Wednesday, July 7, 2010

how to find love..in a world full of hookups

a bit of reading...but totally worth it.
i found this article in GLAMOUR June 2010 issue. i really liked it and it felt good to read so i thought i'd share it with you.

"It wasn't easy for my friend, let's call her Sarah, to accept that she had a problem. A gorgeous 32 year-old actress from Los Angeles whose sexual history is the stuff of legends) she'd cemented her status at 16 when she sneaked the singer of a famous band through the bedroom window of her parent's house), Sarah was on her fourth date with Josh. They were getting along, and it seemed about time to sleep together. But as great as he was, Sarah didn't want to have sex with him. "As soon as I realized I was into him, I got super anxious about us doing it," she says. "The worst part is I was having sex with other people, just not the guy I actually liked." She soon realized it was more than nervousness: Sarah had a serious hang-up about intimacy. "After so many casual encounters, I saw sex and relationships as two totally different things," she says.
No one understood Sarah's crisis better than my other friend Kelley. Smart and funny, this nurse from Washington, D.C., never has trouble meeting guys. Yet on the rare nights when she's not at the hospital, Kelley finds herself doing exactly what we did as undergrads: going out with friends, letting loose and hooking up with cute men she meets in bars. But at 29, Kelly wonders: "Am I too old for this? Should I be dating in a more grown-up way?"
Another way to ask that: Is a good old-fashioned dating dead? The "hookup culture" of drunken make-out sessions and casual sex isn't just for college kids anymore; it's everywhere. Why? For starters the average age of a first marriage is rising-it's just shy of 26, up from 23.9 in 1990-giving us all a little more time to play. And no-strings-attached sex isn't something that only bad girls do anymore. "No one dates," says Samantha, 25, from Pittsburgh. "It's simply 'Who are you hooking up with?'" Basically, we're all on an extended spring break.
Arguably, in many ways, this is great for women. ("I'm having fun-lots of it! stresses Kelly.) Aside from the sexual fulfillment, there's more time to focus on careers and other life experiences before making a commitment. "Women today have longer to explore their options than back in the sixties and seventies, when even for many free-lovin' hippies, the goal was to get married and have children before 30," says Laura Sessions Stepp, author of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both.
With the old rules gone- like "nice girls don't" and "sleep with him after the third date"-the good news is that we have the freedom to make our own. But the bad news, according to Sarah and many of the women Glamour spoke to? The longer you stay on spring break, the harder it can be to return to the real world. So how do you go from making out in bars to meeting the love of your life? By living by these three bits of advice, in bed and out:
1. BE CLEAR ON WHERE YOU STAND. Earlier this year, a group of journalism students at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont, conducted a survey of undergrads and their dating habits. Of the 400 participants, "the majority expressed concern that they were going to have a lot of trouble dating once they left school," says Michelle Chapdelaine, 21, one of the seniors behind the study. "They weren't at all sure how to go about starting real relationships."
Elyse Purcell, a doctoral student in philosophy at Boston College, noticed the same thing when, as part of an assignment, she had her students ask someone they liked out on a date-something that most of them hadn't done before-and write about the experience. For many, says Purcell, "the hookup culture on campus left them unsure about how dating worked: When was it OK to have sex? How do you know if someone is interested in a relationship?" As Chapdelaine points out, "In college, there's a total dependence on texting and Facebook to flirt and communicated. And then we graduate and don't know how to be real people."
And that can go double for guys. Take Alyssa's experience. This confident 30 year-old marketing assistant in New York City found herself involved with one such unevolved man named Ted. "We'd met online and hooked up a few times," she says. "It was nothing serious, but we would hang out, make dinner, go to moves. One night I got a text from him that said, 'Want to come over?'" Alyssa was in the neighborhood, so she dropped by without responding, "When I got there, another girl was on the couch. Turns out he'd sent a mass 'get booty' text! He was seeing tons of women, and I had no idea because I thought it would be too much to have the big exclusivity talk."
That's extreme, but try finding a single person without a name (or two) in their Black Berry that they reach out to when bored or lonely. Which is why, Alyssa says, after Ted, "I now ask point-blank--in a casual way, not as some major sit-down conversation: How many people are you seeing? I don't need a shock like that again." And, she's found, her prospective suitors appreciate the straight-forwardness. "I think they're actually grateful," Alyssa says. "No one likes playing games. And they also want to know what you're up to." Plus, the approach has a built-in jerk detector. "If they're coy about it, they're not people I want to spend time with."
TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANT. As much as women today are like Sex and the City's Samantha about asking for exactly what they want in bed, many still can't summon the courage to talk about what they want out of it. "We try to be like, 'I'm strong and independent. I don't need a relationship,'" says Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him : The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. "What's weird is that we confuse wanting a relationship with being needy. Sometimes we do want a relationship--knowing that and saying that is empowering." But the pressure to appear blase is strong. "Women can get afraid," says Gottlieb. "They think, If I put what I want out there, he'll go for some other girl who's happy with things as is." But--news flash--you don't want that guy anyway.
Jennifer, 28, from Boston, didn't know what to do after she hooked up with her longtime work crush, Josh, following a happy hour that stretched into the morning. The next day, he made pancakes and kissed her before leaving, yet she found herself acting cold. "It wasn't how I felt at all," she says. "I was thinking, What does this mean? Does he like me? Is this just a one night stand?" She didn't vocalize any of these questions, though. "I was too scared he didn't feel the same way."
Back at the office, she played it cool. For the next few months, they went out a couple of times for drinks, never discussing the night they'd slept together. "We would joke and flirt and do all of the same things we usually did, but it was stilted, like we were sort of warily circling each other," Jennifer says. "Finally, I got sick of it and wrote him an e-mail that said, 'I'm not going to play games. I have feelings for you. If all you want is a hookup, then you have to go elsewhere." He e-mailed back within three minutes and asked if she could meet him that night for dinner. They're still going strong.
DON'T FORGET YOUR NEEDS/WANTS/DREAMS. If rule number one is talk and number two is, essentially, talk some more, rule number three is talk...to yourself (and then, of course, to him). It all comes down to knowing what you want and then asking for it. "This sounds so hokey," says Laura Sessions Stepp. "But women need to pay attention to their feelings." Young women, she points out, spend so much time working, being busy and burning off steam sexually that they forget to assess their emotional goals. Ask yourself if what you're doing tonight is going to get you what you truly want---in a year, in a month or even simply the next morning.
For Samantha, 26, casual hooking up is fine, for now. "I like to go out, get a few drinks and have fun as much as any other self-respecting girl my age," she says. But she does hope that one day it will lead to something more--like it did for Ellen, 25, from Washington, D.C. Ellen met Carl at a party, they got tipsy and ended up making out on the dance floor. Afterward, he came back to her apartment, where Ellen realized she'd changed her mind about wanting to have sex. Still, he spent the night...spooning her. "Who knew this frat boy was such a gentleman?" she says. Three and half years later, they are very much together and very much in love. "Friends always ask us how the hell we made it work," says Ellen. "Whenever his buddies wonder how they can land a girlfriend at a bar, I tell them this: Hook up with a girl you just met like she's your wife...and hook up with your wife like she's a girl you just met. I swear that's the ticket."

i typed this entire article -so sorry if there are any errors. ((it felt good to type this much & exercise my skills))

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