Hooking Up Is Fun. Or Dull. Or Painful 

Hooking up can be dull or painful. If it's about male superiority.

Hooking up can be dull or painful. If it’s about male superiority.

Some people like hooking up.

But it can be dull, or even painful – when it’s used to create male superiority.

Hooking up is painful

Kristy was making out with a guy, debating how far she wanted to go, when he stood up and ordered, “Get down on your knees.”

She froze.

I was really taken aback, because no one has ever said that to me before. 

He urged, “I think that’s fair.” 

As she hesitated, he pushed her down.

It was at that point that I was like, ‘I’ll just do it. It will be over soon enough.

Hooking up isn't fun when it's all about creating male superiority.

Hooking up isn’t fun when it’s all about creating male superiority.

Experiences like these were described in a New York Times piece on hookup culture called “Sex on Campus” by Kate Taylor. The subtitle, “She can play that game too” belies how excruciating that game can be. (And in fact, Kristy’s feeling of coercion actually suggests assault.)

At least when male entitlement takes over.

Hooking up is dull

When it’s not painful, it may just be dull. When his pleasure is all that matters.

One young woman who talked to Ms. Taylor said that by the time she gets back to a guy’s room she has usually sobered up and wants to leave. Fellatio is a quick and easy way to end things.

When sociologist, Lisa Wade, studied hookup culture women said things like this:

My sexuality was filled with anxiety and my need to please the guy instead of worrying about my own pleasure… Even if I was in charge I did not make sure I was being pleased.

Another woman hadn’t had a single orgasm after hooking up with 13 guys. She explained,

The guy kind of expects to get off, while the girl doesn’t expect anything.

Some feel like “masturbation toys.” Like these two:

  • I was just a warm body being used to make a guy have an orgasm
  • I feel like a “sex toy” with “three holes and two hands.

“Male supriority” trumps your partner’s pleasure 

A lot of guys don’t care much about women’s hookup pleasure says NYU sociologist, Paula England. She surveyed 24,000 students at 21 universities and says,

The double standard.

The double standard.

Guys don’t seem to care as much about women’s pleasure in the hookup, whereas they do seem to care quite a bit in the relationships.

(Yet women) seem to have this idea they’re supposed to be pleasing in both contexts.

In this situation everyone is prioritizing male satisfaction.

Dr. England also says that guys don’t care about women’s pleasure partly due to the lingering double standard that causes some men to disrespect women because they hooked up.

In that case, men are free to do as they like. But women are not.

And when a frat boy asks his brother if he scored — with a woman who felt coerced or with a semi-conscious woman who isn’t enjoying anything — these women are being assaulted. And it’s done in the name of “conquering women” … to create a sense of male superiority.

Like I said, hooking up can be dull, or even painful — and may actually turn into assault — when it’s used to create male superiority.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on May 20, 2015, in feminism, men, rape and sexual assault, sex and sexuality, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. Paul Blanchette

    For the most part I think this article is spot on. As a guy on a soccer team, we all love to talk about if we have “scored” on a girl and we get high fives for doing so. As for when girls feel the need to have sex with a guy, it also applies to men too. Many people do not talk about when guys are pressured to have sex with a girl or if he gets taken advantaged of when he is not sober. I think any sex that someone has who is not sober or feels pressured to do so, is considered a sexual assault. As for when they touched on men not caring about pleasuring the girl verse just pleasuring themselves, is more true than not.

    • I sometimes talk about men pressured by men, who then pressure women. Women don’t pressure men so much because they’re more repressed and have less motives. The phenomenon is largely dependent on our notions of men.

  2. I think the only thing wrong with hookup culture is that woman , are kind of forced to perform sexual acts to please a guy. If not , then they will feel like they have not done there job . Other than that I think hookup culture is great, if both male and females enjoy it . Even though it doesn’t happen as much as people think it happens , it could be a great way to find someone you like , and even make new friends . Some people tend to be very awkward towards each other after a hookup , but if two individuals , do not think much of it , and define what they did as normal, everything else will be normal. It is not the hookup culture itself , but how people react, when participating in he hookup culture that make it seem like it is a horrible thing to do .

