When You Hear "Hook Up" What Do You Think?

by vflor1 on November 6, 2013 - 3:23pm


Depending on where one is from, how one was raised, and the time period in which one was born, sayings and objects can have different meanings. The term “hooking up” can have two different meanings when the definition is taken from an adult or an adolescent (Fortunato, Young, Boyd & Fons, 2010). The only other study before this article that researched hook ups was one that investigated adolescent non-dating experiences that solely involved sexual intercourse. The term “hook up” in the high school and college aged generations today has expanded to just kissing, sexual intercourse, or anything in between. The researchers test two different age groups with different sets of questions. The college students were asked what they considered a hook up was, what caused the hook up, who it was with, when does it end, and how they feel after. The middle school and high school student’s questions were mainly focused on the relation between alcohol and drugs relationship with parents, academic performance, and the amount of times they have hooked up with someone.

The main purpose of this article was to open up the discussion on how common hooking up is in our society today despite the obvious health risk. This research was also done to determine how this generation defines “hooking up”.  Majority of the students tested agreed that a hookup usually happened with someone who they were not in a relationship with. In college students, 35% felt regretful afterwards and 27% felt happy. Out of the 148 college students tested, 42% of women and 46% of men all said that they have had a “terrible hooking up experience.” It was proven in the survey that was given to the middle and high school students that problem behaviors, such as drinking and smoking, did increase the possibility of that student to have had one or more hook ups. Using “hook up” as a vague term can be positive in that student’s peers are not as judging when given information about the encounter, especially in adolescent girls. A negative way the vagueness of the term is used is that someone could think he/she is more experienced or less experienced then they really are which could increase disappointment or emotion. It seems that in our society “hooking up” outside of a relationship is not a big deal. It happens so often among the current generation of students that some even get made fun of for not partaking in the activities that are under the huge category of “hooking up”.


Fortunato, L., Young, A. M., Boyd, C. J., & Fons, C. E. (2010). Hook-up sexual experiences and problem behaviors among adolescents. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 19, 261-278. doi:10.1080/1067828X.2010.488965




Your article is thought-provoking because I wrote one as well about hooking up and how college students define hooking up. It was exciting to see an expansion of my topic because you added that the research you found also interviewed middle school and high school students. That's interesting because it is becoming more common not only among college students but middle and high school as well. The research you found is also very fair, being the males and females tested were close to 50/50. Additionally, saying x amount of people felt happy afterwards and x amount said they felt regretful is common among people we all know which can help support the evidence! Nice job.

This is a very interesting study. I never thought that the words hook up had such a broad definition. I always assumed it was slang for sexual intercourse. Now I know it can apparently be more than that. It's amazing that so many people have had a bad hook up experience. Although now I'm not sure what that means since it's different to so many people. It's pretty unfortunate that people get amde fun of for not hooking up, if they want to maintain their dignity why would others make fun of them for it. It's weird, before it was looked down upon to hook up with people and now people are ridiculed for not taking part in it. I don't understand today's society.

I totally agree. People have been hooking up for centuries. No matter the name for it, it is still hooking up. I have had the same experience before with a guy. I was not happy with the results. This is a unique and interesting look into todays society. I never would have thought that such research was every thought of. It was a good idea it was done though. Great job.

I find it very interesting to see how hooking up can take so many broad definition.I totally agree with some points in the article for instance hooking up as an adolescence results as sexual intercourse which i find its somewhat true but not all the times.In high school its more of a kissing thing but at times hooking up with one person didn't last very long.We all have bad experiences in hooking up but we must teach children the true meaning of hooking up,that its not only for sexual purposes but to find happiness since i find it is one of the most important thing in life which is to find happiness.

This a very interesting topic.
Growing up means to try many experiences as possible.Teenagers would try drugs,alcohol and also hooking up with someone.Most of the time that person can be a friend or a complete stranger.The act is done because both of partners know that no emotions would get involved after it.Sadly,the percentage in your article proved the opposite. A lot of teens regret doing it and wished that it was done differently.

This a very interesting topic.
Growing up means to try many experiences as possible.Teenagers would try drugs,alcohol and also hooking up with someone.Most of the time that person can be a friend or a complete stranger.The act is done because both of partners know that no emotions would get involved after it.Sadly,the percentage in your article proved the opposite. A lot of teens regret doing it and wished that it was done differently.

I agree that different generations have different definitions for "hooking up". For example, my mom thinks hooking up is going on a date. When someone says hooking up I think of kissing, but some people when they say hooking up mean more than that. Hooking up is a very common activity in our more modern society. People have different ideas on what hooking up really is.

