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Sexual Behaviour – Hooking Up


It was ascertained in the 1970s that the concept of traditional dating, with special regards to college students, was on a steady decline. (Horowitz 1987, Moffatt 1989, Murstein 1980, Strouse 1987). If we are to take a clue from the Mate Selection Research, which was conducted in the 1970s, we would realize that the concept of dating was dying slowly. A scholar also categorically stated that the concept of traditional dating was rapidly disappearing amongst both colleges as well as high school students. Murstein (1980). If Murstein is to be believed, then the concept of traditional dating has not been prominent for the last three decades, and that its sexual script has also been on a steady decline. Regardless of his findings, researchers from across the globe have never shied from using the terms dating while trying to explain the overall concept of heterosexual intimate interactions.

The term dating has often been used on a widespread basis because it has a certain level of acceptability which is amiss from the term hooking up. Hence the term “dating” has often been used by scholars to describe how students get together in colleges; hookup can be signified as intimate relationships and indulgence in active sexual interactions. (Bell and Buerkle-Rothfuss 1990; Bettor, Hendrick, and Hendrick 1995; Cohen and Shotland 1996; Cupach and Metts 1995.

The only difference is in the mentality of the students. At present, most students are least bothered to get into a long-term relationship. Instead, they are busy hooking up to satisfy their personal needs without bothering to get bogged down in terms of a long-lasting commitment. With regards to the post-sexual era, wherein scholars were still in a dilemma regarding the change in the concept of sexual interaction, and the need to research hookup was not considered as an important phenomenon. In those days, scholars were unaware of the concept of hooking up, and they continued to probe on the guidelines of “risky sex” and cohabitation. Hence, they had completely failed to realize the fundamental changes in the heterosexual characteristics of college students.

The script of hooking up in real terms

Hooking up has always been considered a taboo of sorts. While certain Asian countries such as India and Pakistan, besides a few in the South East, are still apprehensive about the overall concept of hooking up, the fact still remains that in the west, with special regards to the schools and colleges, the concept of hooking up is fairly common and fiercely prevalent. Likewise, the concept of hooking up is substantially different from the traditional concept of dating. Taking a cue from the above statement, let us now discuss the meaning of “hooking up” in its true sense.

The actual meaning of hooking up implies a college-going man pairing up with a college-going woman at a party or at a pub, with a mutual intention of satisfying each other’s sexual urges. One of the basic ingredients, which are also considered essential, is the presence of alcohol. When we are referring to hooking up, we need to understand that the entire concept may involve a series of episodes, which can range from kissing, fondling, and eventually sexual intercourse. One of the biggest advantages of hooking up is the lack of commitment on the part of both parties. In simple words, there are no strings attached to the overall concept of hooking up. The script of hooking up can therefore be considered as a casual encounter, wherein people from both sexes mutually agree upon a method of satisfying each other’s sexual urges without bothering to bind each other in the intricate web of a long-term relationship.

Please do not misinterpret the script of hooking up with the concept of prostitution. This is because both the concepts are fairly different and have not much in common. In the case of prostitution, people generally indulge in paid sex, while in the case of a hook up, individuals satisfy their sexual urges without indulging in any sort of monetary benefit. Nonetheless, you cannot deny the involvement of monetary gains in the case of a hook up, as exceptions do exist.

The actual description of the literature

Hooking up has now taken a new turn and can well be defined as a leisure pastime for most university students. In a recent study conducted in universities across the west, it was found that almost 91% of the total population studying in the campuses, agreed that hooking up was a way of life. In fact, 40% of them also accepted the fact that they had indeed gotten engaged after hooking up with their respective partners. Hooking up is therefore looked upon as an essential means of relieving ones sexual desires without actually bothering to get into a commitment of any sort. Owing to these non committal behaviours, boys as well as girls in various universities are able to satisfy their natural urges without being bogged down by the mire of a possible marriage or an engagement. (Bogle, 2008)