  3. In my opinion, it could always be harmful for women’s benefits in the hookup relationship. Hookup means that the man and the woman barely know each other before they have sex. It could be on-time thing or friends with benefits, so under this kind of circumstance, man cares less about how woman feels than he is in a normal relationship. Like you mentioned in the article, man could be able to force woman do what she is not willing to, which we could consider it insult. However, at the same time, the behavior that hurts women a lot just satisfies men. My guess that the reason why that man feels satisfied when he forces woman to something bad in hookup for two main reasons. One of them could be that it makes the man become powerful than ever. When a man fail to be successful in other fields like his own career, the woman’s sexual obedience could cause that he believes that he could still dominate something at least like this woman. Also, another reason is that the man might be able to enjoy the pleasures from hookup that hurts woman actually in a normal relationship. Usually, in the normal relationship, the partners have the romance as the foundation, so they care how they feel and care about each other. Nevertheless, the hookup is totally a different thing, so I think I agree with your idea that hookup “can be dull, or even painful – when it’s used to create male superiority.”

  4. Julieta Torres

    Regarding this topic I think that playing hook ups its a beneficial thing for both men and women. But I also see the side that women seem to be use just as a sex toy in this type of hook ups because of the fact that, that’s all you are to them, just a moment of sexual pleasure. In my opinion I think that this type of hook ups are beneficial for those women who know how to and can handle this type of hook ups with out feeling used and with out feeling emotionally attach. I might be wrong but I do believe that their are women out their who are in control of their bodies and emotions. I understand that a women thinking that she has to pleasure the men is required but once again I think it depends on the women. I think that we women are capable of finding a men who can satisfy our sexual needs when playing hook ups. And I think that if we are sex toys is because we want to. That’s just my opinion.

    • The huge problem is that they aren’t even feeling any sexual pleasure, Let alone the other stuff you bring up.

      And the problem occurs when this happens in a context of patriarchy (Which is what happens too often) Not just generally speaking.

  5. Neha Nandini

    As a college student, and speaking from personal experience about the “hook-up culture”. I’ve noticed women undermine themselves, and allow themselves to be victimized because of the oppression that has been cased upon us for centuries. Why is it that a majority of women subjugate themselves with hooking up with random guys in order to seek attention. If you do not want to give him a oral sex. Then DON’T. A man should never force his ways with a lady, and if he does he needs to be arrested, and disciplined. Why give yourself to someone who doesn’t value your worth, or existence. Women should learn and be more aware that men are sexual beings, as women are as equally. However, the difference between a man and a woman and their perception on sex is different. Most college men are not looking for a relationship, or emotional connection, but rather a quick erection release. While most college girls are seeking for a emotional connection, and someone who values, respects and admires them. Most girls want to give themselves to someone with those characteristics. Who has an intent in pleasing them because they see the value and worth. So why are we settling? Why settle for someone who does none of those things? What benefit are you getting? You’re not being pleased. It seems that even in our modernized society we as women still struggle with seeking the attention of a man vs loving ourselves. If we take the time to love, nurture, and accept ourselves we would be less likely to contribute to this hook up culture which most women whole heartily dislike anyways. And we would be less likely to hurt ourselves by doing men who don’t cherish us.

  6. Men don’t seem to care as much as women do, when it comes to hooking up. For men they have no emotional attachment, they for sure know in their mind that this is not the girl they will be bringing home to mom. I can’t stand the double standard there is when it comes to hookups, in reading this blog I was saddened at the power we women give to men when it comes to these situations. However, I think in some cases you do have women who do enjoy hookups, and k ow how to take their power back by taking lead and making sure she has an orgasm too.

    • Interestingly, men are as likely as women to say that they prefer sex with emotional connection–about two thirds of both men and women!

      But research has also shown that emotional connection tends to be more important to women in that guys can still do random sex and not feel hurt by it. But who knows, maybe that’s because of how we do random sex — so often in ways that are dulll or painful for women.

