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Rio Is the Ben & Jerry’s of Hookup Culture

Completely anecdotal interviews with Brazilian university students suggest that Rio de Janeiro attracts thousands upon thousands of tourists each year, creating a hookup culture very similar to the United States – but with more opportunities for international experimentation.

Brazilians “love to meet people from other countries, so they won’t get into a relationship,” explains Marcelle Dutra, a student at Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo. “That way they can make out with a bunch of people.” She says there isn’t much of a dating scene for young Brazilians. Instead she says “all my friends are into someone for a week and then onto the next.”

Rio nightclubs serve as the hookup headquarters, Dutra says. Brazilians rarely go to a club to dance and drink — instead they go with the sole intention to find someone to take home. “Everyone goes to nightclubs to get drunk so they can make out,” Dutra says.

Dating apps and social media, mostly Tinder and Facebook, have become aids for hooking up, not necessarily for dating. Dutra explains that the majority of her friends have met people through Tinder and Facebook. Some groups on Facebook are designed for the LGBQT community to meet people to build relationships and find possible hookups.

While Brazilian men and women are known to experiment with partners from around the world, Alexandria, a Venezuelan native studying in Rio, said Brazilian men have very specific standards on the women’s physical appearance. “Men here really like girls with a specific body type and that is usually very curvy, which is actually very different from North America. The men have very specific physical standards for their women,” she said.

American university students say their own dating culture has a similar hookup focus, although it’s centered on “Netflix and chill” rather than nightclubs. The end goal is similar, though the tactics differ.

People walking in Rio de Janeiro

University students say Rio’s hookup culture is very similar to the United States, but with more opportunities for international experimentation.

About Becca Chen, Jamie Doolittle & Tyler Greene

Becca Chen, Tyler Greene, and Jamie Doolittle make up the JBT Production team in the Queens in Rio project. Becca is a sports management major from Troy, Mich. Jamie is a journalism and digital media major from Charlotte, N.C. Tyler is a journalism and digital media major from Winston-Salem, N.C.

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