Hooking up is a normative behavior among college students that is associated with a range of positive and negative consequences. Using a multi-site sample of college students, we developed the item Negative Impact of Hookups Inventory NIHI to assess negative health outcomes, emotional responses, and social consequences associated with hooking up. Unprotected sex and having more hookup partners were associated with greater negative experiences of hooking up. Contrary to expectations, there were no gender differences in the total number of negative hookup effects, although males reported more frequent hookups.
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Hook-up culture refers to a culture built on the approved practice of engaging in hook-ups, or sexual encounters between two or more individuals where it is understood that commitment, relationships, and emotional feelings are not expected outcomes. The idea of hook-up culture is not a new concept. The growing popularity of hook-ups stems from the s, a time when both sexual liberation and feminism were growing, and birth control options were becoming more readily available. Support for sexual freedom became increasingly popular as new ideas and beliefs evolved about the positive and negative aspects of engaging in sexual intercourse. Feminism grew substantially in the s, with supporters arguing that a woman should have complete control over her own body.
A hookup culture is one that accepts and encourages casual sex encounters, including one-night stands and other related activity, without necessarily including emotional bonding or long-term commitment. Most research on hookups has been focused on American college students, but hookups are not limited to college campuses. The rise of hookups, a form of casual sex , has been described by evolutionary biologist Justin Garcia and others as a "cultural revolution" that had its beginnings in the s. Lisa Wade, a sociologist, documents that 19th-century white fraternity men often had what would be called hookup sex with prostitutes, poor women, and the women they had enslaved. The sexual revolution of the s brought a loosening of sexual morals which allowed for sex to become uncoupled from relationships and non-marital sex to become more socially acceptable.