  7. Vlada Eregina

    That is actually really terrible and that’s why I feel that hooking up is not a great idea. Nowadays is much more easier to find a partner for one night because we have different contraception methods and even phone apps to meet new people, for example tinder. Some girls think that this app can help them find a boyfriend, while it all actually about hook up. Men don’t even think to find a girlfriend from those apps. As you mentioned, double-standarts work even there. For majority of tinder-men, girls who are on tinder don’t deserve to be treated as a decent girl, because they meet plenty of men and hook up. Girls are slut-shamed, and men in this situations don’t have respect for them. Once I tried to use the app, just to see what my friends found there. It is interesting in a way, because first you feel dominant and superior choosing a guy, and after somebody choose you, you feel joyful and satisfied like it happened in a real life. For both men and women the app and hookup in general is not only a way to feel pleasure, but also a way to increase their self-esteem. When it comes to messages, I saw that women don’t really text first, they wait till men text them. Here we also can see the male dominance and because of that, when it comes to the actual meeting, a man feel confident and superior over woman. In a situation when a woman texts first, a man feels either crushed and thus see her as a slut, because she is “too obviously wants to hook up” or again feels superior, because he thinks that he is “zoo good” that women want him right away. Women, in contrast, not always search and text men for a hook up, they simply want attention and feel that somebody likes them.

    After all those steps, when it comes to a real meeting, most people already know that everything will end up in a bedroom and this is not a surprise neither for a women nor for a man. Men usually don’t have many reason to hook up. For them is just one night stand. Most of the men think: Just a give a girl what she wants to get her to “the last base”, feel pleasure and you are never gonna see her again. They don’t respect women, who are hooking up, because as my friend said: they are easy to get and if women don’t have a respect for herself doing that why should I respect her. It is easy, simple and there are no responsibilities. For women is more complicated and they can have various reasons for hooking up. Some girls really enjoy hooking up: letting a man be superior in bed, giving him pleasure and not thinking about yourself. My one girlfriend is like that. She loves being submissive in bed, feeling that a guy can do everything with her. Many women in turn likes that and thus a hook up is not a dull and painful thing for them. Other girls use a hook up as treatment after a bad break up to heal their psychological wounds through seeing another men close to them and feeling that men still crave her. Some girls are not confident in their lives. They have some emotional problems, psychological complexes and internal imbalances. They hook up to solve it to increase their self-esteem. Some girls use a hook up as training program. They think: when I will have a boyfriend, I will be “a queen” in the bed; he will lose his mind and will love me more. There are many other reasons for hooking up, but most of the time the main reason is not to feel pleasure. Most of the girls that hook up is fun and that is enough. But later all women want to be loved and have serious relationships. We can enjoy and lie to ourselves that hook up is enough, as my roommate does. But at the end we are getting tired of numerous partners, who don’t respect us and never really care.

    • You have some really interesting thoughts. Thanks for discussing them. And you are right that patriarchy attaches to everything, including eroticism. So some women can enjoy sexuality in that patriarchal context (vs the other patriarchal contexts I described). And that creates its own problems. When male dominance starts to seem sexy women are more likely to accept a secondary position. Which people would more clearly recognize as being a bad thing if It were attached to ethnicity. If you make it sexy every time a white person dominates a personal color (Or vice versa) leaving people of color to be okay with their subordination, Because it sexy, that’s harmful to an ethnic group. I think it’s sad when we eroticize the subordination and physical pain of any group of people. I wrote about it more here: “shades of making sexism sexy” https://broadblogs.com/2013/07/08/shades-of-making-sexism-sexy/

  8. I think it’s sad how it seems as if no one is really interested in achieving female pleasure in a hook up. Men only care about getting off, while women only seem to care about getting the guy off. The woman that said that even after hooking up with 13 men, she’d never had an orgasm because she believed women just didn’t expect one goes to show how much emphasis there is on male pleasure. This could also be explained by the amount of porn men watch, since they tend to get the idea that women are easy to please. This false idea might make them believe that they are providing women they hook up with, with pleasure with even the minimum effort. However, a woman’s orgasm is simply not reached as easily as a man’s, but porn teaches it like so.

    • Yes. And it’s also sad how so many women don’t get what’s going on. Just following what they think they’re supposed to do even if it hurts them.

