Allison Kasic
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Now that the school year is in full swing, many parents are probably wondering how their children are adapting to their new educational environment.  For those parents with children in college, it can often be hard to get an accurate assessment of campus life.  After all, campus life is a lot different from when they went to school, and students are so busy that calling home isn’t always their first priority.

Unfortunately, parents have reason to be concerned with the campus culture surrounding sex and relationships.  Dating is an institution of the past.  It has been replaced by a culture of hookups, or physical encounters without an expectation of a relationship.  The hookup culture dominates campus life and many students struggle to find their place in this social structure.  Fortunately for parents, a new book may help shed light on the campus social scene, and therefore provide a better understanding of the challenges that their children face at school.

In Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus, sociologist Kathleen Bogle delves right to the heart of campus culture by interviewing students and telling their stories.  Unlike other recent books on the hookup culture, Bogle leaves judgment aside in favor of painting a sociological picture of the modern campus climate.  Parents are left to form their own opinions about the hookup culture, but Bogle’s book is certain to leave them with an accurate understanding of what it is like to be on campus.  In that regard, it plays a critical role in understanding the myths and realities of the hookup culture.

For starters, the hookup culture is widespread.  As Fogle points out, “Although students have many options about how they conduct themselves within the hookup culture, they cannot change the fact that hooking up is the dominant script on campus.”  In other words, all students don’t participate in the hookup culture, but it is still the primary means for initiating sexual and romantic relationships.  It is therefore worthwhile for parents to understand exactly what the hookup culture entails, so that they might help guide their children towards healthy decisions.

Parents need to understand just how dramatic a change the hookup culture represents.  The hookup culture is a complete inversion of the traditional dating script:

“College men used to ask women to go on dates with the hope that something sexual, such as necking or petting, might happen at the end of the date.  In the hooking-up era, this sexual norm is reversed.  College students, following the hookup script, become sexual first and then maybe go on a date someday.”

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Allison Kasic

Allison Kasic is the director of R. Gaull Silberman Center for Collegiate Studies at the Independent Women's Forum.
 
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