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Don’t tell anybody we hooked up!

A few weeks ago, while watching a comedy video with my aunt, we came across the word hook up. Needless to say, it was emphasized as a bad term by the host. My aunt immediately began asking me about what a hook up meant and why the host was portraying it in such a manner. While I had thought that I should explain the concept of a hook up to her, I decided against it and told her that it meant meeting someone new. A topic barely breach able among friends, I had no idea how I should tell my 40-year old aunt how the dating realm has changed from her time and that people in this age are able and more than willing to get intimate with people they just met or might not see ever again.

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A hook-up, better known as friends with benefits or casual relationship, is an arrangement between two people who are physically attracted to each other but not ready to invest in an emotional bonding to fulfill each-others’ sexual desires without forming an emotional relationship with the partner. The increasing use of dating apps and social media platforms allow people to connect instantly and make arrangements for hooking up, without the knowledge of others.

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In a society that is run by a generation that considers pre-marital sex a sin, the younger generation is being more and more influenced by the western culture in terms of physical relationships. People are looking for friends they can get physically intimate with but not have to commit their time and effort to. Mostly popular among people in the early to late twenties, this arrangement allows the people involved to have their sexual desires fulfilled without dealing with the emotional aspects of a committed relationship. Not having enough time for a traditional relationship and not having faith in love are the two most basic explanations that people use to justify their involvement in a casual relationship.

The hook-up culture is a challenge to traditional dating that follows the mindset of having an emotional relationship before a physical one. A majority of the people in Nepal, including youngsters, has a negative impression of the hookup culture and would like to dismiss this culture that goes against our own, but it is not enough to deny that the trend is growing at an astonishing rate behind locked doors.

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Psychologists in the western part of the world state that casual sex has a plethora of benefits but does not deny the fact that it can lead to problems bigger than the pleasure it can provide. Casual sex has various health benefits, relieves stress, and saves from emotional trauma but only when done correctly with trustworthy people. The most common mistake that the casual partners make is that they do not inquire about each other’s sexual health status and compromise on protection in hopes of greater pleasure. This can lead to various sexually transmitted diseases and cause unwanted pregnancy, which can be very difficult to handle in a non-emotional relationship.

However, in the context of Nepal, the problem is not whether or not people are indulging in casual sex, but that they are doing so secretively due to the taboo around the topic. The act of hooking up is considered such a taboo that even talking about it with friends is hard, let alone with parents or guardians. This “don’t tell anybody we hooked up” arrangement can make way for a variety of problems such as increased crime rates, cyberstalking, blackmail using explicit photos or videos taken during intimacy, and increased spread of sexual diseases due to the discomfort of talking or asking partners regarding their health. The fear of criticism combined with the lack of proper sex education can lead to youngsters taking extreme measures such as illegal abortion, self-diagnosis, and treatment of diseases as well as suicides in case of unwanted pregnancy.

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While whether a person gets involved in casual sex or not is purely an act of individual preference, the consideration of one’s own safety should always be a matter of priority. Casual sex should be an option only when the partner is trusted and protection measures are adopted properly. Awareness must be raised regarding the issue to encourage discussions about sex and such non-emotional relationships. We, as youngsters, have a huge role to play in the lives of our teenage siblings by creating a safer and more welcoming environment for them to talk about such taboo topics. By being open about the topic of casual sex, we will be able to help them prevent many problems associated with the act and feel supported in whatever decisions they make for themselves.

After reading the article, what are your thoughts about casual sex and its growing trend in Nepal? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by Prajita Gupta

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