  9. Hiroka Nakamura

    I don’t think it’s right to hook up. Maybe that’s because I have never done it or never thought about it. I know some people like doing it and I understand, but to me, if you know you’re gonna feel bad, don’t do it then!. I don’t understand why ,especially, girls keep doing this even though they know it’s gonna hurt their feelings or even their bodies. Also,I think hooking up can be very scary, because if you make one wrong step and it can be raping. A crime I’ve heard in Japan was that a guy and a girl hooked up once and he fell in love with her but she got a boyfriend, so she told the guy that she could do it anymore. So what happened was the guy raped and killed her. It’s totally okay if both men and women understand it’s just one night stand and enjoy the moment, but some people are not like that and terrible things like this happens all the time. I really don’t know if hooking up is even an okay thing to do, but in my opinion, I will never want to do and if you can’t deal with one night stands or feeling bad, don’t do it.

  10. This is interesting. As far as I know, my international friends that have experienced hookups, they would actually want the women to enjoy sex too because they feel accomplished seeing the women climax. It wasn’t really male superiority. I guess it depends.

    • It’s not always about male superiority in the US either. I wasn’t writing about hookup cultures so much as hook up culture when it takes a patriarchal form.

  11. Interesting topic, it’s crazy how true this is. Majority of most women do all this because it is expected from us. Every once in a while you do hear of guys who please their women and not just the girl doing something to please him, but it’s not as often as it should be. I think hookups are all on you, you know what your getting yourself into once you start hooking up with a guy. It really is your choice to either leave or continue going further with the guy.

  12. Linking this blog to patriarchy makes a lot of sense. Ofcourse not all hook ups are the same and yes, there are guys out there that want the girl to be pleased as well, but I have had some interesting experiences as well. I notice that it is different hooking up with a friend or person you know, than with a total stranger. I am not the type of girl that goes home with boys easy, but sometimes a girl needs her pleasure too. But I step away from the ‘unknown’ guys experience, because one time the guy thought he could spank me. Luckily I have a lot of confidence and I got extremely mad at him. I yelled at him how disrespectful he was and that she should not assume girls like this kind of behavior. Besides that, the hookup was completely over. My desire was gone, so I didn’t see why I should even continue with it. Thinking about this, makes me still mad, even thought this happened several years ago. I just hope that this experience made a difference for him too.

  13. Peter Schmetz

    To me that sounds like as if almost every guy is just trying to come when hooking up with a girl or after going home with her from a party. My simple question: Why do you girls go home with after parties or hook up with these guys? What do you expect from a one night stand with a frat guy???? Is it not your own fault if you do not think about your own pleasure and just focus on the man´s pleasure? Seriously women open your mouth and tell me/us what you want. This is actually very attractive and I personally do not have the feeling I am having sex with a toy but with an actual human being. Pick the right men and behave the way you are getting the most pleasure out of it and everything will be fine! Just do not be as naïve as most of the college girls are…. Have a personality and actually think about what you expect when taking a guy home.

    • The whole point of this post is to say that hooking up is a problem when it’s done in a context of patriarchy. And all of the examples are within that context. It’s not to say that every single hookup is like this. However, a study of hook up culture found that most WERE in fact this way. So complain about that fact, not the messenger. I guess that it’s not surprising that most hookups take a patriarchal form (privileging male experience) since we live within a patriarchy. (By the way “patriarchy” and “men” are two different things. Many men are against patriarchy — patriarchy privileges men and masculinity over women and femininity.)

      Why do girls do it? People tend to conform to social expectations and often do so unthinkingly. At least when they have internalized a culture or subculture– which is extremely common. Part of the point of this post is to get girls to think outside that box.

      By the way, you will see that I edited your post. See my comment policy.

  14. I agree with this article that hookup culture is focused almost solely on the pleasure of the man. It has always been unclear to me though, and remains so, why women continue to participate when that is the case. I suppose women feel it is “right” or their duty almost to not expect pleasure. And many others expect, most often to their disappointment, the end result to be a real relationship. Over the years it has become clear that in many sub-cultures where hookup culture is prevalent and normal sexual assault is common, but there are many women who voluntarily participate, not expecting pleasure and thereby further the acceptance and normalcy of the status quo. Perhaps this is also rooted in the teachings to young women that sex is a bad thing, that men are the ones who need it and it is kind of “our job” to provide that for them. If more women were taught about sex as pleasure and as something that can be enjoyed at an equal level or even more acute level than men would hook up culture still exist?

