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Hook-Up Culture: Setting a New Research Agenda

Abstract

Summarizing the major findings of literature on hook-up culture, we propose a new research agenda focusing on when and why this sexual subculture emerged. We explore a series of hypotheses to explain this sexual paradigm shift, including college and university policies, the gender distribution of students, changes in the nature of alcohol use, access to and consumption of pornography, the increased sexual content of non-pornographic media, rising self-objectification and narcissism, new marriage norms, and perceptions of sexual risk. We then recommend new directions for research, emphasizing the need to explore structural and psychological as well as cultural factors, the role of discrete events alongside slowly emerging social change, the need for intersectional research and studies of non-college-attending and post-college youth, and the benefits of longitudinal and cross-college designs.

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Correspondence to Caroline Heldman.

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Heldman, C., Wade, L. Hook-Up Culture: Setting a New Research Agenda. Sex Res Soc Policy 7, 323–333 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-010-0024-z

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Keywords

  • Hook-up culture
  • Hooking up
  • Casual sex and college-aged students
  • Media
  • Pornography
  • Raunch culture
  • Binge drinking