End to Hookup Culture? Gen Z Rethinking Casual Sex in Post-Roe America

gen z
(Photo: Callum Shaw/Unspalsh)

June 27, 2022

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, Insider published an article detailing Gen Z’s new attitude toward sex in a post-Roe America. Respondents speaking to the outlet say that they have begun to rethink casual sex.

Gen Z is defined as those born from 1996 onward. As Insider reports, they represent the most ethnically and sexually diverse generation on record, with 16.66% of young people identifying as part of the LGBT community. They are also the most progressive, celebrating a larger government, according to Pew Research Center.

(READ MORE: The Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization)

These factors reportedly contribute to the generation’s attitude on sex, which views sex more positively than previous generations. While experts claim that they have less casual sex than millennials, given excessive social media usage, lower alcoholic consumption, and delayed markers of adulthood, one Gen Z-er afraid of living in a post-Roe America described the generation to Insider as “the most open about sex and hookup culture,” regardless of whether one is sexually active or celibate.

Catherine, another Gen Z-er, told Insider that the generation is often burdened with expectations that they will be the generation of change. “The older generation says it’s on Gen Z to be the generation of change, but we shouldn’t have had to be put in that position in the first place,” she said, adding “Why is it on us to change something that should have been fixed 20-plus years ago?”

Exemplifying the generation’s naivety, Catherine assumes that progressive ideas were always “right,” therefore why would it be up to her and her peers to mold the world in an image that they support if those before her had so long to do so?

Catherine is just one of many young adults the outlet spoke to, who said that she is rethinking casual sex since the overturn of Roe v. Wade would mean abortion is no longer a constitutional right. While one young woman said that she is contemplating getting her tubes tied, another swore off sex with men altogether, saying that she will stick to sleeping with women in a post-Roe America. She reportedly “lamented many men’s seeming inability to grasp the life-altering consequences of a one-night stand.”

And one young man expressed the lack of options available if he impregnates a girl. Suddenly, abortion being inaccessible means that he just might have to grasp the “life-altering consequences of a one-night stand,” or other casual sex where commitment is not a prerequisite.

Financial instability was also a concern, especially amid America’s economic crises, higher prices of consumer goods, and an ongoing baby formula crisis.

An End to Hookup Culture?

It’s a wonder what kind of practical effects a post-Roe America will have on the younger generation. We know that their progressive politics contribute to favorable attitudes toward sexual liberation, but assuming experts are correct in saying that young people were having less casual sex already, then, given fears around abortion restrictions, a post-Roe America might see fewer young people having sex without more discretion.

What will become of “hookup culture,” where one-night stands and casual sex are commonplace without requiring commitment from one’s partner? Nevertheless, while Roe is overturned, abortion is still legal in most states.

There was once the saying that Gen Z will be the most conservative generation, or already is. How wrong that turned out to be. Of course, it is still early to tell what will come from Gen Z.

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