  15. Hookup culture is supposed to represent a trade-off: Opting for casual sex which is supposed to spare people the risk and heartbreak of relationships, some feel empowered by that freedom. However, it can also leave people feeling empty and lonely. Ultimately, we have to draw conclusions based on our own individual experiences. If you partake in casual hookup culture and you feel like “a masterbation toy” then your experience technically does not qualify to be a part of the whole “hook up culture” intended to be mutually beneficial to both parties involved. quid pro quo. Even when you are participating in a casual hookup you still need to have some level of pickiness. This has led to “friends with benefits” arrangements where people find someone whom they are sexually compatible with and continuously partake in “hook up culture” with them. It’s naive to think you can expect to have good hook up sex with just anyone. If you do end up with a lemon then you are supposed to push them toward the revolving door and let someone new in. If you are going to participate in the “Hook up culture” then you must read the fine print…not every experience will be perfect, it’s just supposed to get the job done with no feelings involved. So if you are going to make the most of it then have at least some level of pickiness and if you are not feeling good about what you are doing then move on and I don’t mean to a new partner, I mean move on from “hook up culture” as it is not for everyone.

  16. In my opinion, hooking up is supposed to be fun for both parties. Both sexes take part in the decision to hook up. If someone feels pressured to have sex with a person, then they should not do it. A hook up is just sex in my opinion and those interested in just sex should pick someone they feel a sexual attraction too not hook up for popularity or financial gains or anything outside of the excitement in the bedroom. If it is not what you thought it would be or if it isn’t an enjoyable experience then you will know next time and may’be decide to not hook up anymore or find a new person to hook up with. No I am not saying I condone hooking up, just expressing my opinion when people decide to have consensual sex. It is interesting to see that some women beyond what they feel like men get away with, still decide to hook up with men and have sex and then worry about what they think about the sexual pleasure. That part i don’t understand because he can still say I hit it or she’s easy even if they say the sex was good. Is it better to be known as an easy girl with good sex then it is as a girl who doesn’t give it up? Just wondering.

    • I wasn’t complaining about hooking up so much as hooking up within a context of patriarchy. It’s certainly possible to hook up without doing it in a patriarchal way (I’m not sure how often it happens in a more patriarchal v egalitarian way). But your question is asked within the context of patriarchy. If people did hook ups outside of patriarchy you wouldn’t even need to ask the question. It would be irrelevant. Because there wouldn’t be a double standard. It’s patriarchy, not hooking up, that creates the problem here.

  17. Wow! I guess that’s so mean and unfair to see women just for pleasure and using such statements to describe those whom you share an intimate relationship with. I personally don’t know much about this topic because of my personality that I never asked my friends about anything that they have ever done, also because this topic is considered a taboo, even if things like that were true no one would say a word! Its totally secretive, but from men side, I would hear some comments in class about how “tough” they are and I would pretend that I didn’t hear nor understood what they meant. Indeed, its a shame to look at things like this.

  18. I believe relationships are ultimately rewarding. Hook ups can be or feel wrong , it’s the case when individuals have sex with people they do not know. However , such behaviors can lead to successful and healthy relationships , while others can lead to frustrations , confusions and regrets. It is always best for couples to move into something meaningful that has long term benefits rather than relationships that are based on lust. It’s hard to understand why individuals tie sex with hooking up. Sex is one of the greatest gifts that human beings were given by God. It has to be respected and valued. Everyone’s entitled to their own lifestyle and sexual desires but I still think meaningless sex should be reconsidered wether you’re a male or a female. Although any type of sex might seem amusing to many teens and adults with no intentions of being in a serious relationship , the post hook-up can cause emotional damage to a person.

  19. I think that should speak on who we choose to hook up with. We have standards for the people we choose to date, so why not have a standard on the people we hook up with? I know I do; I consider myself a good people reader, so I make sure that I figure out what kind of person the guy is to decide if he is worth my time in any other way. I think both girls and boys need to learn their self-worth, and that will really help make decisions that will benefit themselves. For instance, girls who have a high self-esteem, or sense of worth, aren’t as likely to sleep with trashy guys and are more likely going to hold out to find the right guy at the party that is worth their time. The same goes for guys! Understanding, and internalizing our greatness will help with one’s patience, and help for better decision making, ultimately making even hook ups more pleasurable.

