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. In a sample of 508 gay and bisexual men in college (all under the age of 30), nearly one third admitted to meeting partners in anonymous places (i.e., bathhouses, restrooms, gyms, bookstores, movies, parks, the street, or other public places) ( Seage et al., 1997 ). Public cruising areas, Internet cruising networks, and bathhouses are somewhat popular venues (although by no means archetypal) for explicitly initiating uncommitted sex among men who have sex with men ( Binson et al., 2001 ). These are not findings that seem to be prevalent among lesbians and women who have sex with women or among heterosexual hookups.
As one woman Hamilton interviewed explained, Guys can have sex with all the girls and it makes them more of a man, but if a girl does then all of a sudden she’s a ‘ho’ and she’s not as quality of a person.” Sexual labeling among adolescents and young adults may only loosely relate to actual sexual behavior; for example, one woman complained in her interview that she was a virgin the first time she was called a slut.” The lack of clear rules about what is slutty” and what is not contribute to women’s fears of stigma.
Although much of the current research has been done on college campuses, among younger adolescents, 70% of sexually active 12-21 year olds reported having had uncommitted sex within the last year ( Grello, Welsh, Harper, & Dickson, 2003 ). Similarly, in a sample of seventh, ninth, and 11th graders, 32% of participants had experienced sexual intercourse and 61% of sexually experienced teenagers reported a sexual encounter outside the context of a dating relationship; this represents approximately one fifth of the entire sample ( Manning, Giordano, & Longmore, 2006 ).
Similarly, in a study of 832 college students, 26% of women and 50% of men reported a positive emotional reaction following a hookup, and 49% of women and 26% of men reported a negative reaction (the remainders for each sex had a mix of both positive and negative reactions; Owen et al., 2010 ). These findings accord with the social sexual double standard creating greater pressure for women ( Crawford & Popp, 2003 ; Fisher et al., 2012 ). Although the direction of the sex differences is in agreement with the evolutionary model, that nearly a quarter of women report primarily positive reactions is inconsistent with a truly sex-specific short-term mating psychology and with discourse messages of uncommitted sex being simply pleasurable.
Hookups may be characterized as a form of casual sex” or uncommitted sexual encounter.” Hatfield, Hutchison, Bensman, Young, and Rapson (in press) define casual sex as outside of a ‘formal’ relationship (dating, marriage, etc.), without a ‘traditional’ reason (such as love, procreation, or commitment) for doing so” (p. 3). Paul, McManus, and Hayes (2000) omitted the possibility of hooking up with previous partners or friends, by defining a hookup as a sexual encounter, usually only lasting one night, between two people who are strangers or brief acquaintances.
Research specifically sampling gay men and other men who have sex with men have similarly found bars to be common places for gay men to meet, socialize, and find others for casual sexual encounters ( Mustanski, Lyons, & Garcia, 2011 ). Although uncommitted sex among gay men occurs in a variety of locations, antigay prejudice and structural heterosexism can limit the availability of supportive and safe options for connecting with other men ( Harper, 2007 ). Consequently fuck book, more anonymous, sometimes public, spaces have been an alternative for some gay men.