The names of students quoted in this piece have been changed to maintain anonymity in this personal topic.

It is undeniable that sex has become casual. Sex and emotions or love do not necessarily go hand-in-hand anymore. It is common for college students to “hook-up” without dating and sex is discussed openly in public.

On one hand, we are biological beings and biologically, our sole purpose for surviving on this earth is to reproduce. So, is engaging in casual sex just a fulfillment of our basic, fundamental purpose as humans? Many might agree that we are more than just biological organisms. Our highly evolved minds have allowed us to think consciously about sex; We have attached emotion and stigma to it. To many who cannot think of it in such simple terms, sex is more than a mere animalistic ritual.

The topic is complex. There are those “hippie-dippy” types who believe in free sex. For anyone who has seen the movie “Wanderlust,” the characters who live on the commune engage in free sex and do not see it as cheating. They see it as a basic human need, something that can be shared between individuals without having emotional repercussions or negative consequences.

Gender roles in the 21st century are changing, which has affected the way women view sex. It is no longer necessarily the norm to get married and have kids. The advent of birth control has also changed the way women view sex. People used to avoid casual sex for fear of becoming pregnant, but birth control eliminates that worry.

In an age where female empowerment is important to many women, we have respect for ourselves and our bodies and for some, that respect translates to steering clear from casual sex in order to maintain a level of control that is surrendered during intimacy.  For others, however, this empowerment promotes casual sex because if men can do it, why can’t we?

“I think casual sex is great as long as both people are being safe and honest to each other about it and I think it’s a way to relieve stress,” said University of Rhode Island senior, Priscilla.

“We’re in a different generation now, we’re all more open about things,” said Misty, a junior.  “We’re more comfortable with being sexual than ever before. I don’t see anything wrong with it as long as it’s consensual.”

It is a common contradiction that men are almost encouraged to engage in casual sex while women are disparaged for doing so. Women who engage in casual sex are called “sluts” but men either get no recognition at all or are congratulated for their conquest. When two members of the opposite sex randomly hook-up at a party, for instance, it is common for the female to be called a “slut” while no one says anything about the male… It takes two to tango.

Nowadays, sex is everywhere (sex sells, right?). Many of the popular R&B and hip-hop songs played on the radio encourage females to promote themselves sexually. They also discuss sex in a vulgar, explicit manner, that portrays sex as being casual and emotionless.

The lyrics of Don’t Tell ‘Em by Jeremih featuring YG state, “I got a missed call from your b***h… She wanna suck my d**k and I’m cool with it… It’s that twitter p***y I met on the internet, on my late-night thirsty, ’cause it was late-night and I was thirsty….If anything you were just exploring, you wasn’t cheating. She got my number stored under fake names. Her n***a think she faithful, but she running game.”

The following lyrics from Studio by Schoolboy Q featuring BJ The Chicago Kid also depict sex in a raw fashion, “Throw that p***y shorty, see I think you and me can make it. This little verse to get you naked… When that door knock lose your thong, girl… Can I hit that p***y way I wanna while this record playin’? Put my tongue in different places, play a game of Operation… I’mma put this d**k up all inside of you.”

The entirety of Anaconda by Nicki Minaj is another example of how popular culture influences the standard of acceptable views and behavior. These songs desensitize listeners and in doing so, create a culture in which sex is encouraged and, in some cases, expected. Girls in music videos are twerking, a dance move that involves explicitly shaking ones scantily clad behind, wearing barely any clothes. Magazine covers of popular magazines such as Cosmopolitan read, “75 Sex Moves Men Crave” or, “Hot Sex: 24 Moves to Unleash Your Inner Bad Girl!”

Popular media is telling females that is state of hyper-sexuallity is where we need to be in order to get attention from males, but then when we act like that we get called “sluts!” The value of sex as an intimate, meaningful experience between two individuals has been diminished.

The media also portrays sex much differently than it is in real life. In movies or television shows, both parties act like their intercorse is the most amazing sex ever when actually, most men, “Can’t f**k you worth a damn,” to quote popular television series “Sex and the City”.

“I must have had sex with this kid on the lacrosse team at least 50 times and not once did I finish,” said Misty.

“The first time I had sex with my ex-boyfriend he finished and I was like, ‘That was it?’ And he just said, ‘Most girls just tell me to hop off,’” Priscilla said.

We have an innate need to be sexually active and our complicated modern society has brought a complexity to this basic need. Each person has their own opinion about casual sex which is completely justified in its own right so long as you’re to yourself. Whether you engage in casual sex or not, it should be a decision that is thoughtful and well-informed with a skeptical eye on the influence of others and popular media.