  20. Ultimately relationships are more rewarding I think and the ultimate goal, but you have to be ready in life for that too. If you’re still struggling job wise or financially, or don’t have any free time because of work or mutliple things or driving long distances for work during the week. It might not be best to get in a relationship, because you’re not going to be able to spend the time with your gf or you’re still trying to adjust to life. It’s also not ideal if you haven’t sowed your oats and really want to, thus get that out of the way. It’s timing, as far as financial stability, maturity, and really being ready to turn the page in life and want something serious and someone to spend you life with, thus seeking not just a relationship, but being more selective then and for the girl who you’d love and could be the wife.

  21. I don’t know why sex has to always be with connection and why you don’t like people hooking up or think it’s more natural or better for relationship, loving sex. The problem is if people are doing it because they feel pressure to, like women as you say, feeling they have to have sex and to please men despite them not being pleased or the slut shaming that can go with it, If they are doing it because its the thing to do, then that’s a problem.

    But I don’t see the problem of hooking up if it’s what you actually want to do and aren’t being a player about it and both people are up to hooking up. It can help if careful in the sense that, if you like freedom, are working a lot but not financially stable, just got out of a bad long relationship. It gets you sex and companionship, while not being tied to someone and doing things on your own and being able to hang out with your boys, and do things when and where you want. And then connect back with your side piece the next day or night.

  22. Interesting idea, linking hooking up to patriarchy. That’s given me food for thought that I need to think about some. Definitely not an activity that strikes me as one rife with authentic, deep, connection and feeling for sure!

  23. “the lingering double standard that causes some men to disrespect women because they hooked up.” – This I think is the real reason why men try to prove their superiority in such cases, at least in my country. The hypocrisy and double standard, so to say, is disgusting….

  24. “Guys don’t seem to care as much about women’s pleasure in the hookup, whereas they do seem to care quite a bit in the relationships.

    (Yet women) seem to have this idea they’re supposed to be pleasing in both contexts.”

    While men don’t care as often about pleasing a woman when hooking up vs women trying to please men hooking up. I think on the flipside, while, women and men both try to please each other in a relationship. I think men feel more pressure to please a woman in a relationship. Both internalize things, so women might want to please their man, but they don’t feel pressure to do much or feel they don’t have to do much probably to satisfy their man, because men get off easier. Whereas, men can feel more pressure in pleasing such as lasting long enough, doing what she likes and how she likes it. Men hear jokes or things about one minute man, dick size from women, etc. So there is this male pressure which only can create performance anxiety.

    Premature ejaculation, not getting it up or keeping it up, dick size, not getting off when you’re expected to as a man, so something must be wrong with you now. I think there is some thought they just because men can get off easier, that sex is all good for men, and a woman doesn’t have to do much for it to be satisfying for the man or for the sex to be good. Many men in relationships are aware that they might have to bring more to the table in bed to satisfy his woman, thus more pressure, but also more of him doing more and caring to try to be great in bed vs his woman.

    • And a lot of the “ease difference” is due to things like repression. But living in a society that prioritizes men’s pleasure doesn’t help, either. But the problem isn’t men. The problem is patriarchy that both men and women internalize and re-create.

  25. This is awful! It seems like the Hookup Culture isn’t really benefiting anyone, especially women!

    • Interestingly, While some people engage in hook up culture even though it harms them, this closer is far more active than most people think. Most college students surveyed thought that pretty much everyone was hooking up every weekend. But the same survey showed that hardly anyone was. Over the course of 4 years The average person had only seven hookups. A lot of people do tire of it quickly. The things I wrote about probably have a lot to do with why.

  26. If there is no commitment involved and a girl hookups with a guy just for sexual pleasure and if she is not receiving what she desired for than she can leave him anytime she wants! Same implies for a guy too! Isn’t is easy to do that way!

Thoughts? (Comments will appear after moderation)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: