To Hook Up or Date: Which Gender Benefits?

Abstract

Hooking up on college campuses has become more frequent than dating in heterosexual sexual interaction. Analysis of the relative benefits and costs associated with dating and hooking up suggest that women benefit more from dating while men benefit more from hooking up. U.S students (150 women, 71 men) at a midsized southeastern university indicated preferences for dating and hooking up across a number of situations and indicated the perceived benefits and risks associated with each. As hypothesized, in most situations women more than men preferred dating and men more than women preferred hooking up. Both genders perceived similar benefits and risks to dating and hooking up; differences provided insight into the sexual motives of college women and men.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bartoli, A. M., & Clark, M. D. (2006). The dating game: Similarities and differences in dating scripts among college students. Sexuality & Culture, 10, 54–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204–232.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Cohen, L. L., & Shotland, R. L. (1996). Timing of first sexual intercourse in a relationship: Expectation, experiences, and perceptions of others. Journal of Sex Research, 33, 291–299.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Crawford, M., & Popp, D. (2003). Sexual double standards: A review and methodological critique of two decades of research. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 13–26.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Eshbaugh, E. M., & Gute, G. (2008). Hookup and sexual regret among college women. Journal of Social Psychology, 148, 77–89.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Foucault, M. (1981). The order of discourse. In R. Young (Ed.), Untying the text: A post-structuralist reader (pp. 48–78). New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Grello, C. M., Welsh, D. P., & Harper, M. S. (2006). No strings attached: The nature of casual sexing college students. Journal of Sex Research, 43, 255–267.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Gute, G., & Eshbaugh, E. (2008). Personality as a predictor of hooking up among college students. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 25, 26–43.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Hatfield, E., & Rapson, R. L. (2005). Love and sex: Cross-cultural perspectives. Lanham: University Press of America.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Himadi, W. G., Arkowitz, H., Hinton, R., & Perl, J. (1980). Minimal dating and its relationship to other social problems and dating adjustment. Behavior Therapy, 11, 345–352.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Kahn, A. S., Fricker, K, Hoffman, J. L., Lambert, T. A., & Tripp, M. C. (2000, March). Hooking up: A dangerous new sexual behavior? Poster presented at the meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, New Orleans, LA.

  12. Knox, D., & Wilson, K. (1981). Dating behaviors of university students. Family Relations, 30, 255–258.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Lambert, T. A., Kahn, A. S., & Apple, K. J. (2003). Pluralistic ignorance and hooking up. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 129–133.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Laner, M. R., & Ventrone, N. A. (2000). Dating scripts revisited. Journal of Family Issues, 21, 488–500.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Leck, K. (2006). Correlates of minimal dating. Journal of Social Psychology, 146, 549–567.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Leigh, B. C. (1989). Reasons for having and avoiding sex: Gender, sexual orientation, and relationship to sexual behavior. Journal of Sex Research, 26, 199–209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lenton, A. P., & Bryan, A. (2005). An affair to remember: The role of sexual scripts in perceptions of sexual intent. Personal Relationships, 12, 483–498.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Manning, W. D., Giordano, P. C., & Loangmore, M. A. (2006). Hooking up: The relationship contexts of “nonrelationship” sex. Journal of Adolescent Research, 21, 459–483.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Marks, M. J., & Fraley, R. C. (2005). The sexual double standard: Fact or fiction? Sex Roles, 52, 175–186.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Medley-Rath, S. R. (2007). Am I still a virgin?: What counts as sex in 20 years of Seventeen. Sexuality and Culture, 11, 24–38.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Mongeau, P. A., & Carey, C. M. (1996). Who’s wooing whom II? An experimental investigation of date-initiation and expectancy violation. Western Journal of Communication, 60, 195–213.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Mongeau, P. A., Morr Serewicz, M. C., & Therrien, L. F. (2004). Goals for cross-sex first dates: Identification, measurement, and the influence of contextual factors. Communication Monographs, 72, 121–147.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Mongeau, P. A., Jacobsen, J., & Donnerstein, C. (2007). Defining dates and first date goals: Generalizing from undergraduates to single adults. Communication Research, 34, 526–547.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Morr Serewicz, M. C., & Gale, E. (2008). First-date scripts: Gender roles, context, and relationship. Sex Roles, 58, 149–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Muehlenhard, C. L., Friedman, D. E., & Thomas, C. M. (1985). Is date rape justifiable? The effects of dating activity, who initiated, who paid, and men’s attitudes toward women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 9, 297–309.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Oliver, M. B., & Hyde, J. S. (1993). Gender differences in sexuality: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 129–151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Öner, B. (2000). Relationship satisfaction and dating experience: Factors affecting future time orientation in relationships with the opposite sex. Journal of Psychology, 134, 527–536.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Paul, E. L., McManus, B., & Hayes, K. A. (2000). “Hookups”: Characteristics and correlates of college students’ spontaneous and anonymous sexual experiences. Journal of Sex Research, 37, 76–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Phillips, L. M. (2000). Flirting with danger: Young women’s reflections on sexuality and domination. NYU Press.

  31. Regan, P. C., & Berscheid, E. (1995). Gender differences in beliefs about the causes of male and female sexual desire. Personal Relationships, 2, 345–358.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Roscoe, B., Diana, M. S., & Brooks, R. H. (1987). Early, middle, and late adolescents’ views on dating and factors influencing partner selection. Adolescence, 85, 59–68.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Rose, S., & Frieze, I. H. (1993). Young singles’ contemporary dating scripts. Sex Roles, 28, 499–510.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Smith, G., Mysak, K., & Michael, S. (2008). Sexual double standards and sexually transmitted illnesses: Social rejection and stigmatization of women. Sex Roles, 58, 391–401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Trivers, R. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the decent of man (pp. 136–179). Chicago: Aldine-Atherton.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Arnold S. Kahn.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bradshaw, C., Kahn, A.S. & Saville, B.K. To Hook Up or Date: Which Gender Benefits?. Sex Roles 62, 661–669 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-010-9765-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Dating
  • Hooking up
  • Gender differences