User swiping for matches on Tinder. Photo by Kyrsten Stringer.

 

Modern hookup culture is more prominent than ever, and with the help of a mobile app called Tinder, casual flings can sometimes be effortless.

It’s well known that nightclubs and bars are a common place for people looking to hook up with someone. It’s not unusual to see other patrons attempting to court someone into coming home with them for a one night stand.

Thanks to Tinder, people don’t need to meet someone in person to get to know them. Users create a profile consisting of a handful of pictures and a short biography. Afterward, users can view other profiles, and swipe left to say “no,” or swipe right to “like” the person’s profile. If two people swipe right on each other’s profile, they will “match” and then be able to message one another.

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Tinder has progressed hookup culture by allowing users to potentially bypass the effort put into courtship by simply messaging their matches online. It can be viewed as lazy, but people still find success taking the online route.

“There’s no more work being put into what leads to a hookup. Now, it’s just sending a couple messages here and there, and you meet up and have sex,” said Ashley Henrion, a Tinder user. “Not all matches lead to hooking up, though. For me, if I have a good connection with someone I’m physically attracted to, I’m going to want to hook up with them."

The ease of hookups through Tinder can be seen as a positive for some, but there is a troubling aspect about the app’s user base. Research that Jessica Strübel, PhD, presented to the American Psychology Association showed evidence of a correlation between Tinder’s users and low self-esteem. Some use hookups to combat this problem.

”My self-esteem is unstable. One minute I feel like Beyoncé, fierce and hot. The next I’m basically the most unattractive person you could set your eyes on,” Henrion admits. “(Hooking up) is definitely an affirmation thing. I think I look good, and now I know he thinks I look good, too. It’s a confidence boost."

Erica Sweatman, who is strictly against hookup culture, believes casual flings are not a constructive way to boost self-esteem. In Sweatman’s opinion, those who use hookups for this reason lack self-respect. “Some people feel like they have something to prove, and can prove it by being able to hookup with multiple people,” said Sweatman. “Maybe it makes them feel better to know that someone is attracted to their body."

Sweatman has also experienced a hookup in her past, but she had a hard time coping with the guilt knowing that she didn’t care about who she was intimate with. In her opinion, hookups are disrespectful to both parties. She believes uncommitted intimacy tends to lead to unrequited feelings. “I just don’t understand how someone can be so open to any random person that they don’t know on a personal level,” Sweatman said.

Unlike Sweatman, Sarah Tollefson holds a neutral perspective on hookup culture despite being in a committed relationship. “I can see that it’s probably fun for people who do enjoy it, but I like being with someone I know and trust that I can be with for a long time, especially in the act of intimacy” said Tollefson. “You learn and experience new things together. I believe it’s something you do with someone you really care about."

Regardless of the reason why people engage in hookup culture, many find it a thrilling and enjoyable experience. Whether someone is for or against hookups, it’s each individual’s personal choice to do what satisfies them.