She got tired of relationships that just faded away, “no end, no beginning.” Like many of the other college women I talked with, Tali and her friends seemed much more sexually experienced and knowing than my friends at college.
On a mild fall afternoon in 2011, I sat in a courtyard with some undergraduates at Yale to ask about their romantic lives.
A few months earlier, a group of mostly feminist-minded students had filed a Title IX complaint against the university for tolerating a “hostile sexual environment on campus.” The students specifically cited a 2010 incident when members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity stood outside freshman dorms chanting “No means yes! ” I’d heard this phrase before, from the business-school students, of course: on spring break, they had played a game called “dirty rounds”—something like charades, except instead of acting out movie or book titles, they acted out sex slogans like the one above, or terms like pink sock (what your anus looks like after too much anal sex).
In another corner of the room, a beautiful Asian woman in her second year at school was entertaining the six guys around her with her best imitation of an Asian prostitute—“Oooo, you so big. In my country, a girl like this would be desperate. America has unseated the Scandinavian countries for the title of Easiest Lay. Or is there, maybe, a different way to analyze the scene that had just unfolded?
Me love you long time”—winning the Tucker Max showdown before any of the guys had even tried to make a move on her. We are, in the world’s estimation, a nation of prostitutes. Admittedly, what the Argentinean and I had just witnessed fills the nightmares of those who lament the evil hookup culture: ubiquitous porn, young women so inured to ubiquitous porn that they don’t bother to protest, young women behaving exactly like frat boys, and no one guarding the virtues of honor, chivalry, or even lasting love.
The men at the party flashed the snapshot at the women, and the women barely bothered to roll their eyes.
These were not women’s-studies types, for sure; they were already several years out of college and proud veterans of the much maligned hookup culture that, over the past 15 years or so, has largely replaced dating on college campuses and beyond.
Single young women in their sexual prime—that is, their 20s and early 30s, the same age as the women at the business-school party—are for the first time in history more successful, on average, than the single young men around them.
They are more likely to have a college degree and, in aggregate, they make more money.
The hookup culture that has largely replaced dating on college campuses has been viewed, in many quarters, as socially corrosive and ultimately toxic to women, who seemingly have little choice but to participate.