Hooking Up vs. Dating: Is There Really a Difference?

If you’ve been on the dating scene for a while and have found yourself thinking things aren’t the same as they were years ago, it’s not your imagination. The internet already changed the game drastically decades ago and made it so people were no longer limited to the folks they met in their daily life or through friends.

Now the rise of mobile technology has changed it again. Eligible daters have more choices than ever when it comes to people to date. They’re no longer limited to a particular type of relationship or dating protocol, either. If they want a traditional forever love, they can have that. But if they want endless, limitless variety without strings attached, they can have that, too.

Is hooking up even its own thing anymore, or is that just how people do things in the age of dating apps and mobile technology? Here’s a look at how things shake out these days.

A hookup lifestyle can have more than one goal

It’s a common misconception that literally everyone out there who’s into one-night stands and casual sex sees it as a permanent lifestyle choice. Yes, many people prefer those types of connections because they’re too busy for a traditional relationship or simply don’t want one. But that’s not the case for everyone.

Many people who enjoy hooking up are ultimately looking for a long-term relationship with someone they can build a life with. But they don’t consider it wise to put all their eggs in one basket or to jump into anything serious with someone right away. They do, however, evaluate their hookup partners for long-term potential on a case-by-case basis.

Many people mix hooking up with traditional dating

The ubiquity of various dating apps and hookup networks definitely means people have more choices, but not everyone uses them exclusively. Plenty of people still enjoy meeting people to date at social events, through friends, at work, or at school. But they also like to fill in any unwanted gaps in their dating schedule with app-based encounters.

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Similar trends can also be seen in how people manage other aspects of their lives. For example, someone may well have a traditional day job but also take on freelance work online, drive for Uber, or find odd jobs through an app to make extra money on the side. They may have a traditional offline social life but also socialize a fair amount on social media.

Both men and women enjoy casual sex and hooking up

It’s a common misconception that only men like casual sex, one-night stands, and friends-with-benefits relationships. Many women enjoy them, too, and for the same reasons men do.

  • Hookup apps and casual dating can be terrific, convenient ways to meet new people on a busy schedule.
  • App-based dating and hookup apps offer access to an immense range of people and options regarding what kind of connection they can experience.
  • Hooking up can offer people the best of both worlds – the opportunity to form deeper connections without the actual obligation to do so.
  • Hooking up, casual sex, and no-strings-attached dating let people build sexual experience, explore their own sexuality, and figure out what they’re really looking for.

In other words, hooking up as a lifestyle and social choice is about a lot more than just sex. It’s a way for young, busy, or modern people to connect with other people and explore their options without the pressure to commit to something they just aren’t ready for.

It also helps people stay social and meet people in a world where work, school, and even errand-running take place online a lot of the time. It helps make up for chance encounters and random relationships that may not be happening for someone anymore the way they used to in the past.

Hooking up is just an extension of dating

So has hookup culture actually replaced traditional dating as it used to be? For people who honestly prefer doing things this way, it may have. But for everyone else, apps and online dating platforms have really just opened up their options and given them more choices as to how they do things.

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It’s similar to the way the gig economy and the rise of online freelance work boards have given people more choices as to how they earn a living. Sure, online alternatives can be a full-scale replacement if a person wishes, but that mainly occurs when the old way of doing things didn’t suit people to begin with.

Hooking up and casual sex are extensions of the dating world that already existed before the internet came along. Whether you embrace it instead of traditional dating or in addition to it is entirely up to you.

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