Today called “hookups” by college students throughout the U.S., a recent study reveals that 85% of your average twentysomethings have had one or more. In fact, in many instances, that’s how relationships begin today. That one night stand was pretty fun, so they do it again and again until a relationship is established. And those seemingly “promiscuous” beginnings don’t necessarily paint a dark picture about teens and sex.
We hear stories that teens are losing their virginity younger and younger and worry about the pregnancy rate with popular MTV shows like “Teen Moms” making celebs of these teens. But the truth is closer to to more conservative numbers. The CDC reports a decrease in teens having sex with 54% reported intercourse by the end of high school in 1991 vs. 47% in 2011. And 33.7% had only lost their virginity in the last three months.
Studies suggest that young men more often engage in these hookups than young women (48 percent vs. 33 percent). The biggest predictor of hookups by far was alcohol. Forty-eight percent had hooked up without intercourse, while 30 percent of hookups went all the way. And with a whopping 78% seeing each other again, this bodes that hookups are the new entry into relationships. Experts also agree that while a hookup with a stranger may cause some regrets, more often than not, they don’t create any lasting emotional damage.
Casual sexual encounters are seen as a way to explore sexuality, and when consensual and protection is used, it can be liberating. More surprisingly one source cites “that for both men and women, casual sex improves their feelings of sexual satisfaction.” And for men (but not women) “recreational sex improves their overall feelings of happiness and sexual self-esteem.”
Conversely, gossip by other females is recognized as one of the biggest reason why women “hold back sexually” and don’t go “too far.” Gossip can be brutal and women still support that double standard that it’s okay for the goose and not for the gander more than men do.
Past experience with hookups or preconceived notions about them can affect the feelings surrounding them. Most partners feel positive and aroused before the hookup, but after feelings of regret, disappointment, confusion and discomfort seem to prevail. The term “slut” still holds weight among women, though some embrace the term to empower themselves sexually today.
Friends With Benefits
The conversation partners have with that stranger may set the course on how their relationship goes. Do they ask questions and talk about future plans such as goals and philosophies, or is the conversation about the here and now and how they feel? As you can imagine, deeper meaning conversations can lead to matches with longevity whereas things that are exciting, physical and visceral such as food, music, dancing, etc. can lead to a steamy night between the sheets.
Have hookups ever lead to a long term relationship for you? Let us know what you think about them.