Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 573-583

First online:

Hooking Up and Penetrative Hookups: Correlates that Differentiate College Men

  • Spencer B. OlmsteadAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Family Studies, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, The University of Tennessee Email author 
  • , Kay PasleyAffiliated withDepartment of Family and Child Sciences, College of Human Sciences, Florida State University
  • , Frank D. FinchamAffiliated withThe Family Institute, Florida State University

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One prominent pathway to sexual intimacy among college student populations is hooking up. Past research has largely compared men and women, with limited attention given to how men differ regarding involvement in hookups and their hookup behaviors. This study used a sample of 412 college men to examine the individual, social, relational, and family background correlates of (1) hooking up during a semester and (2) penetrative hookup encounters (e.g., oral sex, intercourse). Overall, 69% reported a hookup during the semester, with 73% of those who hooked up reporting penetrative hookups. Using logistic regression, men were more likely to hookup if they had an extraverted personality, were consuming more alcohol, and had previous hookup experience. They were less likely to hookup if they were more thoughtful about their relationship decisions and if they were in a stable, committed romantic relationship. Men also were more likely to engage in penetrative hookups only if they held more permissive attitudes towards sex and if they had previous penetrative hookup experience. Implications for intervention and research are discussed.


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