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We won accolades from our professors, but the men we were sleeping with wouldn’t even eat breakfast with us the next morning.
What’s worse, we really thought of the situation in those terms: “We were desperate to know what it felt like to be wanted; desperate for a chance at intimacy.
Almost immediately, I buried this dream deep within my new plastic dorm drawers.
From dance floors to bedrooms, everyone was hooking up—myself included.
The women I interviewed were eager to build connections, intimacy and trust with their sexual partners.
Instead, almost all of them found themselves going along with hookups that induced overwhelming self-doubt, emotional instability and loneliness.
I loved learning and made Phi Beta Kappa my junior year. But my internal life was characterized by paralyzing anxiety and depression. I drove myself to excessive exercising and near-anorexia. While there was a major gulf between my public self and my private one, the one thing that remained consistent were my politics.I decided to devote my senior thesis to answering the question of whether Middlebury women really were playing the game—and if anyone was actually enjoying it.***After interviewing 75 male and female students and analyzing over 300 online surveys, the solidarity was undeniable: 100% of female interviewees and three-quarters of female survey respondents stated a clear preference for committed relationships.(My research focus was on the experiences of heterosexual women, although of course many non-heterosexual relationships happen at Midd as well.) Only 8% of about 25 female respondents who said they were presently in pseudo-relationships reported being “happy” with their situation.Far more frequent, however, were pseudo-relationships, the mutant children of meaningless sex and loving partnerships.Two students consistently hook up with one another—and typically, only each other—for weeks, months, even I soon came to believe that real relationships were impossible at Midd. It wasn’t just the social pressure that drove me to buy into the commitment-free hookup lifestyle, but my own identity as a feminist.