(Daniel Salas/AQ)

Since the mid-2000s, surveys have shown upwards of 70 per cent of young adults engage in hookups, but some students at St. Thomas University feel hookup culture affects how they present themselves to others and who they trust.

When presenting themselves online, some people, like second-year student Joseph Debly, hide some aspects of themselves to be more appealing on dating apps. He knows which parts of himself are “most appealing and least appealing.”

“I’m a really big fan of art and theatre and the Muppets and sometimes people are judgmental of that,” he said. “I don’t put stuff like that on my dating apps because I don’t want to scare people off.”

Debly feels that dating apps can often be “dehumanizing” as a member of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. He knows a lot of closeted people who use the apps but aren’t looking for relationships and just want sex.

“It feels like I’m kind of a human object,” he said.

Debly said dating apps can also be harmful because they can affect a person’s ability to trust others. Removing people from the apps and “ghosting,” where users spontaneously stop messaging or responding to messages from another person, can be harmful.

He’s used it as a defence mechanism so he wouldn’t risk getting hurt and said it can mess up a person.

Ana Vasquez, a first-year student at STU, thinks hookup culture is more beneficial for men because the terminology can often have misogynistic roots.

“We insult people who are open about seeking pleasure as ‘sluts’ and other female-based insults,” she said.

Vasquez feels there is a toxic expectation that women are more valued if they are “innocent.”

“Women are labeled as ‘easy’ while men are glorified for hooking up,” she said. “This is why society divides women into ‘the girls you marry versus the girls you have fun with.’”

Vasquez feels hookup culture has become so widely accepted in today’s society that it now serves as a model for how a relationship should be.

“We are starting to focus more on the physical aspects of relationships rather than emotional connections,” said Vasquez.

But Debly feels it’s okay for people who use dating apps for casual sex — as long as people know their boundaries.

“I used to think that was a bad thing, but it’s good that people know that they’re not ready for a relationship,” he said.

“As long as you’re having respect for the other person and your bodies and for yourself.”

With files from Fernanda Sanchez.