Hook Up Culture: To the Best of Our Knowledge
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This lecture/workshop is aimed at higher education health and counseling staff. It includes an overview of the literature on hook up culture, a discussion of the theoretical issues/advances, and ...

This lecture/workshop is aimed at higher education health and counseling staff. It includes an overview of the literature on hook up culture, a discussion of the theoretical issues/advances, and recommendations for institutions.

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Hook Up Culture: To the Best of Our Knowledge Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Hook Up Culture …to the best of our knowledgeOccidental CollegeSociological Images lisa-wade.com • @lisawade •
  • 2. • What we know about hook up culture… • Where is it? • What is it? • How do they happen? • And when? • Who hooks up? • What do students want from hook ups? • Whether they’re getting these things? • And whether they like it?• Things to consider…• What can institutions do?
  • 3. • The Online College Social Life Survey • Paula England et al.• Ethnography of a Midwestern “Party Dorm” • Laura Hamilton and Elizabeth Armstrong et al.• Diaries from Students at a Small Private Liberal Arts College • Lisa Wade and Caroline Heldman• …and more.
  • 4. • Almost everywhere.
  • 5. • Definition: • Sexually-charged activities… • in a non-relationship context (and with no promise of one) • usually involving alcohol• In Practice: • 34% included only kissing and non-genital touching • Another 16% included hand-to-genital stimulation • Another 11% included oral sex • Another 39% included intercourseArmstrong, E., P. England, & A. Fogarty. 2012. Accounting for Women’s Orgasm andSexual Enjoyment in College Hookups and Relationships. American Sociological Review77, 3: 435-462.
  • 6. • “planned spontaneity” “There‟s, like, this system that‟s like, you‟re gonna get drunk, randomly meet randoms, and just, like, whatever happens.”• At parties and dances “They dance in big circles and help their friends to find attractive/suitable partners. …close friends will give a thumbs up if a guy coming up behind one of them is a cute catch...”Wade, L. & C. Heldman. Unpublished Data.
  • 7. Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 8. • Weekly cycle• Semester cycle• Four-year cycle
  • 9. • About 30% of students will never hook up. 30%• Of the ones that do: • 40% have had 3 or fewer hook ups by their senior year 28% • 40% have had between 4 and 9 28% • 20% have had ten or more 14% 100%
  • 10. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Middle or upper class • Conventionally attractive • Non-church going
  • 11. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual “I was uncomfortable . . . in the sense that all of the girls kind of have to compete with each other to get the alcohol, and it just screams so much like prostitution to me. You know, even if they‟re not literally having sex with the guys, it‟s just like they‟re . . . selling their flirtiness for beer or something, and that‟s just so not me.”Hamilton, L. 2007. Trading on Heterosexuality: College Women’s Gender Strategies andHomophobia. Gender & Society 21, 2: 145-172.
  • 12. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • HeterosexualHamilton, L. 2007. Trading on Heterosexuality: College Women’s Gender Strategies andHomophobia. Gender & Society 21, 2: 145-172.
  • 13. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual “I went to the straight bar with my girlfriend and stood next to her, let alone kissed her, that would not be okay. But that these little girls kissing and giggling is A-okay because it‟s implied that there‟s no pleasure there or that it‟s to please men rather than to please themselves.”Hamilton, L. 2007. Trading on Heterosexuality: College Women’s Gender Strategies andHomophobia. Gender & Society 21, 2: 145-172.
  • 14. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual R2: “Sometimes we get a little out of control and trashed, but it‟s not like we‟re going crazy on each other. Like, it‟s just to be funny. It‟s random kisses. It‟s not serious.” R1: “Right (laughs). It‟s not like I want you or anything. Eww.”Hamilton, L. 2007. Trading on Heterosexuality: College Women’s Gender Strategies andHomophobia. Gender & Society 21, 2: 145-172.
  • 15. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White
  • 16. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive
  • 17. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive As “close to Barbie as you can get.”Butler, J. & S. Hays. Unpublished. Hooking Up as a Shared Cultural Narrative.
  • 18. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive As “close to Barbie as you can get.” “The Blonde.”Hamilton, L. & E. Armstrong. 2009. Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood:Double Binds and Flawed Options. Gender & Society 23, 5: 589-616.
  • 19. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive • Middle or upper class
  • 20. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive • Middle or upper class “I‟ve always looked at college as the only time in your life when you should be a hundred percent selfish. . . . I have the rest of my life to devote to a husband or kids or my job . . . but right now, it‟s my time”.Hamilton, L. & E. Armstrong. 2009. Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood:Double Binds and Flawed Options. Gender & Society 23, 5: 589-616.
