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Real Facts and True Stories about Hookup Culture

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Real Facts and True Stories about Hookup Culture

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The media both celebrates and condemns “hook up culture,” a mythical environment in which college students have an endless string of casual sexual partners. In fact, students are having a lot less sex than these stories suggest. More, they report that the sex they are having is disappointing, to say the least. In this talk, I show that the problem on college campuses isn’t too much sex, it’s bad sex: unpleasurable, unwanted, uncaring, and competitive. The solution? Not to abandon the casual hook up (it has some interesting advantages), but to multiply the sexual discourses on campus in ways that give students the cognitive freedom and cultural support to make the sexual choices that are best for each of them.

The media both celebrates and condemns “hook up culture,” a mythical environment in which college students have an endless string of casual sexual partners. In fact, students are having a lot less sex than these stories suggest. More, they report that the sex they are having is disappointing, to say the least. In this talk, I show that the problem on college campuses isn’t too much sex, it’s bad sex: unpleasurable, unwanted, uncaring, and competitive. The solution? Not to abandon the casual hook up (it has some interesting advantages), but to multiply the sexual discourses on campus in ways that give students the cognitive freedom and cultural support to make the sexual choices that are best for each of them.

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Real Facts and True Stories about Hookup Culture

  1. 1. Lisa Wade, PhD Occidental College Real facts and true stories about hooking up in college Featuring Leaf Art by Jenny Lee Fowler Artist: Tiziano Vecellio lisa-wade.com • t: @lisawade • f: /lisawadephd • i: /lisawadephd
  2. 2. Questions • Are you hooking up? College?
  3. 3. Questions • Are you hooking up?
  4. 4. Questions • Are you hooking up? • If you are, so what?
  5. 5. Rates of Hooking Up • ~25% of college students never hook up. • ~30% will hook up 3 times or less. • ~30% will hook up 4 to 9 times. • ~15% of will hook up 10 times or more. Ford, Jessie, Paula England, and Jonathan Bearak. 2015. The American College Hookup Scene: Findings from the Online College Social Life Survey. ASAAnnual Meetings, Chicago, August.
  6. 6. What Happens in Hookups? • ~40% up to and including intercourse • ~12% up to and including oral sex • ~12% up to and including hands to genitals • ~35% just kissing, groping ‘n stuff Ford, Jessie, Paula England, and Jonathan Bearak. 2015. The American College Hookup Scene: Findings from the Online College Social Life Survey. ASAAnnual Meetings, Chicago, August.
  7. 7. Rates of Hooking Up More Less white students students of color heterosexual students sexual minorities cisgendered trans students middle and upper class poor and working class able-bodied people with disabilities everyone else women who go to church
  8. 8. “I do not fuck, make out with, or even kiss my friends.”
  9. 9. College? Alas.
  10. 10. compulsory
  11. 11. “Practically unlimited and uninterrupted sex whenever I feel like it? I don’t think I could pass that offer up.”
  12. 12. “I know that I should want to have sex all the time and should take advantage of it when I get the chance.”
  13. 13. “I felt like a loser, or uncool. As confident in myself [as] I am (or so I thought), thoughts kept running through my head like, ‘You’re at college and you’re not having sex. What’s wrong with you?’”
  14. 14. “I’m so embarrassed by that. I feel as if by not voluntarily taking part in it, I am weird and abnormal.”
  15. 15. “Every conversation that my friends and I have revolves around sex in some way.” “Hookup culture is all over the place on campus.”
  16. 16. “We stay in our dorm rooms most of the time.”
  17. 17. “If you do not have sex… you are not in the community.”
  18. 18. carefree (in practice, careless)
  19. 19. “It’s always nice to have a clean, emotionless hookup.” “anything that moves”