In a recently conducted research on the concept of hooking up, the author categorically stated that in order to understand the true nature of hooking up, she needed to conduct an unbiased research. She did so by contacting people from across universities and interviewed both men as well as women. She did so to understand the relationship between sex and hook up. The author, in order to establish the true relationship of hook up and sex, went on to interview a total of 76 people, amongst whom, 34 were men and 42 were women. In a bid to gather unbiased information, the author interviewed fifty one undergraduate students and twenty five alumni. While the students belonged to an age group of 18 to 25, the alumni were between 23 to 30 years of age. The results showed that nearly 95% of the total interviewees were whites. Over here, almost 96% turned out to be heterosexuals, and it was found that almost all of them preferred to indulge in a sexual contact while hooking up with their respective partners. (Bogle, 2008)

The decline of traditional dating in a college campus

There has been a steady decline in the concept of the traditional dating procedures and this has come in light of the fast paced lifestyles we all lead. As discussed in the earlier paragraphs, it has been noticed that college going students prefer to spend a substantial part of their lives trying to develop their careers and would not like a relationship to slow their pursuits in any way. The lack of commitments has forced the college going students to avoid dating in a serious way and adopting a methodology through which they can satisfy their physical urges with utmost ease. Now, this can only be done through hooking up.

In a bid to analyze the true nature of hooking up, a detailed research was conducted by McManus, Paul and Hayes. They acted as a team of physiologists, who decided to conduct their study at a university, which was located in the north-eastern section of the United States. The questionnaire was relatively basic wherein people were asked whether hook up is defined as a sexual encounter or a relationship. The research also aspired to ascertain whether it concerned two people and whether hooking up had a different aspect to it as well (2000:79). The definition of hook up being linked to a sexual encounter had a few problems attached. As opposed to their study, Bogle’s study (2004), categorically stated that hooking up was not just related to indulging in a sexual intercourse. As per Bogle (2004), a hook up could lead to a life long friendship, which could be linked to hanging out, talking with one another and sharing food and drinks, without indulging in any sort of physical relationship. Over here, the concept of a “one night stand” in a hook up encounter might be irrelevant (Bogle, 2004)

The second problem in Paul and McManus’s (2000), definition was the fact that most hook ups were linked to complete strangers. As per the study by Bogle (2004), it was ascertained that random encounters were not prevalent in terms of a hook up encounter. In his study, Bogle (2004), found out that most hook ups in colleges were linked to acquaintances and even best friends. Hence the question of strangers hooking up for a one night stand was in reality a myth.

The difference between traditional dating script and hooking up script

There is a big difference between hooking up and dating. As the word well suggests, dating is a traditional concept, which revolves involves the need to please your partner by showering love and displaying your true level of commitment. Dating is an age old concept which does not require any sort of formal introduction. It is a mutually agreed-upon proposal wherein both sexes are physically as well as emotionally attached to each other and have plans for a long term, sometimes even lifelong, relationships. Hence, the concept of dating is often looked on as an essential means of fulfilling your emotional quotient by committing yourself towards your partner. It is interesting to note that dating may or may not include sexual intercourse. At the same time, dating often leads to a long term commitment and often results in an engagement or even a marriage. A traditional dating script can therefore be considered as a suitable means of building a long term relationship with the opposite sex. (Kasic, 2008)

As compared to dating, a hooking script is very different. At the very outset, there is no such word as “commitment” in its dictionary, and people from all walks of life, with special regards to children from schools and colleges, prefer to adopt the methodology of hook up, by excluding any unnecessary emotions. A hook up is nowadays fairly common amongst college going students. Over here, both boys as well as girls, indulge in a one night stand in order to satisfy their sexual needs. As there is a lack of commitment in a hook up procedure, the chances of it transforming into a long term relationship are very limited. There are times wherein a hook up may lead to repeated hook ups with the same person, and there could be cases wherein it ends with just a single sexual experience. Hence, the script of hooking up is very different from the script of dating and while both involve a heterosexual relationship, they can never be compared with one another (Kasic, 2008)