  • 21. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive • Middle or upper class “College is the only time that you don‟t have obligations to anyone but yourself… I want to get settled down and figure out what I‟m doing with my life before [I] dedicate myself to something or someone else.”Hamilton, L. & E. Armstrong. 2009. Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood:Double Binds and Flawed Options. Gender & Society 23, 5: 589-616.
  • 22. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive • Middle or upper these girls don‟t even go to “Some of class class. It‟s like they just live here. They stay up until 4:00 in the morning. [I want to ask,] „Do you guys go to class? Like what‟s your deal? … You‟re paying a lot of money for this… If you want to be here, then why aren‟t you trying harder?‟”Hamilton, L. 2007. Trading on Heterosexuality: College Women’s GenderStrategies and Homophobia. Gender & Society 21, 2: 145-172.
  • 23. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive • Middle or upper class “I didn‟t feel like I was growing up. I felt like I was actually getting younger the way I was trying to act. Growing up to me isn‟t going out and getting smashed and sleeping around… That to me is immature.”Hamilton, L. & E. Armstrong. 2009. Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood:Double Binds and Flawed Options. Gender & Society 23, 5: 589-616.
  • 24. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive • Middle or upper class “I thought I‟d get married in college… When I was still in high school, I figured by my senior year, I‟d be engaged or married or something… I wanted to have kids before I was 25.”Hamilton, L. & E. Armstrong. 2009. Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood:Double Binds and Flawed Options. Gender & Society 23, 5: 589-616.
  • 25. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive • Middle or upper class “My high school sweetheart is “the one I want to spend the rest of my life with… Really, I don‟t want to date anybody else.”Hamilton, L. & E. Armstrong. 2009. Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood:Double Binds and Flawed Options. Gender & Society 23, 5: 589-616.
  • 26. • College students at the top of the social status hierarchy. • Heterosexual • White • Conventionally attractive • Middle or upper class • Non-church going
  • 27. • Validation• Status• Pleasure• Empowerment• Relationships• Connection
  • 28. • Validation (YES AND NO) “When a girl hooks up, it’s like if a guy tells you that you’re pretty, but more intense than that.”Butler, J. & S. Hays. Unpublished. Hooking Up as a Shared Cultural Narrative.
  • 29. • Validation (YES AND NO) “I realize that I have probably had one of the least sexually successful freshman years of someone who actively desires to be sexually active and engaged. This realization is really depressing, as it does make me feel inadequate and unwanted.”Wade, L. & C. Heldman. Unpublished Data.
  • 30. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO) “When I‟ve just got laid, the first thing I that about—really, I shouldn‟t be telling you this, but really it‟s the very first thing, before I‟ve even like „finished‟—is that I can‟t wait to tell my crew who I just did. Like, I say to myself, „Omigod, they‟re not going to believe I just did Kristy!‟”Kalish, R. & M. Kimmel. 2011. Hooking Up: Hot Hetero Sex or the New NumbNormative? Australian Feminist Studies 26, 67: 137-151.
  • 31. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO) “[P]art of the hook-up culture is hooking up with someone and then telling someone about it.” “Friday morning debrief is a major part of it. That takes up, like, half our day.”Butler, J. & S. Hays. Unpublished. Hooking Up as a Shared Cultural Narrative.
  • 32. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED)
  • 33. Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 34. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED) “I know that he wants to make me happy. I know that he wants me to orgasm. I know that, and like just me knowing that we are connected and like we‟re going for the same thing and that like he cares.”Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 35. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED) “If it‟s just a random hookup, I don‟t think [her orgasm] matters as much to the guy… I don‟t think it‟s gonna matter to them as much... But if you‟re with somebody for more than just that one night… I know I feel personally responsible. I think it‟s essential that she has an orgasm during sexual activity. “Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 36. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED) “When I... meet somebody and I‟m gonna have a random hookup... from what I have seen, they‟re not even trying to, you know, make it a mutual thing.”Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 37. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED) “I will do everything in my power to, like whoever I‟m with, to get [him] off. Just because it makes me feel like I‟m good at sex...”Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 38. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED) “I didn‟t feel comfortable I guess. I don‟t know. I think I felt kind of guilty almost, like I felt like I was kind of subjecting people to something they didn‟t want to do and I felt bad about it.”Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 39. Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 40. Women who say they enjoyed the sexual activity “verymuch.” Hook up: 50% Relationship: 81%Women who say they enjoyed the sexual activity “verymuch” or “somewhat.” Hook up: 86% Relationship: 97%
  • 41. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED) “…if there‟s nothing wrong about it then it‟s automatically a good thing.”Maher, C. Unpublished Manuscript. Hook Up Culture: Investigating the Collegiate SexualArena and its Consequences for Women.