  20. 20. “…a sober hook up indicates one that is more serious, which either no one is interested in or no one is brave enough to admit they want.” “That little touching definitely signifies something, something a little more than just fucking.”
  21. 21. “For a little while, we just sat in silence looking at each other, very close to each other.”
  22. 22. “It was actually really sweet and very different from past hookups. We didn’t immediately dive into making out, but kept the kiss going. I could kind of feel him melt...”
  23. 23. “[It was] something I’ve never done after a hookup before… although I obviously didn’t have feelings for the guy.”
  24. 24. “You could have labeled it friends with benefits... without the friendship maybe?”
  25. 25. “…some sort of sentiment would be nice… like, you make me feel optimistic or you make me feel alive or you make me feel safe. Or you inspire me.”
  26. 26. “What I really want right now is for someone to be nice to me and just want me in that way.”
  27. 27. pleasurable? (especially for women hooking up with men)
  28. 28. “…the guy kind of expects to get off, while the girl doesn’t expect anything…”
  29. 29. “They only want to fuck me and then be done. I am sick and tired of this shit... I am not a masturbation toy.”
  30. 30. Likelihood of orgasm in hookups: • Women hooking up with men: 19 % • Men hooking up with women: 44%
  31. 31. “Say they meet a girl at a party and it’s a one night thing, I don’t think it’s gonna matter to them.” “I don’t give a shit.” Armstrong, Elizabeth, Paula England, & Alison Fogarty. 2012. Accounting for Women’s Orgasm and Sexual Enjoyment in College Hookups and Relationships. American Sociological Review 77, 3: 435-462.
  32. 32. Likelihood of orgasm in 1st time hookups: • Women hooking up with men: 11% • Men hooking up with women: 31% Likelihood of orgasm in relationship sex: • Women with boyfriends: 67% • Men with girlfriends: 84%
  33. 33. “Most of the time we don’t ask for anything in bed, or at least I don’t.” “I want to kind of blow him out of the water. If they attempt to do the same for me, that’s great, though most of the time that does not happen.”
  34. 34. competitive (with men as judge and jury)
  35. 35. “This kind of judgment that [my friend and I] have had to deal with in hookup culture makes for a hostile environment.”
  36. 36. [We] don’t want our reputations to be hurt [by hooking up with the wrong girl].”
  37. 37. “get something… without giving in return.” “fucked” and “balled” “Ugly girls can get hosed, guys don’t really like ’em, so they get hosed.” Sweeney, Brian. 2014. Masculine Status, Sexual Performance, and the Sexual Stigmatization of Women. Symbolic Interaction 37, 3: 369-390.
  38. 38. “If a girl does not have the perfect body she is instantly not even considered.” “It left me feeling like I was nothing.” “The more attention we get, the more pretty we feel.”
  39. 39. “I hate having sex with the lights on… I don’t like to be in sexual positions where my stomach is squished or my butt is exposed… and I used to never allow my male partners to perform oral sex on me because I was self- conscious about the way my vagina looked or smelled.”
  40. 40. facilitates sexual assault
  41. 41. “[It’s] my fault for flirting.” “…my fault for drinking, and my fault for cheating.” “It’s my fault. I know it’s my fault.”
  42. 42. (It’s never your fault.)
  43. 43. “…they try to push you into engaging in sex…” “[They] feel pressured into having sex and thus pressure women into having sex with them…” “…on a fairly regular basis… sexual assault, sexual coercion, aggressive dancing, unwanted attention, etc.”
  44. 44. Do students like hookup culture? At first At the end Definitely: 23 14 Kind of: 36 30 No way: 34 40 In a relationship: 8 17 101 101
  45. 45. It’s hookup culture.
  46. 46. What now?
  47. 47. How?
  48. 48. Be honest.
  49. 49. Be warm.
  50. 50. Be attentive.
  51. 51. Be open.
  52. 52. You can do it!
  53. 53. Questions? lisa-wade.com t: @lisawade f: /lisawadephd i: /lisawadephd Forthcoming! “American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus”

Notas do Editor

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