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Sex in College: What You Should Know About Hookups

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There seem to be three types of dating relationships in college. First, there are casual relationships where you and your person of interest just hang out with a group of friends, not really going out. The second type of dating relationship is one where the couple is connected at the hip. They study together, they eat together, they socialize together – they do everything together. The third type of college dating relationship is the hookup.

Hookups are when a couple get together for a physical encounter and don’t expect anything else. Lest you think college students are all lecherous, hooking up doesn’t mean having sex, although it can. A hookup usually lasts only one night and is usually between two people who are strangers or brief acquaintances. Some physical sexual interaction is typical, but it may range from kissing to sexual intercourse. Hookups are usually spontaneous and rarely result in a relationship. Hookups are usually defined by alcohol, physical attraction, and a lack of expectations.

Traditionalists are probably shaking their heads. Sex without commitment – sounds like something invented by men. But women are going along with it. 40% of college aged women admitted to hooking up.

Many young people don’t have the time, energy, or resources to put into a real relationship. Some just like to play the field. Hookups satisfy biological needs, but the emotional detachment involved may not satisfy the soul. That’s the real problem of hookups – not the promiscuity, but the lack of meaning.

The nature of the hookup and whether it is healthy has a lot to do with how a person views the hook-up. Are you being honest with yourself about what you or your partner actually wants and desires? Be realistic – a hookup is not a relationship. Don’t expect one. The whole point of hookups is that they are pleasurable. If this isn’t true for you, don’t do it. Girls in college are famous for disillusioning themselves into thinking that a hookup is all that they want. If that’s really the truth, then fine. If not, think long and hard if this is really the right move for you. Sixty-one percent of the women who said that a hook up made them feel desirable also reported that it made them feel awkward.

87% of college students reported hooking up at some point during their college career. More than one-half of the men and one-third of the women reported having sex during their hook-up. Casual sex has opposite effects on the happiness of men and women. The more casual sex encounters women had, the more depressive symptoms they exhibited. Those men with the most casual sex encounters had the fewest depressive symptoms.

Even though there is no such thing as an emotional condom, there are ways to protect yourself physically. You only have to fool around once to get pregnant or contract an STD. Make sure you and your partner are willing to talk about and use protection if you plan on having sex. If you’re not comfortable enough to talk about it, you shouldn’t be doing it. No excuses.


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