  • 42. Armstrong, E., P. England, & Alison Fogarty. 2009. Orgasm in College Hookups andRelationships. In Families as They Really Are, edited by Barbara Risman. New York:W.W. Norton and Co.
  • 43. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED)• Empowerment (OVERWHELMINGLY NO) “I felt compelled to flirt with these boys… simply because I was drunk and am a girl.”Wade, L. & C. Heldman. Unpublished Data.
  • 44. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED)• Empowerment (OVERWHELMINGLY NO) “Figuratively speaking, when I think about my sex life it feels like my insides tie themselves tight together before they boil and rot. Worrying about it saps a lot of time and energy from my life.”Wade, L. & C. Heldman. Unpublished Data.
  • 45. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED)• Empowerment (OVERWHELMINGLY NO) “With these feelings of loneliness and inadequacy comes a feeling that I am lame and pathetic and ugly and it definitely interferes with my ability to be happy. The sexual aspect of is part of it but it isnt the sole problem—the lack of companionshipWade, L. & C. and feeling of human closeness is very Heldman. Unpublished Data. depressing.”
  • 46. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED)• Empowerment (OVERWHELMINGLY NO) “It is really difficult to never have any kind of physical contact and feeling of closeness with another. I am left longing for someone to just hold close or the like—something that seems so simple, but for me, isnt.”Wade, L. & C. Heldman. Unpublished Data.
  • 47. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED)• Empowerment (OVERWHELMINGLY NO) “…you feel like you have to be this fabulous lover and they have to come at least three times, and like, your, you know, your, uh, dick isn‟t the biggest she‟s ever seen, and like you always feel like you‟re being measured and coming up a bit… [he laughs uncomfortably],Kalish, R. & M.short.”2011. Hooking Up: Hot Hetero Sex or the New Numb Kimmel.Normative? Australian Feminist Studies 26, 67: 137-151.
  • 48. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED)• Empowerment (OVERWHELMINGLY NO)• Relationships (YES) “There‟s like, three ranges: one-night stand, then hooking up—like, undefined exclusively or un-exclusively but you‟re hooking up for an extended period of time that usually maxes out at, like, four to six weeks—then you‟re dating.”Butler, J. & S. Hays. Unpublished. Hooking Up as a Shared Cultural Narrative.
  • 49. • Validation (YES AND NO)• Status (YES AND NO)• Pleasure (IT’S COMPLICATED)• Empowerment (OVERWHELMINGLY NO)• Relationships (YES)• Connection (DEFINITELY NO) “…like, you make me feel optimistic or you make me feel alive or you make me feel safe. Or you inspire me.”Wade, L. & C. Heldman. 2012. Hooking Up and Opting Out. In Sex for Life, editedby J. DeLamater & L. Carpenter. New York: New York University Press.
  • 50. • Definitely: ~10%• Ambivalent: ~55%• No way: ~35%
  • 51. • Hooking up is a frame.
  • 52. • Hooking up is a frame.• A campus with casual sex is different than a hook up culture. “It is much harder to stick to my high morals of remaining pure here… I find myself in conflict with myself... Always having to internally fight the desire to do sexual things with girls is not easy… the carefree atmosphere really has hit me… I felt more free and unbounded, but at the same time, guilt beyond imagination.” Wade, L. & C. Heldman. Unpublished Data.
  • 53. • Hooking up is a frame.• A campus with casual sex is different than a hook up culture.• There are some real problems with hook up culture…
  • 54. • Hooking up is a frame.• A campus with casual sex is different than a hook up culture.• There are some real problems with hook up culture…• …but they’re American problems typical of the West.
  • 55. • Hooking up is a frame.• A campus with casual sex is different than a hook up culture.• There are some real problems with hook up culture…• …but they’re American problems typical of the West.• Promoting relationships is probably not the answer.
  • 56. • Hooking up is a frame.• A campus with casual sex is different than a hook up culture.• There are some real problems with hook up culture…• …but they’re American problems typical of the West.• Promoting relationships is probably not the answer.• And, besides, students learn a lot. “…every experience that I have had with these guys has taught me more about who I am and what type of role sex has in my life. I am no longer afraid to give into my desires, but I am also aware of what I feel Wade, L. & C. is rightUnpublished Data. Heldman. and wrong.”
  • 57. • Start a campus conversation about hook up culture.• Start it the first day students arrive on campus.• Talk about pleasure.• Talk about the students who AREN’T hooking up.• Teach students about “pluralistic ignorance.”• Think through your institution’s alcohol policies.• Ensure that campus events interrupt the hook up script.• Take steps to minimize its harm.• Enhance student body diversity.• Nurture subcultures on campus.
  • 58. DiscussionOccidental CollegeSociological Images lisa-wade.com • @lisawade •