The “hookup” is defined as a sexual encounter, usually lasting only one night, between two people who are strangers or brief acquaintances. Such sexual encounters usually “just happen”; alternately, the goal of hooking up is planned but the desired individual is unknown. Additionally, hookups are usually anonymous in that the individuals involved are strangers or only brief acquaintances and rarely continue to build any sort of relationship, let alone see each other again.
This study focuses on the hookup and specifically the college culture in which hookups have become a prominent feature. An important aspect of this topic is the concept of casual sex, which has been loosely defined as sexual intercourse without commitment or emotional involvement (Paul, McManus, & Hayes, 2000). While approaching this study, there are a multitude of variables to consider. Social variables (ex. Alcohol use), individual psychological variables (ex. Dependence, self-esteem), and relational psychological variables (ex. Love style, intimacy issues) were considered as possible predictors of coital or noncoital hookups. Participant gender was also considered with this study.
A random study sample of 555 undergraduate students at a state college was taken to explore this study of the hookup. Over 75% of the participants had experienced at least one hookup; a third of the participants had sexual intercourse with a stranger or brief acquaintance. Alcohol use, self-esteem issues, and love styles were some of the more prevalent variables determined the hookup experience, whether it was coital or noncoital. There was no overall gender difference in the likelihood of having hookup encounters. However, more men reported coital hookup experiences while more women reported noncoital hookups. Between the sexes, there was rarely a difference in social variables, individual psychological variables, or relational psychological variables.