The overall psychological affect of the hooking up script

Dating is now a thing of the past, and nowadays people from colleges as well as schools are adopting the ethos of a hook up relationship. Over here, you are not committing yourself to another individual but merely satisfying your natural desires by choosing the partner of your choice. While there are widespread psychological repercussions that are related to a hook up script, there are a few pointers which need to be noted first. One of the biggest disadvantages of indulging in a hook up script is the lack of responsible behaviour. In simple words, people who indulge in such practices tend to become self centred and often shy away from taking responsibilities in life. Likewise, they also get addicted to alcohol and drugs as both these stimulants are directly linked to having sex in a hook up relationship. The biggest confusing factor in a hook up relationship is the disappearance of the other partner. In a recently conducted survey by Bogle (2004), it has been found that almost 50% of the women never saw their partners again. Besides being a serious cause behind illnesses such as AIDS and STD, the psychological effect of a hook up procedure, is often looked on as a negative influence on a human brain (Bogle, 2004).

The basic roles genders play while hooking up

There has always been a debate on the role-playing of various genders. While some people argue that males are mainly responsible for fulfilling the requirements of their high testosterone levels, females are often looked on as individuals who seek support and momentary pleasure from the supposed sexual act. In a hook up, the role of a male is supposedly looked on as one who is very explicit of his sexual preferences and is willing to settle for a hook up for the single minded aim of satisfying his sexual urges. The females on the other hand, are considerably low on testosterone levels and are therefore looked on as a party to the act, without necessarily being the initiators (Whitmire, 2008)

As far as the females are concerned, they have moved a step ahead, and from being a passive gatekeeper, they have become bolder and are often known to initiate relationships. Nonetheless, they never indulge in hooking up for a relatively long period of time. This is because they realize that hooking up is not going to lead them into a serious relationship. Males, on the other hand, never really tire of hooking up. They continue to look for new hook ups even after leaving college they continue to look for new ways to satisfy their physical needs. Besides, as alcohol is often the only means of starting a hook up relationship, they have been known to be physically abusive in a hook up relationship. According to Bogle (2004), the concept of hooking up has devoid the natural ability to date an individual and ask him/her out for a cup of coffee, wherein the chances of knowing the individual are certainly much higher (Bogle, 2004).

The future of hooking up-Is It here to stay?

The latest ways of hooking up are supposedly through the means of mobile phones. According to the statistical data compiled by Jupiter Research, it has been found that mobile and chat room market is all set to grow to nearly $1.4 billion by the year 2015. Hence, it is evident that hooking up would primarily be done through the means of a mobile phone. The future of hooking up can therefore be advocated towards the increased usage of electronic gadgets. It is here to stay and would eventually overshadow the traditional concept of dating. While a hook up is not necessarily a preferred medium of physical expression, it seems to be becoming a part of our fast paced lives. Unless and until reforms are put into place and the concerned students taught about the ill effects of hooking up, it would become rampant and a part of everyday life. This would happen in a few years from now (Rio, 2009)


Owing to the fast changing nature of our everyday lifestyles, the concept of a hook up has caught speed and is here to stay. While people often mistake a hook up as a sexual activity, it can also be related to a deep friendship. Likewise, the concept of traditional dating is fast dwindling and would soon cease to exist, if reformative measures are not taken on time. There have been numerous instances wherein men have been accused of initiating such acts of pleasure under the influence of alcohol. Well, the truth is that even the female counterparts are equally involved in the act. They are partners in the crime and are no less inclined to derive pleasure than their male counterparts. The only difference, in terms of gender preferences, is that males are completely dependant on their testosterone levels while females do have a feeling of deriving a long term relationship from the brief hook up encounter.

Unfortunately, this usually does not happen, and researches have proven the fact that almost 50% of the females, who were involved in a hook up act, never saw their partners again. Hooking up can therefore is considered as a non-committal act, which is primarily initiated to satisfy the physical needs of an individual. While there have been various case studies on the topic, very few have been able to draw a conclusion on the reasons which initiate a hook up activity. As compared to the researches on dating, the concept of hooking up is still relatively new, and it needs to be well researched upon. Nonetheless, the above listed points have tried to explain the concept in the best possible manner.


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