The college mixer is packed with drinks,food,and predominately single co-eds. As music blasts through the air,Mr. Right Now whispers five key words in the ear of a young prospect.
‘So…you wanna hook up?'
Various studies have been conducted about ‘hooking up' and its effect on the college-dating scene. With the release of the latest study surveying the occurrence of intern ‘hook ups' on Capitol Hill,co-eds nationwide might think to themselves,‘Where was I when the hook up hit my campus? And what's the big deal?'
In today's modern society,the newness and popularity of the phenomenon may be an overstatement. “[It's] been going on for a while but it's [just been studied] in the past two years,” said Dr. Drew Pinsky,co-host of Loveline radio show. As an expert on the college sex and relationship scene,Pinsky has seen a somewhat of a backlash in the routine of hooking up.
Many students and others alike may wonder just what ‘hooking up' means. “The term is very ambiguous and students are becoming disillusioned by the idea of hooking up,” said Kate Kennedy,campus projects manager for the Independent Women's Forum.
When it comes to hooking up,the vagueness of the term is key in its use. Definitions may vary from campus to campus,said Kennedy. Some may use ‘hook up' to mean getting together for a night of bowling,dancing or simply hanging out. But in today's social scene,the connotation of the phrase has changed.
“The [majority definition] of the term ‘hooking up' is getting together for a physical encounter,with no expectations of commitment the morning after,” said Kennedy. “A physical encounter can include anything from kissing to actual sexual intercourse.”
The ‘hook up' has many aliases including one-night stand,booty call,casual sex,and no-strings-attached sex.
According to Kennedy,no-strings is definitely not the case when it comes to hooking up. The morning after may bring about confusing and often frustrating revelations,said Kennedy.
“It can be fun at first…But students are finding themselves asking,‘When am I gonna get a real date?'”
With an emphasis on the female side of the scale,Kennedy said not all of the women are coming out of hooking up unscathed. “There's an emotional aspect there that is overlooked,” said Kennedy. “Women don't react to hooking up like men do. They tend to get attached.”
The attachment may be biologically inclined,said Pinsky. Oxytocin,a hormone that occurs during childbirth,breastfeeding,and orgasm,allows women to become bonded to a male after having sex,according to Pinsky. “Under the influence of estrogen,it's a bonding hormone. Men have it,but when [it combines] with testosterone,it causes no reaction.”
For Elizabeth Marquardt,the emotional ramifications of hooking up carry the most importance.
“A hook up tends to separate sex from emotions,” said Marquardt. “Many college students [may say] that you shouldn't feel anything after having a physical encounter and [that there's] something wrong with you if you do.”
As the courtship team researcher who co-wrote an Independent Women's Forum study about college women,dating and hooking up,Marquardt regards this shunning of pairing sex with emotion as a major problem for those involved. With students stigmatizing the connection of feelings with sex,the future ability of students to connect and relate with others will be compromised,said Marquardt.
Most students who hook up are not in their normal mindset,leading to both emotional problems and health risks. “One of the things about hooking up is that it almost always happens when [they're] drunk,” said Marquardt. “[Students] don't talk about things…[They] don't get to know about each other [when they hook up]. That can raise the risk of STDs.”
But there is hope for the 20-somethings who still believe in love and the real date.
“Dating is recurring,particularly since Sept. 11,” said Pinsky. “People want to date more now.”
And when it comes to women,they may be raising the bar for their male counterparts. “Women are looking for more substantial [things] now. People are not happy with [hooking up],” said Pinsky. “It's more of a routine vocabulary in today's [social scene]. More people think people are doing it than [there] actually are.”
So as students mix and mingle at their college parties this fall,Mr. Right Now might utter those five key words. And his prospect might nod to the music,sip her drink,and simply reply,‘No.'