The Love Expert: Hook up culture in a pandemic


Owen Rush

Let’s talk about sex. Some college students are navigating hook up cultures while taking precautions for the ongoing pandemic. Graphic by Mars Nevada/the Gateway

Hooking up in a pandemic can be scary. What is scarier than STDs? COVID-19.

Hook up culture has been pretty popular since the 90s, and even more so today with the use of apps and the bar and club scene. That all changed when the pandemic hit back in March, making hooking up almost impossible. So just like Salt-N-Peppa said, “Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about sex.”

I spoke with someone who has been hooking up in the pandemic and talks about the good and the spooky about the culture in the midst of a public health crisis.

Jordan, (name changed in protection of interviewee) an Omaha college student, says hooking up in a pandemic has changed. However, they say things are a lot more relaxed now.

“One of the differences I have noticed is having to ask if they have been in contact with anyone who has COVID and if they have been social distancing,” Jordan said.

Jordan also said they have noticed a difficulty in knowing the other person’s boundaries on hooking up in a pandemic and the precautions when it comes to in-person contact.

One thing that Jordan also finds spooky is the number of STDs that could be spreading right now.

“I think there will be a rise in STDs during COVID because there are limited things to do right now,” Jordan said.

Jordan is right. COVID cases are not the only thing that has been on a rise since the pandemic, so have STD rates.

According to Business Insider, STDs may be on the rise because of a lack of testing.

“But we’re really worried about the larger issues of people not getting tested, people not getting treated and what that means for inadvertent spread of infections in the future,” according to Business Insider.

The spread of STDs is on the rise and can be seen at a local level with numbers at epidemic levels since 2018. According to Get Checked Omaha, a study showed that people ages 20- 24 make up 35.4% of chlamydia cases and over 25% of gonorrhea cases, which most college students fall into.

There is a solution to this spooky problem, and that is to get tested regularly. The pandemic and all of the closures have caused a lot of confusion and caused some people to push back appointments and to not put their health first. There are a lot of great places on campus such as CPACS and H&K as well as in the metro area that offer free condoms.

Most local clinics are open such as Nebraska AIDS Project, Planned Parenthood and the North Omaha Area Health clinic. Make sure to call ahead, as some places may be appointment only.

Hooking up during the pandemic does not have to be spooky. Stay safe by getting checked regularly and practicing safe sex. Do not forget to wear a mask and a condom.