Editorial: Hook-Up Culture is the New Cool Girl

Editorial: Hook-Up Culture is the New Cool Girl

Dunedin hook-up culture has gaslighted us all into prioritising male pleasure over female pleasure, and just accepting this as the norm. Women’s sexual enjoyment is swept aside, and being okay with this is added to the criteria of Cool Girl. You’re a Cool Girl if you have mediocre one night stands where the guy gets off (if he doesn’t have whiskey dick) and leaves your vagina drier than the breatha’s chat who’s snoring beside you.

As a clitoris-owner, I’ve grown accustomed to separating the idea of having sex with a man and cumming. The two just don’t seem to be compatible. They belong in separate files within the folder of my sex life. In my first relationship, I faked it for two years; I couldn’t have told you why at the time. I was taught nothing about sexual pleasure at school, only how to insert a tampon, that STDs are bad (without many specifics beyond this), and the anatomically correct terms for genitals. 

It was about a year into my high school relationship when the thought even occurred to either of us that an orgasm might be something I could enjoy too. This wasn’t either of our fault. Our ignorance was the product of a sub-par sex education system in Aotearoa (and the fact that we both went to single-sex Catholic high schools probably), combined with the internet age where most of our early exposure to sex was through porn. 

I’ve since learned that there is a huge variety of factors that contribute towards achieving orgasm for vag-owners. The Journal of Sexual Medicine says that reaching orgasm is harder with a vagina than a penis. Not only does our anatomy make it more of a mission — compared to penis-owners, as well as clitorises of all different shapes and sizes — but our mindset contributes hugely to being able to finish. It takes a hot minute to connect with our bodies and get in the mood when being intimate. So, for me, having that complete separation in my head has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And the sad thing is, I know I’m not alone. I can’t claim to speak to the universal experience of all vag-owners, but any time I’ve confided in female friends over my personal struggles, I’ve been met with a chorus of agreement over the weird guilt and laziness with which I now tend to approach my own sexual pleasure when having sex with a man. If the sex is a one-off with a guy, I don’t even bother. One time I had to argue against a guy trying to make me cum because I genuinely was so jaded from successive failures that I wanted to just have a lazy fuck that meant a sure-thing orgasm for at least one of us. But more often than not, it's not on their radar at all.

I was lucky enough to experience all my firsts within a relationship, and even we didn’t get it right. I can’t begin to imagine what it would have been like for those who dived straight into the Dunedin hook-up culture – a culture that saw my dinner proposal to a Tinder guy last year shot down with a, “No can do sorry. I’m a pump and dump kinda guy.” Not kidding.

We’re being coerced in Dunedin to think that this “pump and dump” culture should be celebrated as some sort of sexual liberation for all. If that were the case, women would be having more orgasms. Of course, casual sex is more diverse and complicated than my experiences of it. But casual sex doesn’t mean viewing your sexual partner as just a hole to fuck. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do everything in your power to make sure they feel safe and comfortable, and that their pleasure, as well as yours, is important.

You don’t have to be in a committed relationship to learn how to pleasure the person you are having sex with. Even better, if you have sex with vag-owners, buy a vibrator. If you’re having sex with someone with female anatomy, why wouldn’t you own a toy meant to maximise their pleasure? According to Wikipedia (lame, I know), they’re recommended by sex therapists for women who have difficulty reaching orgasm through masturbation or intercourse. 

Casual sex is fun and is nothing to be ashamed of. But dear penis-owners: please stop “pumping and dumping” for a quick jizz and leaving me and my fellow vag-owners high and (quite literally) dry.

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2024.
Posted 3:38pm Saturday 23rd March 2024 by Nina Brown.