The Gender and Diversity Conference: Hooked on Hookups

I think most of us have hookup stories that we don’t want to share and stories that we can’t tell enough of, it's just one of those things that have become apart of the whole “college experience.” I myself have had experiences that were both funny and downright threatening, but I’ve grown from them, learned from them, and quite frankly I’m kind of over the whole hookup culture. But the real question is, why do we do it? Why have we been completely skipping over the whole “date” and just crawling right into bed with some not-so-perfect strangers? Are we just acknowledging that we, as women, are also sexual beings and so why waste a perfectly good evening on someone that turns out to have a better performance than a personality? Dr. Paula England, a sociology professor at Stanford University, has similar (definitely more educated) questions about the hookup culture that has been sweeping over college campuses and has shared her findings with the rest of the world. So before we delve deeper, ask yourself why you enjoy hookups (or don’t enjoy them).

 

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First of all, what exactly is a hookup? According to the super credible Urban Dictionary, a hookup is any form of intimacy with a member of the preferred sex that you don’t consider a significant other. However, Dr. England allowed students filling her survey out to use their definition of hookup. By doing so, she found that 11.7% considered it to be oral sex, 15.1% said there had to be some hand action, a whopping 32.1% counted it even if it was just kissing, and 39.5% would only consider it to be a hookup if there was penetration.

 

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Okay so now that we know what people consider it to be and you know what you consider hooking up to be… why do we do it? Why do we allow ourselves to be so vulnerable to people we don’t know? Studies show that we do it for a variety of reasons: instant physical gratification, fulfilling emotional needs, some even use it as a way to find a long-term partner. But let’s be honest, it also just feels good.

 

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Now I know you don’t want to think about this (and I really don’t either), but we are not the first to be apart of the hookup culture, we’re just far more open about it than our parents were and even our grandparents for that matter. People started “hooking up” back in 1920, of course, there was premarital sex before then; however, it was not considered casual sex because most, if not all, was paid for. It is believed that hookup culture got its start due to technological advances with things such as cars and movie theaters (Grandma’s version of Netflix and Chill) which brought the young adults out of the house and away from supervision and opened up their world… and their legs. And then, of course, there was the sexual revolution of the 1960s which made premarital sex more acceptable and by the mid-1990s hookups had become a widely accepted form of interaction among college students.

 

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Of course, hookups come with risks… if our parents didn’t want us taking candy from strangers, they most certainly didn’t want us swallowing anything else from them either. There is always the risk of STDs so obviously make sure you use condoms (if you’re broke and horny, stop by Health and Wellness and they’ll be happy to give you some) and be sure to get checked regularly depending on how sexually active you are/how many people you sleep with. But there is also a lot of emotional damage that hookups can cause. Studies have found that there is regret and it tends to come more from women than men. We all have it and it’s okay to regret things, just learn from it. Something else to consider is the use of drugs and alcohol which can lead to even more regrets and sometimes fatal situations. We’re going to hookup, it’s just best to be aware of what you are getting into. Share your location with a friend or two and check in with them. I personally always made it a point to never allow any of them into my home, but that’s just me.

 

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Hookups are fun and fascinating and some stories make them sound absolutely terrifying. If you want to know more about this topic, come watch the film Understanding Hookup Culture where Dr. England shares her research. It will be showing during the Gender Conference and Film Fest this Thursday, April 5 from 3-3:30 pm in McGarvey Commons.

 

The Gender Conference and Film Fest will be taking place this Thursday and Friday, April 5 and 6 in The Reed Union Building from 9 am - 5 pm. For more information, follow @behrendgenderconference on Instagram.

 

Stop by and say hello to us lovely Her Campus Collegiettes at any film - we’ll be at all of them!

 

 

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