In her new book, The End of Sex: And why hooking up all the time is really less fun than it sounds.
Can you explain what you mean by hookup culture? First of all, I want to distinguish between a hookup and a culture of hooking up.
A culture of hooking up, as far as my students have talked about it, is monolithic and oppressive, and where sexual intimacy is supposed to occur only within a very particular context. The hookup, on its own, becomes a norm for all sexual intimacy, rather than being a one time, fun experience.
A hookup can be really great, in theory, but over time becomes jading and exhausting.
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Casual sex is not necessarily what happens in a hookup. A hookup can be kissing.
The hookup has become the most common way of being sexually intimate on a college campus, and relationships are formed through serial hookups. Why is this problematic?
Bravado is a big part of what perpetuates hookup culture, but if you get students one-on-one, both young women and men, you hear about a lot of dissatisfaction and ambivalence.
Why do they find it dissatisfying? Students, in theory, will acknowledge that a hookup can be good. But I think they also experience the hookup as something they need to prove, that they can be sexually intimate with someone and then walk away not caring about that person or what they did.
But it seems like many students go into the hookup aware of this social contract, but then come out of it unable to uphold it and realizing that they do have feelings about what happened.
Do you think men and women are differently affected by the new sexual norms? My biggest surprise when I started this project was the answers I heard from young men.
I assumed I would hear stories of revelry from the men and a lot of complaints from the women. But a lot of the young men I talked to complained just as much as the women.