Is Feminism to Blame for Hook-Up Culture? A Debate

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About Neely Steinberg

Neely Steinberg is a freelance writer living in Boston. Her work has been published in the Boston Globe Magazine, Boston Magazine, the Boston Phoenix, and New York Magazine, to name a few. Formerly, she hosted two internet radio shows and an internet TV show on dating, sex, love, and relationships. Currently, Neely is the relationship/dating columnist for Blast Magazine. Send your relationship/dating questions to her at [email protected] and she will answer them in her column on Blast called “MP4 Love,” in which she posts her video responses. Follow her on Twitter and check out her website:


  1. Brad McMahon says:

    Reading some of the commentary here reminds me of attitudes / outlooks from the 1960′s. We visited the “free love’” concept once, and found it pretty shallow. Good thing that was the only drawback… then.

    Today we have AIDS, and another half-dozen or so Permanent, Incurable diseases. Sleep with enough bums… and it’s only a matter of time.

    Enjoy it while it lasts…

  2. “Are you suggesting that a married woman who has had only 1 lifetime sex partner is damaging her vagina because she has frequent sex with her husband? Or is it just casual sex that is damaging?”

    I always thought about this. Someone who has sex with 7 partners in a year but only a couple of encounters with each is going to have a lot less sex than someone who is married and having sex with her husband daily or even weekly. What about a woman with no partners who uses dildos? The myth of multiple partners doing something to your vagina (childbirth can occur with only one partner) makes no logical sense.

    • HarlemWorld4eva says:

      It does do something to your vagina if you have sex with males who have abnormally large member and if you don’t practice kegels and have multiple childbirths and no corrective procedures. Of course there are exceptions. Take the blinders off and step into the real world, like the author is saying. Take it from someone who has examined many vaginas and interviewed women regarding their sex habits/attitudes.

      Hell, even ask a gynecologist!

      • MorgainePendragon says:

        “[a woman's] body is rarely, if ever, permanently changed by sexual activity. Previous or current sexual activity does not make a woman’s vagina “loose.”

        “During intercourse, the vagina may not feel “tight” to a partner or a woman for a few reasons. When a woman is not scared and is sexually excited, the muscles around and of the vagina will temporarily become more flexible and open. Vaginal lubrication that also often happens at those times adds to the vagina not feeling tight.

        **”Contrary as it may sound, when women feel very sexually aroused (excited) and are active sexual partners, the vagina may also feel tighter because of the muscles being more active and because of certain areas of the vulva being more erect and because of more blood circulating to the pelvic area.”*

        Maybe, as the last point indicated, those 200 women you’ve been with just weren’t “very sexually aroused (excited)” and their vaginas didn’t “feel tighter because of the muscles being more active”. :-)


  1. [...] dish up the dirt at the end of the post, but first I want to call your attention to Is Feminism to Blame for Hookup Culture? just published there by Neely Steinberg. It came out of this whole kerfuffle, and in it she offers [...]

  2. [...] reposting this piece from February 2009 in response to my dialogue with Neely Steinberg at Good Men Project, and to her friend Susan Walsh. I wrote it when Heloise was two weeks [...]

  3. [...] tip to Susan Walsh. Everyone should read this. I’m busy right now, but will comment on it later in the [...]

  4. [...] Steinberg is not a stranger here. I consider her neither an ally nor an adversary. That said, she has a very nice article in which she shares perspectives with Hugo Schwyzer regarding feminism and the hookup [...]

  5. [...] Recently I wrote an article for the Good Men Project about hook-up culture, in which Hugo Schwyzer and I disagreed about the effects of casual sex. It gained the attention of Susan Walsh, author of the blog Hooking Up Smart. She wrote a post about our contrasting opinions, and offered her thoughts as well. The comments section within her post grew quickly—as of today there are more than 1,000 responses. Reading through the feedback, I was struck by the disillusionment and disappointment among men with the content on the Good Men Project, a site whose very purpose is to bring issues of modern manhood to the forefront of national discussion. [...]

  6. [...] Neely Steinberg’s post at the Good Men Project. Here’s Neely Steinberg, on her reaction to no-strings attached sex. Neely: I agree with a [...]

  7. [...] in that blissful/awful state of non-dating dating, leading to the hook-up culture that many a trend piece has been written [...]

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