Social media has gone viral in recent years. Statistics from 2019 reveal the scale of this new obsession – there are currently 3.5 billion active users on the planet or 45% of the world’s total population. This is increasing exponentially. The trend for online dating isn’t far behind –around 40% of Americans use dating websites. The largest user demographic is millennials, accounting for one in three. So much for the stats. What about the preconceptions?
There’s a stereotypical image of millennials as being impatient when compared to older surfers, tapping into apps like Snapchat geared towards instant communication. When it comes to online dating, they’re not interested in cultivating relationships – they want hookups and they want them tonight! While it’s true the options are there; typically, a single eager for instant action can search for an online hookup at mybesthookup.com. But that’s only part of the picture. There are many sides to the story where hookup culture and millennial relationships are concerned.
Online casual encounters
It’s fair to say a considerable amount of the younger generation is embracing hookup culture. They might be following some of the traditional offline methods, such as hanging around in singles bars or going to nightclubs, or they could be socializing with other millennials in student unions, at college societies, or via activities like speed dating. But they are also drawn to the convenience of dating websites. This has added a whole new dimension to hookup culture. After signing up for any one of a diverse range of sites, members can immediately begin interacting with other singles.
These outlets range in scope, but for someone specifically looking for hookups, there are websites that make this as simple as tapping a few details into a smartphone. Some make this process even more straightforward. A list of profiles is presented to the user’s screen, and all they have to do is swipe right to indicate they are attracted to the subject, left if they aren’t interested. If the person at the other end has also swiped right, then the romance can commence. Sites also use algorithms to ensure their members have every chance of getting paired with compatible individuals in as short a period as possible. GPS systems – the same technology that allows Snapchat users to keep tabs of their friends’ whereabouts – will pinpoint the current location of other singles. If you happen to be in the vicinity, then your hookup can be arranged even more quickly.
Using apps and sites for relationships
While it’s some millennials may have taken to swiping right/left, it’s untrue to assume they are all obsessed with hookup culture. Over-25s are just as likely to be taking advantage of this efficient way to get in touch with prospective partners. Just because hookups are readily available for millennials doesn’t mean they have become the be-all and end-all of relationships. Many younger singles are dissuaded from casual hookups for a variety of reasons. They might be unwilling to act in such an easygoing with people of whom they know nothing of their health histories. In the current pandemic climate, this sense of caution is only going to be exacerbated.
Others are using dating websites because they prefer the idea of a committed partnership. Instead of instant gratification, they’re looking for something more meaningful. Millennials might be making the most of hookup culture, but not at the expense of traditional dating aspirations.