-ups occur outside of an established relationship, they often lack a foundation of trust and security. This naturally leads to a higher risk of:
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE
Although a person may look healthy on the outside, you have no way of knowing whether or not they carry an STD/STI. 67% of people say they would lie to a potential partner or current sexual partner about having an STD. Although condoms can reduce the risk of transmission, they are not 100% effective against preventing STIs/STDs and are often used incorrectly. Condoms also do not protect you from all STIs such as herpes, genital warts and syphilis which can be spread from skin-to-skin contact.
SEXUAL ASSAULT OR ABUSE
Women who are sexually assaulted are NEVER to blame. That being said, there are ways to safeguard yourself against potential predators. Being alone with someone you don’t know puts you in a vulnerable position and at a higher risk of sexual assault or manipulation. More than half of assault survivors say they were raped by someone they were dating. Before meeting someone new, it’s wise to make a plan ahead of time. We also recommend bringing along a friend and spending time somewhere together in public.
Hook-ups, blind dates, and social events surrounding dating are some of the many ways traffickers look for potential targets. Never put yourself in a situation alone with someone you don’t know. “Boyfriending” is a tactic used by recruiters to build trust before turning the woman over to the traffickers who hired him.
The stress of an unintended pregnancy can be magnified when the pregnancy occurs outside of a committed relationship. Navigating a pregnancy decision or pregnancy with someone you don’t know or on your own, can be complicated. (Complicated, but not impossible.)
Note: If you think you may be pregnant, make an appointment today. We can confirm your pregnancy and provide information on abortion, adoption, and parenting options. We provide free medical services, resources, and support to anyone facing an unintended pregnancy.
Breaking Unhealthy Cycles
We all desire to be seen, known, and loved. Although hook-ups can give the illusion of these things, they fall short in the long run. Even though casual sex brings instant gratification, the emotional and physical aftermath can be taxing. Being an empowered woman means continually choosing what’s best for your heart, mind, and body. Reserving sex for a trusted, committed relationship with a married, faithful partner is the only way you can protect yourself both emotionally and physically while nurturing your whole being.