“Hookup Culture” – A Student Perspective
I have been very curious about “hookup culture,” especially, as I step into my new journey from a high school graduate to college. College means plenty of things to people: a time for new friends, a time for learning, a time for exploration, a time for growth, and what seems to be the most popular – freedom from our parents! College students are exposed to different degrees of hookup culture. I’ve even wondered if I should participate.
I did some research. In this blog, I’ll review some history, facts, the why, and the effects of “hooking up” with someone else.
What Is Hookup Culture?
The American Psychological Association defines it as brief, uncommitted sexual encounters between individuals who are not romantic partners or dating each other.
A Brief History
Started to become more frequent in 1920s America, with automobiles and novel entertainment such as movie theaters. Young adults did not have as much parental supervision, and therefore, felt more sexually liberated.
The 1960s saw a rise in feminism, the availability of birth control, and sex at college parties.
The age of marrying and starting a family is being pushed back, while the age of puberty has dropped.
Currently, inside and outside of committed relationships, people are having sexual relations.
Now, the media all over has something sex-related: books, movies, television shows, songs, apps, etc.
It seems that hookup culture has been around longer than I expected. One continuity between today’s America and 1920s America is that novel entertainment/media is correlated with higher rates of casual sex.
According to this university article in 2019, sex is common among college students and deeply ingrained in the culture. Female students feel that hookup culture is expected and that the boys don’t want to talk to them if it is not sexually related. They feel that it is prominent with guys, but girls can do it too. From this, it appears that college students are immersed in sexual hookup culture. Let’s look at the facts on how often it happens specifically in a college setting.
Statistics on Hookup Culture
According to various studies and surveys:
90% of American college students believe their campus has a hookup culture
Up to 86% of college students report a hookup in college; men are more likely than women to hookup
67% of those hookups are at parties
30-50% of sexual experiences included intercourse
The frequency of hookups has increased by 1,000% in the last 100 years
It seems that with these high numbers, plenty of college students are hooking up. But why exactly does this happen?
Why do Hookups Happen?
In an article published in 2021 by a John Hopkins student, named Van To, she explains how hookup culture has become increasingly prevalent among American youth on college campuses. To says, with the idea of “not being tied down,” students can engage in hookups without having to feel committed to another person. To feels that because of postmodern feminism, women may seek empowerment through the sexual gratification of hooking up. However, so many women walk away from a hookup feeling the opposite.
Not only do people feel unempowered, To argues that women are ashamed of feeling used. Men may feel regretful over their partner and unattractiveness. To states that hookup culture is appearance-driven. (My own observations of others are 100% consistent with this.) Other negative effects – noted in various articles – include embarrassment, disappointment, anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem, reduced life satisfaction, negative impacts on peers, difficulty in relationships, and loss of respect and reputation. More seriously, there is potential for being sexually coerced, assaulted, and contracting a sexually transmitted infection or disease (STI or STD). Surveys show higher levels of regret after the hookup vs. during.
College students are exposed to a new degree of freedom, especially being away from their parents. Many things can tempt us to go in the wrong direction. This includes “hooking up” to not feel “tied down.” I feel that the media today has exploited this and encouraged the hookup culture. After researching this on my own, I have to say I am against hookup culture. It makes me feel less tempted to have sexual relations outside of a committed relationship. I want to have a partner who understands me spiritually and emotionally – not just judge my character based on my looks. If my friend were to participate in such activities, I would strongly advise against it, but not judge their actions. Hookup culture proves to be more detrimental than empowering. I want to advise all college students to be against this.
Are you a student struggling with emotions, relationships, and the spiritual aspects of dating or hookups? Consider contacting the coaching and mentoring team at Mission Addiction. I’m a graduate of their MAP for Healing and Recovery program, which I highly recommend!