Posted: August 12th, 2013
Casual Sexual Behavior among Youth
In the precedent years, sexuality was a subject that was considered taboo and never talked about by neither adults nor adolescents. However, with the progression of time and the dynamism of various schools of thought, sexuality between people has become one of the most popular matters to ever grace the field of research. Consequently, the change in sexual attitudes over the years can be attributed to the research. Sexual attitudes and behaviors among adolescents and young adults have received considerable attention from not only researchers, but also the media fraternity and policy makers over the previous decade. Trends indicate that informal sexual interaction, presently ascribed as hooking up has become one of the most accepted alternatives to conventional illiberal sexual relationships.
Hookups, also described as casual sexual relations, are sexual engagements that range from physical stimulation to sexual intercourse. Seldom, there are also extended hookups, which refer to elongated situations of casual sexual relations between individuals. They are usually short term, contemporary and require emotional detachment, with a purpose of single sexual activity. Such relationships are outside the milieu of romantic relationships. The connotations ‘friends with benefits’ and ‘casual sex’ are used by most youth to define hookups, since most characterize sexual engagement with no formal relationships. Furthermore, references such as ‘one night stands’ and ‘anonymous sex’ constitute hookups because they are not in the context of a dating relationship unlike conventional dating practices.
Despite research discovering that most teenagers already had their first sexual encounters within the framework of a dating relationship, more than 60% of teenagers will engage in sexual intercourse with individuals that they are not familiar with (Manning, Giordano and Longmore, 387). This is evident because of the ease of sexual involvement among the youth, especially those in college, who admit that they have engaged in sexual activities at some point in their lives. Furthermore, the growing trend of hookups which begun in the late 1980s and 1990s have seen the rate of sexually active youth rapidly increase in the following years. According to Hamilton and Armstrong (590), one third of hookups in the United States usually lead to sexual intercourse. Consequently, a high number of men and women have indeed admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse after hooking up. This reflects the influence hookups have on people regardless of age.
Numerous factors have been attributes of the growing rate in hookups. One of the most popular causatives of informal sexual relations is intoxication from alcohol use. According to Desiderato and Crawford (58), alcohol is a common harbinger to hooking up. This is evidenced by the overwhelming majority of casual sexual experiences, which include alcohol usage by either individuals or partners. Studies have indicated that most young people engaging in casual sex with people they do not know or are recognizable were intoxicated at the time (Manning, Giordano and Longmore, 390). Furthermore, such hookups that are alcohol induced have caused the partners to engage in sexual intercourse without the use of safe sex methods such as condom use. Therefore, without the use of safe sex methods, individuals have been exposed to the risk of contracting dangerous diseases such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS and even unwanted pregnancies among the female gender.
Other reasons for the rapid rise in hookups have been attributed to psychological factors. One psychological factor responsible for casual sex relations is self-esteem. Self-esteem refers to the degree of self-confidence an individual possesses. The level of self-esteem can determine the susceptibility of taking part in hookups. According to Longmore, Manning, Giordano and Rudolph (290), research studies have surmised that men and women with low levels of self-esteem are more susceptible to have hookups and even acquire a larger number of partners. Personality also has an effect on likelihood of having informal sex relations. It refers to general traits or characteristics that are unique among persons. Personality can forecast the participation of young adults and adolescents in casual sexual relationships. People who are less restrictive and accommodating are more predisposed to seek sexual gratification and take up excessive risks.
Hooking up definitely possesses incalculable consequences due to the reckless nature involved in engaging in informal sexual affairs. Such consequences can be psychological where the person engaging in hookups has demoralized expectations, which can lead to negative implications on a young person’s psychological health (Manning, Giordano and Longmore, 470). Furthermore, adolescents and young adults that are involved in casual sex relations are restrained from practicing beneficial relationship skills and aptitudes that can assist them manage durable relationships in the future. Health complications can also arise from hookups because of sexual relations between many partners with little or no sexual history. Such complications can be STIs, HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancies as aforementioned.
Various strategies can be utilized to counter the engagement of hookups by adolescents and young adults. These strategies require the participation of stakeholders such as parents, counselors, community leaders and schools. For instance, young persons can be educated on the physical and psychological repercussions associated with risky and reckless casual sexual behaviors. The youth can also be involved in counseling programs that can aid them in developing constructive relationship faculties. There can also be creation of co-curricular activities that can help foster relationships between the sexes while focusing on establishing life skills and proficiencies. Such activities can involve taking part in club activities and mentorship programs. Parents can also discuss sex education with their children at a younger age to enable them make informed decisions once they become adolescents. Sex education should not only border on sexual intercourse and other sexual activities but should also educate them about consequences and parental values regarding the matter. They can also set regulations that direct and reward appropriate behavior and evaluate the child’s social milieu such as the Internet. Such regulations can be imposing curfew at an appropriate time.
Despite the increase in the rate of hookups, preventive measures cannot only be taken up by the community, school and parents. The government also has a role in protecting young adults from engaging in reckless sexual behavior. The United States economy has experienced a low economic growth rate in the present year. This is mostly attributed to the rate of unemployment that has been steadily increasing over the last years. The current rate of unemployment has seen majority of youths accounting for the high rate in unemployment. Therefore, in order to develop the country’s economy, it is necessary for the government to involve itself in the lives of adolescents and young adults to provide alternatives that will increase their productivity to the economy.
Casual sexual behavior is not advantageous to adolescents and young adults. A few minutes of sexual euphoria and satisfaction leads to damaging defects affecting both the physical and the psychological wellness of an individual. Furthermore, the use of alcohol and other intoxicating substances should be restrained in order to reduce the level of hookups among the youth. Education, community and parental support can assist in protecting the adolescents and young adults from partaking in informal sexual relations. After all, prevention is far more advantageous than cure.
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