I'm glad someone is finally trying to clear up this messy grey area that has become associated with saying hooking up. When I was back in my home town and still going to high school, we all considered the expression "hooking up" to mean that you had sex with someone. Since I've come to college though, I've noticed that everybody else uses it to describe kissing someone, having sex, or anything in between. I completely agree that it could be a positive thing that there are so many different things associated with hooking up that it takes away some of the graphic descriptions that might degrade or demoralize a person, but it also creates confusion in that if you were to just kiss somebody and then say that you hooked up, people might think you did much much more than kiss them. I definitely think that this could create some problems.

Immediately the title of this response intrigued because it made me think, “wow, what do I think it means, I’ve never really thought about it.” I agree with the entire response and am interested in reading into this article more deeply. From the way I have been raised and where I am from the term hooking up, just like the article says, describes basically a non-meaningful sexual act of any sort with usually someone that they are not dating. Since I have been at college the meaning has not changed one bit. A few things were very interesting to me, that “hooking up” is not a big deal, because if you think about it you are being a bit sloppy, but no one makes fun of you or judges you. Weirdly enough people, most often males tend to celebrate a random hook up like brownie points for being able to get a lot of girls. From my own experience hook ups do seem to be pretty common and I do believe that the influence of drugs and alcohol increase this silly behavior.

This topic was interesting to me because I have has this conversation with a few of my friends as to what they considered "hooking up". Where I'm from, sort of upstate NY on the PA border, hooking up was considered anything such as petting, fondling,oral sex, etc. My friends from upstate NY, like Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, mostly consider hooking up as sexual intercourse and nothing less. However, what was most surprising to me is that my friends from the Long Island and NYC area consider hooking up as just kissing or making out. It's always interesting to hear "so and so hooked up" and have to verify what that person means because it could be two different extremes depending on the person talking. Also, your article was very interesting in that it interviewed middle and high school students. I first started hearing about hooking up in middle school, but it didn't seem like reality until at least my sophomore year of high school. It's so weird how the times are changing and children are more aware of "adult" topics at younger ages.

The term "hooking-up" has been a term that has been thrown around and changed in many ways in my experience. I find this article very easy to relate to because I have seen the term used through out various periods of my life. In my later years of middle school and earlier years of high school, "hooking-up" in my experiences was considered kissing. Later on in high school it changed and became another name for sexual intercourse. Another way some of my class mates used the term "hooking-up" was with a friends with benefits type situation. I have also found the guys typically thinking hook up's are an accomplishment and they praise each other for it. It's weird to think about how much the term changed as I moved from middle school to high school and it makes me wonder what kind of terms the next generation is going to be using for that particular topic.

I completely agree with you. I can especially relate to how everyone thinks something else when you say “hooking up.” If you’re gossiping with your friends, you have to specify what you mean by it. To me, hooking up is just kissing; to my roommate she thinks it is having sex. I find it interesting that hooking up basically has become to include all types of intimacy. It’s not surprising to me that drugs and alcohol influence kids to partake in hooking up, it seems to impair their thinking and they act impulsively as a result.

You're right Hooking up doesn't have just one definition. The term itself has evolved over time. I believe the older the age group using the term is, the more sexual the term becomes. When I was in middle school hooking up was just kissing another person or just another word for dating. However now that I'm older I mainly hear the term used as a substitute for one night stands or just having sex. I found it interesting that a study was done on how adolescents felt after "hooking up." I would never think of a research being done on such a topic. I found it also interesting that the percentage of those who regretted it or didn't enjoy it was so high up. I believe that the reasons for the regret percentage is so high is probably due to the person(s) doing the hooking up wasn't sober or in a clear state of mind. What other factors could be the reason for them regretting their "hook up"?

I agree with this post! It is so true that college students are constantly overwhelmed with homework, classes and trying to maintain a social life. I know that when I’m feeling particularly stressed out, there is nothing that can calm me down better than a hard workout. Draining yourself physically at the gym and focusing all of your energy into a workout actually has helped me come back less tense and with more of a clear head. It is amazing that no matter how physically exhausted you can get, your mind can still be ready to focus and mentally accomplish your homework. It is also interesting how the study you wrote of mentioned that it can take as little as 20 minutes to begin feeling the positive effects of a workout. I knew that working out has many benefits, but wasn’t aware that some were almost instant. Great post!

Within our generation the term has definitely had a change in meaning. I remember even early High School years where hooking up did in fact mean having sex, and that’s what many kids thought of it as. However in the ladder part of my high school years when someone said so and so hooked up you began having to ask what they actually did because of the change in definition. I think this broad definition is good for adolescents like you said because if everyone’s hooking up you can’t really be pointed out for hooking up with someone, which is a serious problem among younger girls so eliminating this element could prove helpful. I think this is a very well written article and you did a very good job of expressing your thoughts on the article. This topic is very interesting because it has changed over the last few years and it is something our generation has played a major role in, which is why I chose to read this article.