In terms of expectations, it is largely female students that hope a hookup might turn into a relationship. In her study Bogle found that “female students seem considerably more interested than males that hooking up would lead to a relationship or at least something more than a one-time encounter.” But since the most likely outcome of any particular hookup encounter is “nothing,” described by Bogle to mean “not hearing from the person again unless you coincidentally see him or her at another social event and decide to hook up again,” many young women are left disappointed and confused. Almost 50 percent of college students who engaged in sexual intercourse during a hookup said they never saw the person again.
Parents should also know that:
-Alcohol is a major enabler of hookups. The students that Bogle interviewed believe that drinking lowers their inhibitions, thereby making a hookup possible. This finding is backed up by other studies that demonstrate “that alcohol consumption is correlated with the decision to have sexual intercourse as well as engaging in so-called risky sexual behavior, such as having casual sex.”
-Friends matter. Bogle found that a student’s circle of friends “was a good predictor of how entrenched he or she was in hooking up.”
-Students overestimate their peers’ level of sexual activity and number of partners. In turn, they judge themselves against these inaccurate standards.
-The hookup culture carries with it a host of health concerns, from binge drinking to STDs to sexual abuse.
In today’s fast-paced world, knowing the nature of a problem is half the battle in coming up with a solution. Parents who want an insight into their children’s campus life should consider picking up a copy of Hooking Up as a first step to helping their college-age children make their college experience healthy and fulfilling.