Following on the heels of the mass media obsession, sociologists and psychologists have begun to investigate adolescent and young adult hookups more systematically. In this essay, we draw on systematic data and studies of youth sexual practices over time to counter claims that hooking up represents a sudden and alarming change in youth sexual culture. The research shows that there is some truth to popular claims that hookups are bad for women. Scholarship suggests that pop culture feminists have correctly zeroed in on sexual double standards as a key source of gender inequality in sexuality. Before examining the consequences of hooking up for girls and young women, we need to look more carefully at the facts. This characterization is simply not true.
I draw on my research in these talks, but I also always give a shout out to Paula England, a sociologist who has collected tens of thousands of surveys from students at dozens of schools.
This survey was taken online by more than 20, students from 21 four-year colleges and universities between and Most students are involved in both exclusive relationships and hooking up at some point during their time in college. Hookups can entail anything from just making out to intercourse. The survey asked students who said they had ever hooked up while at college to provide details about their most recent hookup. It provided a list of sexual behaviors; they checked all that applied.
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