IS THE HOOK-UP CULTURE AS GREAT AS IT SOUNDS? by Art Smukler, author and psychiatrist

The millennials have it made. Right? Sex without strings. The release of all that pent-up sexual frustration without the chains and legalities of marriage. What more can young (and older) men and women ask for? The equality of the sexes has finally arrived and everyone can “get it on” wherever and whenever.

Women can pursue careers and meet their sexual needs without being tethered by needy male partners and having to raise children.

Men can satisfy their sexual needs and not walk around filled with guilt that they misled a bevy of damsels who only agreed to sex as a prelude to marriage.

We as human mammals can revert to our ape-like and chimp-like roots (The Third Chimpanzee, by Jared Diamond) where monogamy is not a need and only primitive instincts rule.

Well, hang on to your wild fantasy life. For most of us it’s not so simple. Also, the wild hook-up culture isn’t all that new. Remember the sixties and seventies? All that “free love”? Back then it wasn’t called hooking-up, it was called having sex with someone who wasn’t all that special.

There was always, for most men and women, the hope that the next person would be the special one, the one who would fill the emptiness and make life more meaningful.

My experience as a psychiatrist and author and recent independent studies validate this observation. Life, even with a lot of mutually rewarding sex, is still empty. Even though we share over 95% of the same genes as our ape ancestors (sorry bible-based theorists), we have evolved, for the good or the bad, into mammals with special needs. Our tribe often needs to include the clichéd “significant other”, a soul mate, a man or woman who will share our cave and our life. Then with the addition of children the tribe becomes pretty complicated.

It gets even more complicated. Because when we finally achieve the goal of finding our soul mate and having children, we long for the freedom of being able to have a new sexual adventure. Maybe our soul mate isn’t really “the one”. Maybe the sexual adventures from our youth should resume? Is marriage all that we hoped for? The fact that 50% of all marriages end in divorce tells us how needy and complicated we really are.

The answer might lie in how we really pick our mates. It’s not all sex. It’s not all logic. It’s something deep in our unconscious that leads us to making that all important decision. Stay tuned in. I have some ideas about where this all comes from and why we do what we do…

Your ideas and thoughts are always welcome.

If you enjoyed reading, Inside the Mind of a Psychiatrist, you might also enjoy Dr. Smukler’s novels, Chasing Backwards, a psychological murder mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear. All are available as paperbacks and eBooks.

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