Georgetown’s CAPS gives you 10 reasons to date instead of hook up

Sex Positive Week 2010—a week geared toward helping students feel comfortable talking openly about sex and sexuality—is wrapping up. For its part, the Voice was pleased to see the University fund SPW for a second year in a row. “SPW is a much-needed antidote to the limited, overwhelmingly conservative dialogue that currently takes place on campus about sexuality,” wrote its editorial board.

How limited and overwhelmingly conservative? Well, recently, the Voice came across a curious treatise on the Georgetown University Counseling and Psychiatric Services website called the “Top Ten Reasons Why Dating is Better Than Hooking Up.”

Vox thinks this list—which more or less argues that STIs, emotional pain, pressure to go sexually farther than you’re comfortable with, pregnancy, pregnancy ending in abortion, unreciprocated feelings, and walks of shame are never risks in dating and always risks of hooking up—is a good example of the conservative (and sometimes ridiculous) platforms Georgetown has found itself capable of espousing in the past.

In an e-mail, Phil Meilman, the Director of CAPS, suggested that CAPS had not been aware of the existence of the page.

“It has been there for at least four years, if not longer, and we are unsure who authored it or posted it. However, we do not believe it is appropriate for our website and we are removing it.”

Thank goodness. Here’s a look at what one anonymous sage at CAPS once found appropriate to tell students of Georgetown (And for your reference, the full text of what was on the page is after the jump.):

  • “4 ) With dating, the worst thing you will go home with is a doggie bag”



    That’s a reference to STIs. Apparently, it is physically impossible for people who are dating to transmit STIs, lie about having STIs, assume they don’t need to get tested for STIs and transmit them, or not know they have STIs. Or engage in any behavior that would make any of those things possible.


  • “5 ) Dating results in less emotional energy/fallout” — “Because you don’t get emotionally entangled in a hook up (or so they say), and there isn’t any danger of rejection, it seems there should be no fear of being hurt. However, some of the greatest emotional wounds inflicted are the result of hooking up—pregnancy and even abortion, contracting an STD (herpes and gonorrhea are contracted as easily from oral sex as from intercourse) or date rape—which occurs with alarming frequency. How devastating to have to endure these things, and how much worse as a result of being with someone who doesn’t care about you? You really can get over a broken heart. But herpes lasts forever.”



    I guess whoever wrote this appreciates that dating can leave you with a broken heart, but came to the conclusion that on the whole, because hook-ups end in pregnancy, viral STIs, abortions, and pregnancies with such high frequency—as opposed to the low frequency with which dating ends in a breakup—hook-ups are, all in all, much more hurtful. On the other hand, if you are in a relationship with someone, you cannot contract an STI, your partner will never pressure or force you to go further sexually than is comfortable for you, and you cannot get pregnant.



    As for the author’s remark about date rape, it’s just too egregious to respond sarcastically to. It seems that he or she is arguing that if you are victim of acquaintance rape, it’s because you opted for a hook-up. Not because your sexual partner raped you. Well, maybe that too. But if you hadn’t consented to other sexual acts that didn’t involve intercourse in the first place, they seem to say, you never would have gotten raped.


  • “7 ) Dating is better than hooking up because using someone, and being used, is never cool”

    Yes, everyone knows that consensual, safe sex is always completely exploitative.


  • “8 ) Dating is empowering for a woman — It’s often said that it’s empowering for a woman to be able to hook-up—to own her sexuality. Is this really what’s going on?”

    That’s right ladies, Georgetown is onto you—it knows that first and foremost, you’re hooking up to prove to your insecure self that you have control over how you engage with others.


Here’s the full text of the Top Ten list that formerly appeared on CAPS’ website:

Top Ten Reasons Why Dating is Better than Hooking Up

10) Dating requires practice, hooking up doesn’t.

Obviously, hooking up doesn’t require too much practice- that’s why you can do it after drinking too much. You might be thinking to yourself, ‘to me this would make hooking up BETTER than dating.’ But at some point, if you want to find a life partner (THE ONE), practice dating is a necessary preliminary stage. Of course, there are lots of exceptions to this- many go straight from the hook up to marriage- especially in Vegas, a la Britney Spears!

So assuming you need to date at some point in your lives, why does it require practice? Because you are a different person as a dating partner than you are in any other relationship; and what you value in your partner is different from what you value in other relationships.

Here’s an analogy- many of you will find out that what makes an ideal friend has little to do with what makes an ideal roommate- that some of your best friends make lousy roommates- because certain qualities, like fiscal irresponsibility, don’t matter much in friendship, but matter a lot in a roommate. You will also discover you have qualities you didn’t realize- for instance, you may be very social, but prefer a lot of privacy at home. You begin to learn more about who you are and what you value only in the context of different relationships ? and it’s the same with dating.

9) Dating is less ambiguous.

Again, it probably seems like the opposite is true, because in the hook up everything is all on the table- “I want you, you want me- let’s go!” But when you hook up with someone, you really have no idea how they really feel about you. One student said his standard for a hook up is he won’t hook up with someone drunker than himself; and this is probably not the girl he would bring home to meet mom.

And often after a hook up you are left with the nagging question, does he/she actually like me? Could this go anywhere? Even after ten Saturdays in a row- you?re still no closer to knowing the answer. With dating, it’s straightforward- a person agrees to a date is because they want to get to know you better.

8) Dating is empowering for a woman.

It’s often said that it’s empowering for a woman to be able to hook up- to own her sexuality. Is this really what’s going on? When you hook up with someone, you encourage another to regard you as an object for immediate pleasure- (as far as I know, this is not a tenet of the feminist movement). While it may be fine with you to be regarded as an object- what may be really empowering to you, is knowing that you too regard him/her as an object- using someone else for your pleasure and maybe self-worth? Is this empowering or self-destructive? When you date someone, you are demanding that he/she get to know YOU- to know your political views, your family history, your talents, your hobbies; you?ve raised the bar substantially! Bringing us to the next point-

7) Dating is better than hooking up because using someone, and being used, is never cool.


