On TV and in the movies today we see lots of young, healthy, attractive people taking part in friends with benefits scenarios or no strings attached sex. Meanwhile, frustrated wives and overweight inept husbands blanket the TV and movie screens. Monogamy is seen as passé by many millennials. In a survey last year many millennials said they thought marriage would soon die out. So here’s a riddle spawned in real life, another case of either life imitating art or art imitating life. Is monogamy’s death due to Hollywood? Or is Tinsel town merely reflecting a cultural phenomenon taking place in our country today?
First, there’s the fact that Hollywood is only out to entertain. A sexy young couple trying to feel their way through a friends with benefits scenario is far more interesting than a married couple trying to decide what color tile should go in the new bathroom. TV teen shows also portray torrid love affairs to long term romances. “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Glee” are all a testament to this. Also shows like “No Strings Attached” and “Friends with Benefits” made it onto the small screen for adult viewing this year.
Dr. Jeffrey Gardere a clinical psychologist recently spoke on this phenomenon, the lack of monogamy and the widespread portrayal of hookup culture. “To some extent Hollywood may be promoting the hook up mentality because that is much more exciting and sexy than promoting monogamy and stable relationships. Today’s younger culture is about the hook up and fun instead of settling down, so certainly Hollywood will play to that audience. I also believe there is a tendency to promote that lifestyle as being more easy to achieve than it actually is. There are not enough stories about the emotional and even physical repercussions to the hook-up mentality.”
But Jessica Wakeman, famous author and blogger on women’s issues and pop culture for popular website TheFrisky.com said, “Hollywood is not accurate about a lot of things regarding sexuality, but I do think it portrays ‘hook-up culture’ somewhat accurately. Teenagers and young adults today are a lot more comfortable hooking up with each other without further commitment than at any other point in history. A lot of us have friends with benefits to meet our needs for sexuality and companionship.” Most experts agree that although Hollywood does influence us psychologically, it’s mostly economic reasons that have changed male-female relationships and gender roles. Still, the impact and role Hollywood plays in shaping our perception of this phenomenon will be debated for some time to come. To learn more about hookup culture read, The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused about Intimacy by Donna Freitas.