Andrew Smiler explores the ways that hookups get used to strengthen male-male friendships and argues they’re all wrong.
Go to any any fraternity party or visit any “meat market” club and you can find a few young guys who are working the room, trying to get laid. The guys know this will just be a one-time thing; I’d like to think that most of the women who say yes know that too. But I’m not writing about the women and I don’t know why they say yes.
I do know that there’s a fairly small percentage of guys who genuinely and regularly look for a one-night stand. Research tells us that about 15 to 20% of guys have three or more partners in a year, and only about 5% of guys maintain that rate for three consecutive years. The club and fraternity party have more than their fair share, in the same way that church, synagogue, and mosque have less than their share.
The guys who cruise the club looking to score typically hold a specific set of beliefs. They tend to be disrespectful of women, particularly the women they’re hitting on. They’re also competitive with other guys, including their friends. They’re also risk takers – if your goal is to hook up with a different woman every weekend, you’re not going to succeed without taking chances. And they’re less likely than other guys to use condoms, in part because they believe pregnancy prevention is her problem (and given that they won’t be sticking around, that’s not wholly inaccurate).
Hooking up like this serves two purposes. One is the sex. Although seriously, how good can the sex be with someone you’ve just met and who doesn’t know your body, your likes, and your dislikes? Then again, if you’re that guy and your goal is to borrow someone else’s body so you can cum inside it, the only part of your body that matters is your dick.
The other reason to get laid isn’t about sex at all. Nope, the other reason is all about the other guys. Sometimes, it’s about having a story to tell, especially a good story. And anything can make it a good story – a particularly hot girl or a particularly ugly one. Or having sex that’s somehow unusual – in the alley, for example.
Sometimes, it’s about “taking one for the team” by hooking up with the ugly girl so your friend can f— the pretty girl. Bonus points for doing that on purpose when you know it’s been a while since your buddy got laid.
And sometimes, it’s just about being crazy and doing stupid shit. Like having your buddies all hide in the closet and watch. Or perhaps you’ll have a game of rodeo.
These reasons are about sex as much as doing a kegstand is about enjoying the taste of beer. It’s all about the performance and impressing your friends. And let me be clear, those friends are all guys and they’re way, way more important than any girl he’s hooking up with or even any girl he’ll date. In fact, you can bet that what his friends will say influences his choice of which girl he hits on.
To me, this is “masculinity” at its worst. These guys – and they’re a small percentage of the population – give all guys a bad name. This is the small group of guys who define masculinity around sexual conquests and not character.
These guys are the reason why a guy who has just met a women needs to spend a lot of time convincing her that he’s not a stereotypical guy and, especially, not one of those guys. How exhausting is that for everyone? These guys are the reason girls who attend fraternity parties need to wear that nifty nail polish and figure out if their drink has been spiked with a date rape drug. These guys are the reason why people believe “most men are dogs,” even though most of the men they know don’t actually act this way.
So, yeah. It’s #notallmen. It’s not even most men. What they’re doing isn’t defensible. Having sex with someone so you can tell a story to impress your friends makes that person an object; it’s disrespectful (to say the least). Lying to get someone in to your bed is wrong. It’s lying, no matter what you call it. Drugging someone so you can have sex with them is rape. Bringing a girl back to your room so your buddies can jump out of the closet is immature. Can you say 10 year old?
It’s time for good men to hold our “brothers” responsible for giving all guys a bad name by calling their behavior what it is: wrong. #HeForShe
My thanks to Michael Flood for his 2008 analysis of these men’s sexual motives.