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Posted February 15, Reviewed by Ekua Hagan. To read some of the coverage in Vanity Fair, Huffington Postand the New York Timesone might think that hook-up apps propel every toyear-old into bed with someone new almost every night. In fact, hooking up represents only a minor variation on what used to be called dating.
Which raises a question: Did something change in young American sexuality during the first decade of the current century? The GSS, funded by the National Science Foundation sinceis the only in-depth, ongoing, national interview-based survey of American beliefs and behavior.
The researchers compared GSS data from two periods:. Otherwise, things are pretty much the same. The term "hook-up" may be new, but as far as getting it on is concerned, bed-hopping appears almost identical. Only half of hook-ups involved any genital play, and only one-third included intercourse. These figures remind me of what I recall from my own casual relationships four decades ago. From the s through the s, young adults interested in casual sex—or meeting long-term mates—often met at parties or singles bars.
Meanwhile, for college students, spring break remains a prime time for hook-ups. Canadian researchers Maticka-Tyndale et al. This may sound hasty, but, then, spring break is brief; vacationing students are horny and outgoingand alcohol is abundant.
I smell like a minibar. Is this a hickey or a bruise? Alcohol has always played a major role in casual sex and it continues to be key to hook-ups today. Alcohol and lust are a dangerous combination. Compared with sober lovers, those who are drunk are substantially less likely to use contraception.
Not to mention that as intoxication increases, erotic pleasure usually decreases. Incidentally, alcohol lubricates not just young adult hook-ups but also a great deal of sex among lovers of all ages. They charge that hook-ups hurt and exploit women. While more young men than women revel in casual sex, men are not the only young adults interested in what my generation called one-night stands.
Some women feel used during hook-ups—some men do, too. But according to this study, plenty of young women participate not because they feel exploited, but because they want to. Several studies have documented post-hook-up regret:. However, both of these studies asked only about regret, ignoring other possible reactions. Other studies have investigated not just regret but a full range of possible emotional reactions. And they show that most young people feel fine about their hook-ups:. These studies also show that hook-up regret is most likely in one specific circumstance—intercourse when very drunk.
As ly mentioned, about a third of hook-ups involve intercourse, and the participants are very drunk in around half of those. Young adulthood is a time of sexual experimentation, and unfortunately, many experiments fail. As I came of age in the late s and early s, I had a few flings I later regretted.
Critics of casual sex consider hook-ups proof that young adults disdain committed relationships. On the contrary. Every generation comes of age in a burst of sexual exuberance that includes casual sex their elders find unsettling.
Why all the new vocabulary? In part because young adults delight in differentiating themselves from generations. Inthe median age at first marriage for men was 24, and for women, Downing-Matibag, T. Eshbaugh, E. Fielder, R. Finer, L. Fisher, W. Flack, W. Garcia J. Herold, E. Lewis M. Maticka-Tyndale, E. Monto, A. Owen, J. Patrick, M. Paul, E. Reiber, C. Strokoff, J. Michael Castleman, M. He has written about sexuality for 36 years.
Worry is driven by mood, not logic. Anxiety holds your deepest yearnings. And you can subdue it for good. Three experts turn everything you know about anxiety inside out. Michael Castleman M. All About Sex. Sex Essential Re. References Anonymous. Paul, P. Sales, N. About the Author. Online: WebsiteFacebookTwitter. Read Next. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting. View Help Index. Do I Need Help?
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