6) You shouldn’t be ashamed of your feelings.

When you hook up, you make a tacit agreement to share yourself sexually without demanding anything emotionally from your partner. So if you develop feelings for someone you are hooking up with, which is both natural and maybe even inevitable, and are upset when the person you are hooking up with hooks up with someone else or ignores you at a party, it feels as if you?ve done something wrong for getting emotionally invested- Where did we learn that it?s good not to care about sharing our bodies with someone who is indifferent, but bad to have feelings for someone with whom we share our body

5) Dating results in less emotional energy/fallout.

Because you don’t get emotionally entangled in a hook up (or so they say), and there isn’t any danger of rejection, it seems there should be no fear of being hurt. However, some of the greatest emotional wounds inflicted are the result of hooking up- pregnancy and even abortion, contracting an STD (herpes and gonorrhea are contracted as easily from oral sex as from intercourse) or date rape- which occurs with alarming frequency. How devastating to have to endure these things, and how much worse as a result of being with someone who doesn’t care about you? You really can get over a broken heart; but herpes lasts forever. To my next point-

4) With dating, the worst thing you will go home with is a doggie bag.


3) The biggest Players don’t date!

What garlic is to vampires, patience and chastity are to Players. People who thrive on the hook up are usually players (it’s the emotional detachment that makes this easy). But very few players will stick around with someone who makes it clear that sex isn’t an easy given. While many may not accept this kind of countercultural idea, you will weed out the ones that will simply waste your time and always break your heart. Don’t underestimate the people who care about you; more people than you could imagine will be happy and willing to respect your boundaries (after all, knowing who you are and what you want is incredibly attractive!) Meeting your needs and showing you respect is never a chore for someone who really cares about you. NEVER.

2) You might go for a walk on a date, but not a Walk of Shame!


1) “Feeling someone” right away, doesn’t have to mean feeling someone right away.

8 Comments on “Georgetown’s CAPS gives you 10 reasons to date instead of hook up

  1. Other highlights:

    You might go for a walk on a date, but not a Walk of Shame!

    Feeling someone right away doesn’t have to mean feeling someone right away.

  2. First of all, your post here is a bit confusing b/c it’s not entirely clear where quotes from the page end and your snide commentary begins. For instance “That’s a reference to STIs. Apparently, it is physically impossible for people who are dating to transmit STIs, lie about having STIs, assume they don’t need to get tested for STIs and transmit them, or not know they have STIs. Or engage in any behavior that would make any of those things possible.” is not on the page. It’s just your sarcastic barb. You might want to be a bit clearer about the quotations versus the commentary.

    Second, while the language is a bit dated and cheesy, I don’t really see how this message is “limited and overwhelmingly conservative.” I’m moderate politically and liberal socially. But I still don’t think rampant and random hookups are healthy. I don’t judge people who do it. If it’s fun for you, go nuts. But I don’t think it’s outrageous for someone to make an argument for why a real relationship is better—both long term and short term—than random hookups.

    Basically, I think it’s a crude generalization to say that “liberals” are more in favor of meaningless casual sex.

  3. “I don’t think it’s outrageous for someone to make an argument for why a real relationship is better—both long term and short term—than random hookups.”

    You’re right, that would be a legitimate argument to make. Except they do it dishonestly by misrepresenting what hooking up can mean (they call it exploitation and a pathway to rape) and by ignoring the fact that relationships carry many of the same risks – pressure, pregnancy, STIs, etc.

    If they had penned a treatise on the beauty of true human connection and argued its superiority over brief, meaningless physical encounters, then these criticisms would be unnecessary.

  4. As a liberal in favor of meaningless casual sex, I’m pretty offended by the implications of this page. People, we need to stop perpetuating the myth that hooking up doesn’t require practice. Three years into college, I still don’t know what I’m doing. Next thing you know, people will start having “expectations” for the “quality” of my performance. That’s not what being a Hoya is about. Take it down.

  5. Pingback: release date? | Videboox

  6. CAPS is right: if you hook up, you’ll get SYPHILIS and DIE.

  7. These 10 reasons are hysterical. I guess I can appreciate their efforts, but this is so out of touch it’s absurd.

  8. “2) You might go for a walk on a date, but not a Walk of Shame!”
    First off it’s a Stride of Pride. Secondly, you can take one anytime you’re coming back from the house of your partner hook-up or long term. So either the writer of this thinks those who are dating ever leave the other’s house after spending the night, or that people who are dating don’t go to each other’s houses Either case, it’s pretty silly. Maybe the writer assumes we have gender-blind housing and you only date people you live with.

    “5) Dating results in less emotional energy/fallout.”
    Dating is far harder than hook ups. All of the sudden you care intensely about someone and they you. Their mood shapes your mood, their situation shapes your situation. Being emotionally invested in someone in meaningful way is tough.

    “9) Dating is less ambiguous.”
    False. Dating can be a lot more confusing than a hook up. There are tons of questions that you think about but don’t know if you should or shouldn’t ask like: Is this continuing to the summer, what happens when they study abroad for a year, what about when they graduate, is this actually going someplace, are we going to move in together after we graduate, if we break up- will i see them all the time in class, kids, pets?

    Hook ups may seem ambiguous, but it is a lot easier to solve those ambiguities since you aren’t so invested in the relationship.

    And as Lies says Hook ups take a lot of practice and work too. Relationships of any sort aren’t easy and CAPS should stop trying to draw lines and make labels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>