What's Your Definition of Hooking Up?

by larth1 on November 3, 2013 - 4:06pm

            A random sample of college students was surveyed to determine the multiple definitions of hooking up among the students and how their definition is impacted by their behavior and their point of view on other college students who also “hook up.” Although there is an inconsistency of definitions between the college students  (e.g., Bogle, 2008; Holman & Sillars, 2012), the general definition of hooking up according to the researchers of the article, “What Is Hooking Up? Examining Definitions of Hooking Up in Relation to Behavior and Normative Perceptions,” is casual sexual behaviors ranging from kissing to intercourse where there is no current relationship commitment and no expected future relationship commitment. Hooking up can also result with a loss of respect, depression, embarrassment, difficulties in a relationship with a steady partner, unwanted pregnancy, obtaining a sexual transmitted infection, and sexual regret in women according to some additional research  (e.g., Eshbaugh & Gute, 2008; Fielder & Carey, 2010a, 2010b; Grello et al., 2006; Lewis et al., 2012; Owen et al., 2010, 2011; Paul et al., 2000; Townsend & Wasserman, 2011). College students involved in Bogle’s study  define hooking up as having sex, just kissing, or everything but intercourse (Bogle 2008). Half of the students in the study defined hooking up as involving sex, while nine percent described hooking up as not involving sex (Holman and Sillars 2012). The researchers divided the students with different definitions into three separate clusters. Furthermore, Cluster 1 had the most general definition, referring primarily to sex but not to specific sexual acts, and to making out, cluster 2 placed an emphasis on interpersonal and social aspects, whereas cluster 3 defined hooking up primarily as sex, including notable references to specific sexual acts (p (Bogle, 2008; Epstein, Calzo, Smiler, & Ward, 2009; Paul & Hayes, 2002). After determining their definition of hooking up, the 1,468 college students involved in the survey answered questions regarding their hooking up frequency, amount of hookup partners, and typical hookup behaviors. The research found that there are multiple definitions of hooking up among college students, and the multiple definitions derive from their actual behavior and perceived behavior, but mostly on the respondents’ personal hooking up experiences (Lewis et al., 2012).

            The main purpose of the article, What Is Hooking Up?  Examining Definitions of Hooking Up in Relation to Behavior and Normative Perceptions, is  to inform the reader that there are multiple definitions of hooking up among college students and that their definitions are formed from their own hooking up behavior and their perceptions on hooking up. For instance, half of the students in the survey believe hooking up involves sex, while only nine percent believe hooking up to be anything but sex (Holman and Sillars 2012). The key question that the author is addressing is, whether the different definitions of hooking up might be related to one’s personal experiences or their perceptions of hooking up behavior among peers. The main conclusion in this article is that the different definitions of hooking up among the surveyed college students are a result from their own experiences and their perceived behavior of their peers hooking up. However, the definition of hooking up mostly derived from a persons’ person experiences (Lewis et al., 2012). Lastly, the main point of view in the article is that college students are ambiguous of the definition of hooking up. 



Lewis, M. A., Atkins, D. C., Blayney, J. A., Dent, D. V., & Kaysen, D. L. (2013) What is hooking up? Examining definitions of hooking up in relation to behavior and normative perceptions. Journal of Sex Research, 50(8), 757-766.

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