Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus

Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus

Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus

Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus


'Hooking Up uses interviews with both women and men to understand why dating has declined in favor of a new script for sexual relationships on college campuses.... Bogle presents a balanced analysis that explores the full range of hooking-up experiences.' - Joel Best, author of Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads It happens every weekend: In a haze of hormones and alcohol, groups of male and female college students meet at a frat party, a bar, or hanging out in a dorm room, and then hook up for an evening of sex first, questions later. As casually as the sexual encounter begins, so it often ends with no strings attached; after all, it was ?just a hook up.' While a hook up might mean anything from kissing to oral sex to going all the way, the lack of commitment is paramount. Hooking Up is an intimate look at how and why college students get together, what hooking up means to them, and why it has replaced dating on college campuses. In surprisingly frank interviews, students reveal the circumstances that have led to the rise of the booty call and the death of dinner-and-a-movie. Whether it is an expression of postfeminist independence or a form of youthful rebellion, hooking up has become the only game in town on many campuses. In Hooking Up, Kathleen A. Bogle argues that college life itself promotes casual relationships among students on campus. The book sheds light on everything from the differences in what young men and women want from a hook up to why freshmen girls are more likely to hook up than their upper-class sisters and the effects this period has on the sexual and romantic relationships of both men and women after college. Importantly, she shows us that the standards for young men and women are not as different as they used to be, as women talk about ?friends with benefits? and ?one and done? hook ups. Breaking through many misconceptions about casual sex on college campuses, Hooking Up is the first book to understand the new sexual culture on its own terms, with vivid real-life stories of young men and women as they navigate the newest sexual revolution.


The journalist Tom Wolfe, a keen observer of American culture, offered this musing on junior high, high school, and college students:

Only yesterday boys and girls spoke of embracing and kissing (neck
ing) as getting to first base. Second base was deep kissing, plus grop
ing and fondling this and that. Third base was oral sex. Home plate
was going all the way. That was yesterday. Here in the year 2000 we
can forget about necking. Today's boys and girls have never heard of
anything that dainty. Today's first base is deep kissing, now known as
tonsil hockey, plus groping and fondling this and that. Second base is
oral sex. Third base is going all the way. Home plate is learning each
other's names.

Clearly, times have changed. Most images that we see today of college students are in a sex-charged atmosphere like MTV's Spring Break, where bikini contests, bump and grind dance contests, and “beach sports” with barely clothed contestants are common scenes. Comparing today's “co-eds gone wild” with our idea of college students of yesteryear, it is perhaps easy to jump to the conclusion that our young people are in moral decline. But it is too simplistic to characterize the change in moral terms. Wolfe's “bases” point to something much more than an increase in sexual activity among today's youth. I would argue that today there is something fundamentally different about how young men and women become sexually intimate and form relationships with one another. For American youth, particularly college students, “dating” and mating has become a whole new ball game.

Dating, which permeated college campuses from the 1920s through the mid-1960s, is no longer the means to beginning an intimate relationship. College students rarely date in the traditional sense of the term. Do they have sexual encounters? Yes. Are they interested in finding . . .

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