Teen Hook-Up Culture: Theme Parties and Sex Parties

“Jess WHERE IS MY HOSE?! It was right under my helmet, where is it?”

My roommate and I squeezed into two patent leather red mini skirts, grabbed matching fireman helmets, plastic axes and fake water hoses and ran down the dorm stairs toward frat row. It was the first theme party of the semester and we were so excited. Yet, the party sucked. It was a bunch of drunk guys, in a smelly, sweaty rec room where frat brothers use ‘being too drunk’ as an excuse to grope you…and that’s what all the parties end up like.

This week on CNN Headline News, reporters attempted to tackle the subject of the extremely disturbing teen hook-up culture. I wanted to explain my view on this trend for my parent readers as well as correct some misconceptions.

Theme Parties

Theme parties are very popular, especially in college, but also in High Schools. These theme parties are an excuse for most girls to get into the cutest (aka sluttiest) outfits they own, and for boys to ‘get in a position of power’—a very apt point made by the CNN reporters. Almost all theme parties usually have to do with the males in a position of power. Here are some examples of theme parties I have attended in college and High School
-Pimps and Hoes
-Billionaires and Bimbos
-CEO’s and Business Hoes
-Bosses and Secretaries
-Professors and School Girls
-Tennis Pros and Country Club Hoes
-Millionaires and Maids
-Cheerleader and Jock

Sex Parties

Many parents have heard of ‘rainbow parties’ or other sex parties where girls wear different colored lipstick and give boys oral sex, coloring their penises in a rainbow of colors. Honestly, I am from a big city, I met people from all over the country at camps, trips and at college and I have never heard of rampant sex parties. Not that they might not happen, or that lots of hooking up does not happen at teen parties, but I think it is rare to have teen parties purely dedicated to sex. I have two reasons for this:

1- It is hard enough to pull off a parent free party, but a sex party, a lot of coordination would have to be pulled together to plan it.

2- Teens love to talk and gossip. It is hard enough to keep a regular party underwraps, but a sex party? People will be talking about that in the hallways, in class, on Aim, on the phone…some parent or teacher is bound to overhear and get involved.

3- Teens are a bit shy. I mean, not to be crude, but when talking about this with my guy friends, they mentioned they would never be able to ‘make it through’ a rainbow party. Both girls and boys are shy, have secret crushes, complex and dynamic relationships with their peers and a sex party would throw all of that up in the air. I do not know many people who would have participated (even the horny boys) in High School.

Overall, I think that theme parties are very popular, yet the sex parties are a little overblown. Parents should be more concerned with the hooking up that is going on in their own house, at school and at regular parties behind guest bedroom doors…more posts to come.

Some Articles For You

New York Times Article called “Friends with Benefits” by Benoit Denizet Lewis and interesting read about some of the topics I will be talking about with teens and hooking up casually with friends instead of dating and how ‘far we go.’

MSNBC: Does Hooking Up Hurt Young Women? Does the hook up culture have a negative impact on teen girls? Are they ready to have sex when they start?

10 Responses to “Teen Hook-Up Culture: Theme Parties and Sex Parties”

  1. Michelle
    May 5, 2008 at 5:14 am #

    As a former teacher and friend of many current high school teachers, I have to say that rainbow parties are an unfortunate reality among some teens today. You are completely correct that sex parties are difficult to arrange, but when you teach in a school district where most parents work both days and nights to keep food on the table, you’ll see that teens can find plenty of opportunities to throw sex parties.

    Also, I would agree that many teens are shy when it comes to sex and most would not attend or participate in a sex party. However, in my experience (not speaking for others here) sexual activity is the norm among teenagers. I don’t see that many kids in my district or my friends’ districts being shy about sex. Many have come right out and told me rumors I certainly did not want to know, including details of weekly rainbow parties. You’re right that teens gossip, but unfortunately many of them enjoy being the subject of gossip.

    I would say that the reality of sex parties varies by community. In mine, it’s a problem, but it may not be in others. I think you’re correct that the main problem is teenage sex in general, not necessarily at sex parties.

  2. Vanessa
    May 5, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    Hi Michelle

    Great comment, I think it really does depend on where you are and I am sad to hear it is more prevalent than I think. I am sure having parents that are always away greatly attributes to the fact that teens have the ability and freedom to have these parties.
    thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Shane Young
    May 4, 2009 at 10:04 am #

    I know teens will do whatever is sly or dangerous as a way of being rebelious.(i did).
    We,as adults,must interact with them by finding out what they really have a passion for.

  4. Vanessa Van Petten
    May 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    Hi Shane

    I could not agree more, giving them something to be passionate about and feel confident in, is key.

    Thanks for reading!


  5. Caroline (SpeakHealth.org)
    November 3, 2009 at 11:38 am #

    Wow, I just stumbled across this post..I’m 26, and like to think I haven’t been out of school for that long. But yikes- did I just say “what’s wrong with these kids today?” out loud? I guess I’ve managed to repress SOME of my memories of the all-girls private high school I attended for two years (I escaped, thank gosh). there was definitely this prevailing idea that any attention from peers was ‘good attention’. My friends and I, with half-way decent levels of self-respect, were appalled to hear girls who went to sex parties *bragging* at their lockers; one girl announced proudly that her boyfriend had let x number of his friends rape her while she was vomiting.

    Sorry to be so confessional on your post, here. I’m still in therapy after all these years and I’m part of a number of women’s groups because I have seen how twisted young women become in our hyper-sexualized culture. It’s pathetic that girls actually accept a pain and humilation as a *reward*– which is EXACTLY what the women who willing dress up for Pimp’s and Hos theme parties are doing.

    Not sure if, when i was in the middle of all that, i could have put my finger on why this sort of thing bothered me so much. At the time, I remember resenting those girls because they made all women look bad. I don’t know if I realised the far-reaching implications: girls who go to theme and sex parties actively hand over a sense of power over ALL women to men (boys). and since so many women –including myself– strive to obtain a sense of power and autonomy, it’s unfair that we have to live with the power imbalance that benefits only men.


  6. Vanessa Van Petten
    November 11, 2009 at 10:38 pm #


    Thank you for your story.


  7. Lauren
    March 8, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    I think that this “activity” or “hobby” among teens is getting worse and worse. I think that Parents need to teach their kids good morals.


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