Hooking up among college students demographic and psychosocial correlates

The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Arch Sex Behav See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract The present study examined factors associated with engaging in oral and vaginal sex and condom use during the most recent hookup, a term that refers to a range of physically intimate behaviors outside of a committed relationship, among college students. In addition, this research aimed to evaluate factors associated with experiencing positive and negative affect resulting from the most recent hookup.

Hooking up among college students demographic and psychosocial correlates

Shelby Georgia State University Hooking-up with friends and acquaintances has quickly become a popular method for young people to have sexual experiences without emotional intimacy.

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A vague and elusive term, hooking-up can comprise a variety of sexual behaviors, from kissing to fondling to intercourse Owen and Fincham No longer an "alternative" sexual script, Heldman and Wade estimate that between two-thirds to three-quarters of college students hook-up at least once.

The rise of the hook-up and decline of traditional dating has been attributed to changing norms in the life course Downing-Matibag and Geisinger Marriage is occurring later, and the period in which young people have to work on personal development is expanding Heldman and Wade Without the perceived emotional toll required of romantic relationships, or pressure to be tied to one person, hooking-up has become a viable option for engaging in sexual behavior without the "complications" Bradshaw, Kahn, and Saville InHollywood produced two blockbuster films featuring the hook-up phenomenon: The rapid production of two all-star cast films echoes the salience of hooking-up.

This is no longer a fringe sexual sub-culture, but a mainstream sexual script recognized commercially for its social relevance. However, these films do not simply imitate social interaction. They frame and reify a phenomenon that has specific gender and class implications.

Media representations are powerful symbols that can shape social discourse Altheideand impact norms of acceptable sexual behavior Stinson Sincethere has been a growing body of hook-up literature.

However, there remains limited understanding of how hook-up rhetoric is presented in popular media. Grounded in symbolic interactionism, this research offers insight to the narratives of two recent, popular films- No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits.

The focus of this project was not to dissect the films' immediate impact on audience members, but to uncover how they define social situations and clarify shared cultural meanings to the audience.

Broadly, it is characterized by casual sexual contact, ranging from kissing to having sex, and an overarching mutual agreement that sexual contact occurs outside a committed, romantic relationship Glenn and Marquardt Research estimates that between two-thirds to three-quarters of heterosexual college students have engaged in a hook-up at least once- defining the campus as a central site of hook-up culture Heldman and Wade While the "act of hooking-up" is not exclusively modern, its increasing popularity is evidence of a transition in sexual scripts that shapes prevailing sexual norms and activities Bradshaw, Kahn, and Saville ; Heldman and Wade The motivations to hook-up include both individual and cultural factors, such as the desire for physical pleasure, an increase in sexual permissiveness, and the notion that romance and relationships are too time and energy consuming in young adulthood Heldman and Wade Hook-ups occur in a social context distinct from traditional dating, whereby, individuals do not make social plans prior to sexual activity.

Rather, two people at a party or bar will "begin talking, flirting, or dancing [and] will move to a more private location where sexual activity occurs" Hamilton and Armstrong The consumption of alcohol is likely Owen, Rhoades, Stanley, and Finchamand while hook-ups may happen between strangers, they typically occur among individuals that are at least acquaintances Manning, Giordano, and Longmore Repeated sexual encounters are common and are labeled friends with benefits or repeat hook-ups Hamilton and Armstrong Though a committed, romantic relationship may evolve Bradshaw et al.

Nonrelationship sex and the college student population

Research on the emotional and social outcomes of individuals who have hooked-up is varied. Though some indicate overwhelming joy at hook-up culture Heldman and Wadethe majority has noted some form of emotional distress, such as loneliness or failed expectations Owen et al.

While there is little gender variance in reported emotional outcomes, there is a disparity in reputational outcomes.

Whereas men gain social status for "sexually consuming" a large number of women, women lose social status Bradshaw et al. This reflects the overarching cultural gender inequality that manifests in normative sexual scripts.

Sexual Scripts Within symbolic interactionism, the meanings people construct around sexuality shape individual behavior Simon and Gagnon ; Blumer Notably, meaning arises in the process of interaction, whereby individuals interpret and internalize social knowledge Blumer However, while plugging into cultural knowledge facilitates micro-level interactions, a person is not simply a sponge, but retains agency to act based on personal attitudes, values, or experiences.

Thus, individuals draw from larger cultural elements to develop a subjective understanding of their sexuality, and use this to determine their choice, and qualitative experience of, their sexual actions Simon and Gagnon When sexual encounters become learned interactions that follow predictable sequences they are characterized as sexual scripts Simon and Gagnon Sexual scripts not only inform what one is supposed to physically do, and also how one is supposed to feel during and after sexual activity Stepp Dominant sexual scripts do not occur in a vacuum and are influenced by larger social processes, including gender beliefs Banker, Kaestle, and Allen ; Tolman Ridgeway and Correll Beliefs about gender are particularly salient regarding sexual behavior, as men and women are believed to be the most different sexually Hamilton and Armstrong This is seen in traditional sexual scripts, where men are characterized as the active pursuers of women's sexuality, while women are "naturally" the passive recipients of men's sexual advances Bradshaw et al.

In this model, women's sexuality is dichotomized where "good girls" are to be "desirable but not desiring," while "bad girls" are "imbued with sexuality and are sexually loose" Reid, Elliott, and Webber This gendered model perpetuates the male sex drive discourse Gave, McPhillips, and Dohertywhich links heteronormative masculinity to sexual prowess Reid et al.

These views are problematic, as they preserve men's sexual desire over women's, limit women's sexual agency, and assume all men are sexually voracious Bradshaw et al. Though this script confers more sexual agency to men, it may negatively impact their sexual experience by generating feelings of shame or insecurity when desires differ from the heteronormative standard Reid et al.

Hooking-Up as a Gendered and Socioeconomic Sexual Script Hooking-up has been characterized as a distinct sexual script, whereby there is a mutual understanding that men and women will engage in non-relational sexual activity Bogle Hooking up, or a sexual encounter ranging from kissing to intercourse that occurs on one occasion and where the partners do not necessarily expect future physical encounters or a committed relationship, has become commonplace among college students.

Hooking up among college students demographic and psychosocial correlates

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Chi‐square tests were used to compare the prevalence of recent casual partnerships by selected demographic and personal categories. was associated with symptoms of depression among female college students, The Upside to Hooking Up: College Students’ Positive Hookup Experiences, International Journal of Sexual Health, 27, 1, ( Desai, Kavita Understanding the Relationship between Spiritual Struggles and Physical Health: A Physiological Study: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Bowling Green State University, , Psychology/Clinical.

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