Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 573–583 | Cite as

Hooking Up and Penetrative Hookups: Correlates that Differentiate College Men

  • Spencer B. OlmsteadEmail author
  • Kay Pasley
  • Frank D. Fincham
Original Paper


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.


Emerging adults Hooking up Men Sexual health Casual sex 


  1. Acock, A. C. (2005). Working with missing values. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 1012–1028. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00191.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, K. R., Husser, E. K., Stone, D. J., & Jordal, C. E. (2008). Agency and error in young adults’ stories of sexual decision making. Family Relations, 57, 517–529. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00519x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bancroft, J., Janssen, E., Carnes, L., Goodrich, D., Strong, D., & Long, J. S. (2004). Sexual activity and risk taking in young heterosexual men: The relevance of sexual arousability, mood, and sensation seeking. Journal of Sex Research, 41, 181–192. doi: 10.1080/00224490409552226.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bersamin, M. M., Paschall, M. J., Saltz, R. F., & Zamboanga, B. L. (2011). Young adults and casual sex: The relevance of college drinking setting. Journal of Sex Research, doi: 10:1080/00224499.2010.548012.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bogle, K. A. (2008). Hooking up: Sex, dating, and relationships on campus. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Burdette, A. M., Ellison, C. G., Hill, T. D., & Glenn, N. D. (2009). “Hooking up” at college: Does religion make a difference? Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion, 48, 535–551. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2009.01464.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cho, Y., & Span, S. A. (2010). The effects of alcohol on sexual risk-taking among young men and women. Addictive Behaviors, 35, 779–785. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.03.007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooper, M. L. (2002). Alcohol use and risky sexual behavior among college students and youth: Evaluating the evidence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 14, 101–117. Retrieved from Scholar
  10. Demers, A., Kairouz, S., Adlaf, E. M., Gliksman, L., Newton-Taylor, B., & Marchand, A. (2002). Multi-level analysis of situational drinking among Canadian undergraduates. Social Science and Medicine, 55, 415–424. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(01)00258-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Downing-Matibag, T. M., & Geisinger, B. (2009). Hooking up and sexual risk taking among college students: A health belief model perspective. Qualitative Health Research, 19, 1196–1209. doi: 10.1177/1049732309344206.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Epstein, M., Calzo, J. P., Smiler, A. P., & Ward, L. M. (2009). “Anything from making out to having sex”: Men’s negotiation of hooking up and friends with benefits scripts. Journal of Sex Research, 46, 414–424. doi: 10.1080/00224490902775801.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fielder, R. L., & Carey, M. P. (2010a). Predictors and consequences of sexual “hookups” among college students: A short-term prospective study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 1105–1119. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9448-4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fielder, R. L., & Carey, M. P. (2010b). Prevalence and characteristics of sexual hookups among first-semester female college students. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 36, 346–359. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2010.488118.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fincham, F. D., Stanley, S. M., & Rhoades, G. K. (2011). Relationship education in emerging adulthood: Problems and prospects. In F. D. Fincham & M. Cui (Eds.), Romantic relationships in emerging adulthood (pp. 293–316). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Flack, W. F., Daubman, K. A., Caron, M. L., Asadorian, J. A., D’Aureli, N. R., Gigliotti, S. N., … Stine, E. R. (2007). Risk factors and consequences of unwanted sex among university students: Hooking up, alcohol, and stress response. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 139–157. doi: 10.1177/0886260506295354.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fortunato, L., Young, A. M., Boyd, C. J., & Fons, C. E. (2010). Hook-up sexual experiences and problem behaviors among adolescents. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 19, 261–278. doi: 10.1080/1067828X.2010.488965.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Glenn, N., & Marquardt, E. (2001). Hooking up, hanging out, and hoping for Mr. Right: College women on dating and mating today. New York: Institute for American Values.Google Scholar
