Hookup culture is about more than casual sex. Hookup culture is part of today’s sexual landscape and affects all of us, whether or not we are in a relationship or single.
Hookups are casual sexual encounters that are presumed to be one time deals, without emotional attachment or the intention of an ongoing relationship. Hooking up happens in the dorms and frat houses of college campuses, but also in adult bedrooms. Recently, the rise of apps like Tindr make finding hookups easier than ever for adults of all ages. A few clicks and swipes and you can find willing sex partners ready to hook up, no strings attached.
Humans have been having casual sex for all of history – but it has never been as permissible, accessible or desirable as it is today. What are the benefits and costs of a culture that promotes hookups? How do our college institutions and youth culture privilege hookups over relationships, and how does this culture impact different social groups – men and women, white people and people of color, heterosexual and queer, able bodied and disabled? These are important questions to ask as we observe the rise of hookup culture with a critical eye.
Hookup culture is part of the new sexual landscape, a direct product of the sexual revolutions of the past 100 years, and a reflection of the sexual freedom people of all ages now enjoy. Yet hookup culture is not simply a liberating landscape of pleasurable sex – it is also dangerously close to rape culture and leaves an emotional wound for many who participate.
In this episode of the Speaking of Sex podcast, we speak with Lisa Wade, professor of sociology at Occidental College about her new book American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex On Campus.
We cover a brief history of American sex culture, how hookup culture became the norm on campuses, and both the benefits and dangers of hookup culture. We also discuss how cultures change by vocal groups of individuals, and what you can do to change the sex culture around you.