“Hooking up” in hopes that it will turn into a real romance

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“Hooking up” in hopes that it will turn into a real romance
Do you have sex with a guy in hopes he will like you? You may find yourself feeling worse and alone.


College used to be a time when dating was rampant. But now 60% of all college students are female and 40 % are male. There doesn’t seem to be enough males to go around. Women have given in to what everyone else is doing. That is hooking up. A hook up is when you go out, meet someone and have sex just for one night. No strings attached, sex is casual and knowing them or their name is not necessary. In fact the majority of hook ups are done under the influence of alcohol so it is likely that if you did know their name you wouldn’t be able to remember it the next day.
In a recent article, Carolyn Bradshaw, from James Madison University in Virginia, explored factors that motivate college men and women to hook up or to date, as well as the perceived relative benefits and costs of the two practices. Bradshaw and her team exposed 150 female and 71 male college students from a southern, public American university to a variety of dating or hooking up situations. There was a situation when there was potential for a relationship, a situation when the partner had a great personality and a situation when drinking was involved. They asked the students the extent to which they would prefer dating or hooking up in each situation. The participants were also asked to pick the top three benefits and top three risks associated with dating and hooking up from a checklist, as well as provide details of their dating and hooking up activities over the past two years.
Even though men initiated significantly more first dates than women, there was no gender difference in the number of first dates or number of hookups. For both men and women, the number of hookups was nearly double the number of first dates. Overall, both genders showed a preference for traditional dating over hooking up. However, of those students who strongly preferred traditional dating, there were significantly more women than men (41 percent vs. 20 percent). Of those who showed a strong preference for hooking up, there were far fewer women than men (2 percent vs. 17 percent). The study also clearly found two truths with this group of students. Women, more than men, seem to want a relationship. Their fear of hooking up is that they will become emotionally attached to a partner who is not interested in them. Men, more than women, seem to value independence. Their fear of hooking up is that even though it is meant to be casual the woman may seek a relationship.

Article contributed by

Mary Jo Rapini

Counselor/Therapist

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