  19. Gosling, S. D., Rentfrow, P. J., & Swann, W. B., Jr. (2003). A very brief measure of the Big-Five personality domains. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 504–528. doi: 10.1016/S0092-6566(03)000-46-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Grych, J. H., Seid, M., & Fincham, F. D. (1992). Assessing conflict from the child’s perspective: The Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale. Child Development, 63, 558–572. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1992.tb01646.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gute, G., & Eshbaugh, E. M. (2008). Personality as a predictor of hooking up among college students. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 25, 26–43. doi: 10.1080/07370010701836385.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Herold, E. S., Maticka-Tyndale, E., & Mewhinney, D. (1998). Predicting intentions to engage in casual sex. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 15, 502–516. doi: 10.1177/0265407598154004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kelley, S. S., Borawski, E. A., Flocke, S. A., & Keen, K. J. (2003). The role of sequential and concurrent sexual relationships in the risk of sexually transmitted disease among adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 32, 296–305. doi: 10.1016/S1054-139X(02)00710-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lambert, T. A., Kahn, A. S., & Apple, K. J. (2003). Pluralistic ignorance and hooking up. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 129–133. doi: 10.1080/00224490309552174.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Levinson, R. A., Jaccard, J., & Beamer, L. (1995). Older adolescents’ engagement in casual sex: Impact of risk perception and psychosocial motivations. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 24, 349–364. doi: 10.1007/BF01537601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Manning, W. D., Giordano, P. C., & Longmore, M. A. (2006). Hooking up: The relationship contexts of “nonrelationship” sex. Journal of Adolescent Research, 21, 459–483. doi: 10.1177/0743558406291692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Manning, W. D., Longmore, M. A., & Giordano, P. C. (2005). Adolescents’ involvement in non-romantic sexual activity. Social Science Research, 34, 384–407. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2004.03.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maticka-Tyndale, E., Herold, E. S., & Mewhinney, D. (1998). Casual sex on spring break: Intentions and behaviors of Canadian students. Journal of Sex Research, 35, 254–264. doi: 10.1080/00224499809551941.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Owen, J., & Fincham, F. D. (2011). Effects of gender and psychosocial factors on “friends with benefits” relationships among young adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 311–320. doi: 10.1007/s10508-010-9611-6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Owen, J., Fincham, F. D., & Moore, J. (2011). Short-term prospective study of hooking up among college students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 331–341. doi: 10.1007/s10508-010-9697-x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Owen, J., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Fincham, F. F. (2010). “Hooking up” among college students: Demographic and psychosocial correlates. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 653–663. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9414-1.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Paul, E. L., & Hayes, K. A. (2002). The casualties of ‘casual sex’: A qualitative exploration of the phenomenology of college students’ hookups. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 19, 639–661. doi: 10.1177/0265407502195006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Paul, E. L., McManus, B., & Hayes, A. (2000). “Hookups”: Characteristics and correlates of college students’ spontaneous and anonymous sexual experience. Journal of Sex Research, 37, 76–88. doi: 10.1080/00224490009552023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pearson, M., Stanley, S. M., & Kline, G. H. (2005). Within my reach. Greenwood, CO: PREP for Individuals Inc.Google Scholar
  35. Penhollow, T., Young, M., & Bailey, W. (2007). Relationship between religiosity and “hooking up” behavior. American Journal of Health Education, 38, 338–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Petersen, J. L., & Hyde, J. S. (2010). A meta-analytic review of research on gender differences in sexuality, 1993–2007. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 21–38. doi: 10.1037/a0017504.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Saunders, J. B., Aasland, O. G., Babor, T. F., de la Fuente, J. R., & Grant, M. (1993). Development of the alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT): WHO collaborative project on early detection of persons with harmful alcohol consumption-II. Addiction, 88, 791–804. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.1993.tb02093.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Simpson, J. A., & Gangestad, S. W. (1991). Individual differences in sociosexuality: Evidence for convergent and discriminant validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 870–883. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.60.6.870.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Markman, H. J. (2006). Sliding versus deciding: Inertia and the premarital cohabitation effect. Family Relations, 55, 499–509. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00418.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stinson, R. D. (2010). Hooking up in young adulthood: A review of factors influencing the sexual behavior of college students. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 24, 98–115. doi: 10.1080/87568220903558596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Strahan, R., & Gerbasi, K. C. (1972). Short, homogeneous versions of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 28, 191–193. doi: 10.1002/1097-4679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Spencer B. Olmstead
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kay Pasley
    • 2
  • Frank D. Fincham
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Child and Family Studies, College of Education, Health, and Human SciencesThe University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family and Child Sciences, College of Human SciencesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.The Family InstituteFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Personalised recommendations