Search Results for hookup culture

When Hookup Culture Was Just a Toddler 

19th century college men.

American Hookup by Occidental sociology professor Lisa Wade explains a lot. Like hookup culture’s early beginnings.

I’ll hit a few highlights. For more check out her book or an excerpt in Time. Read the rest of this entry

The Myth of Hookup Culture

Hookup culture is a myth?

Hookup culture is a myth?

College students are having sex, but not as much as you might think. And most of them are kind of disappointed about the whole thing.

Read the rest of this entry

Hookup Culture

College students are having sex, but not as much as you might think. And most of them are kind of disappointed about the whole thing.

Sociologist Lisa Wade told MTV that’s what she learned after interviewing first-year college students. You can see the three-minute video at Sociological Images.

Rumor has it that at four-year universities one and all are hooking up with random strangers to have no-strings-attached, emotion-free sex. Everyone thinks everyone else is having great sex, and lots of it. But not them. Turns out, they’re not alone. They’re typical.

Throughout the entire four years of college, most average only 4 to 7 different hookups. That’s just more than one a year!

And nearly one third of the women have opted out entirely, figuring if the only sex they can get is with acquaintances or strangers, why bother?

Others tolerate the hookup hoping to find love, or at least relationship. But things don’t usually work out as hoped.

And most are dissatisfied by quality, too.

Almost everyone is drunk, which doesn’t help. Women complain that men are not skilled. And an awful lot of these encounters involve women giving men oral sex, but getting nothing in return.

Only about 11% say they enjoy hooking up.

Students wanted at least one of three things:

  • pleasure
  • meaningfulness
  • empowerment

But few were getting any of these.

Yet everyone assumes they know what everyone else wants so no one ever asks.

Wade found that 70% of women and 73% of men wanted a committed relationship, but thought that everyone else felt differently. And they don’t want to talk about it because they fear they’ll come across as repressed, dysfunctional, or needy.

So no one says anything and hookup culture ends up the only game in town.

Wade says casual sex can be a good thing for students who want to focus on school since relationships — and breakups — take up a lot of time and energy.

But with widespread dissatisfaction, she feels that hooking up shouldn’t be the only option.

Students think no-strings sex is sexual liberation. But if you believe you have no other choice, is it?

Maybe it’s time for students to talk to one another.

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Why Endure Excruciating Hookups? 

Bad sex

Bad sex

Some women enjoy hooking up when it’s “friends with benefits.” Or if not friends, at least sex without malevolence.

Other times ya gotta wonder why they do it.

Women having bad sex

Like women who have sex with 13 men (at different times) but without pleasure. Because it’s about his pleasure and not hers. Or women who feel reduced to sex toys. Or women who “just want to get it over with.”  Or women who say, Read the rest of this entry

Hookup Sex Less Pleasurable

1292393586_95218200Men are more likely to climax in committed relationships. And women are twice as likely to reach orgasm in serious relationships, compared with hookup sex.

Maybe that’s because partners are more likely to know what the other likes, through both communication and practice. They’re also less likely to have performance anxiety. And, they are less likely to be drunk. That always helps. Meanwhile, love can add a rich vein of emotional connectedness.

So it’s not so surprising that 70% of women and 73% of men in college say they want relationships over hookup sex.

The whole phenomenon doubles down when it comes to women, though. An NYU study found only 40% of women climaxing during their last sexual hookup, while 80% of men did.

It may all be due to nurture more than nature. Read the rest of this entry

Repressive Female Sex Culture

“After I’ve just gotten laid, the first thing I think about is that I can’t wait to tell my crew who I just did. Omigod, they’re not going to believe I just did Kristy. They’ll all be high-fiving me.”

Guys routinely celebrate having sex. The messages they give each other pretty much translate to, “Sex is great! And more is better!” 

But what do women hear? 

After anticipating “high-fives” for his sexual success, the young man above adds: “And Kristy? She’ll probably ask me not to tell anyone, to protect her reputation.” 

Men and women receive very different messages about sex. 

In fact, the term “hookup” is deliberately ambiguous. It can mean anything from kissing to intercourse. So if a guy says he hooked up, he’s hoping other guys think he went “all the way.” But if a girl hooks up, she hopes her friends hear, “I kissed him.” 

At one northeastern college, men returning to the fraternities after a night at the dorms are said to be strolling the Walk of Fame. But women returning to the dorms from a frat are taking the Walk of Shame. 

A few years back a fraternity at Dartmouth published the names of all of the women the brothers had had sex with, making disparaging comments about them. 

Is sex something to avoid? Something dirty? Or something to pursue with a vengeance? It all depends on whether you’re male of female. 

When it comes to sex, men are celebrated but women risk punishment. 

Many think sexual repression is not a problem in our society – that these notions never reach the subconscious. Yet women can come to turn off sexual feeling, whether they realize it or not. Not feeling can be safer. 

Sex therapist, Lonnie Barbach, says that highly repressive societies create women who have difficulty climaxing, while women in non-repressive societies have regular and satisfactory orgasms.  

In 1972, when women were more penalized than they are today, a Playboy foundation survey found that more than half of single women under age 25 found their first sexual experience neutral or unpleasant. Only 20% found sex highly pleasurable.

Things may not be as bad today. Indiana University’s recently released sex survey found that 58% of women in their 20s had had an orgasm the last time they had sex. But when that compares with 96% of their male counterparts, we see the tell-tale signs of continuing repression.

But really, should we be surprised?  

Men who slut-shame don’t seem too worried that women won’t enjoy sex with them. After watching sex-craved porn stars, and thinking that accurately reflects women’s sexuality, perhaps they assume women can’t help but come back for more. No matter what.  

Some will interpret my observation that men are more sex-positive and more promiscuous as prescribing male behavior to everyone. As one reader put it“But I don’t want to run around like a tart!”

Actually, I want to have a conversation about the positives and negatives of so-called men’s and women’s ways of doing sex. It is certainly not better to treat people like currency – the more you bang the higher your status. But what can women learn from men, and what can men learn from women? 

Georgia Platts 

Sources: Lonnie Barbach. For Yourself. Anchor. 2000; Michael Kimmel. Guyland. Harper. 2008

Related posts on BroadBlogs  DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men? 
Sex Lessons from Mom and Dad   “Cock” vs “Down There” 
Sex: Who Gets Screwed?    Are Women Naturally Monogamous?
Surprises in Indiana University Sex Survey

What’s Wrong With Hooking Up?

By Lisa Wade

Crossposted from Ms. and Sociological Images

Hanna Rosin, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of The End of Men, has written a piece about hook-up culture on and off college campuses for the September issue of her magazine. Given that I’ve done some research on hook-up culture, here are my two cents: Rosin isn’t wrong to argue that the culture offers women sexual opportunities and independence, but she mischaracterizes the objections to hook-up culture and draws too rosy a conclusion. Read the rest of this entry

What’s Wrong With Hooking Up?

By Lisa Wade

Crossposted from Ms. and Sociological Images

Hanna Rosin, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of The End of Men, has written a piece about hook-up culture on and off college campuses for the September issue of her magazine. Given that I’ve done some research on hook-up culture, here are my two cents: Rosin isn’t wrong to argue that the culture offers women sexual opportunities and independence, but she mischaracterizes the objections to hook-up culture and draws too rosy a conclusion.

Those who wring their hands and “lament” hook-up culture, Rosin contends, do so because they think women are giving it up too easily, a practice that will inevitably leave them heartbroken. She writes:

[Critics of hook up culture pine] for an earlier time, when fathers protected ‘innocent’ girls from ‘punks’ and predators, and when girls understood it was their role to also protect themselves.

If this is the problem, the answer is less sex and more (sexless?) relationships. But, Rosin rightly argues, this wrongly stereotypes women as fragile flowers whose self-esteem lies between their legs. It also romanticizes relationships. Drawing on the fantastic research of sociologists Laura Hamilton and Elizabeth A. Armstrong, she explains that young women often find serious relationships with men to be distracting; staying single (and hooking up for fun) is one way to protect their own educational and career paths.

All this is true and so, Rosin concludes, hook-up culture is “an engine of female progress—one being harnessed and driven by women themselves.”

Well, not exactly. Yes, women get to choose to have sex with men casually and many do. And some women truly enjoy hook-up culture, while others who like it less still learn a lot about themselves and feel grateful for the experiences. I make this argument with my colleague, Caroline Heldman, in Hooking Up and Opting Out: Negotiating Sex in the First Year of College [PDF].

But what young women don’t control is the context in which they have sex. The problem with hook-up culture is not casual sex, nor is it the fact that some women are choosing it; it’s the sexism that encourages men to treat women like pawns and requires women to be just as cunning and manipulative if they want to be in the game; it’s the relentless pressure to be hot that makes some women feel like shit all the time and the rest feel like shit some of the time; it’s the heterosexism that marginalizes and excludes true experimentation with same-sex desire; and it’s the intolerance towards people who would rather be in relationships or practice abstinence (considered boring, pathetic or weird by many advocates of hook-up culture, including, perhaps, Rosin).

Fundamentally, what’s wrong with hook-up culture is the antagonistic, competitive and malevolent attitude towards one’s sexual partners. College students largely aren’t experimenting with sexuality nicely. Hook ups aren’t, on the whole, mutually satisfying, strongly consensual, experimental affairs during which both partners express concern for the others’ pleasure. They’re repetitive, awkward and confusing sexual encounters in which men have orgasms more than twice as often as women:

The problem with hook-up culture, then, is not that people are friends with benefits. It’s that they’re not. As one of my students concluded about one of her hook-up partners: “You could have labeled it friends with benefits … without the friendship, maybe?”

Hook-up culture is an “engine of female progress” only if we take for granted that our destination is a caricature of male sexuality, one in which sex is a game with a winner and a loser. But do we really want sex to be competitive? Is “keep[ing] pace with the boys,” as Rosin puts it, really what liberation looks like? I think we can do better.

Crossposted from Ms. Magazine and Sociological Images

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Men, Women Are Not From Mars, Venus

Men-Are-From-Mars-Women-Are-From-VenusMen and women aren’t so different, after all.

They have similar levels of interest in sex with multiple partners, willingness to have sex outside of a relationship, closeness with a best friend and interest in science, for instance. Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Buy Cow If Milk Is Free

cow-milk-for-freeA male reader, I’ll call him Jed, wrote in with this warning:

There is a price to be paid when women have casual sex. It might be unfair. It might not be unfair. But there it is, be it biology, socialization, patriarchy…whatever… If women give sex away for free, men won’t marry them.

Put more grossly:

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Read the rest of this entry

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