Gender and Hooking Up

  • Arielle KuperbergEmail author
  • Rachel Allison
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Hookups, or encounters that include varied sexual behaviors without expectation of a committed relationship, have received substantial academic and popular interest over the past two decades. We review research on college hookup culture, focusing on gender and patterns of hookup participation, experiences, and outcomes. We critically examine theoretical perspectives that have been offered to explain gender differences in hooking up, explore problematic dynamics in hookups including gendered sexual double standards and sexual assault, and describe recent advances in hookup research related to campus sex ratios, same-sex hookups, and race and class intersections. We offer a critique of existing research and provide suggestions for future studies of gender and sexual encounters. Specifically, research on the intersections of gender with race/ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation are lacking, as are studies of transgender hookups, hookups among same aged non-college attending young adults, and hookups that occur later in the life course.


Gender Sexuality Hooking up College 


  1. Adkins, T., England, P., Risman, B. J., & Ford, J. (2015). Student bodies: Does the sex ratio matter for hooking up and having sex at college? Social Currents, 2, 144–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alksnis, C., Desmaris, S., & Wood, E. (1996). Gender differences in scripts for different types of dates. Sex Roles, 34, 321–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allison, Rachel. (2016). Family influences on hooking up and dating among emerging adults. Sexuality and Culture, 20, 446–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allison, R., & Risman, B. J. (2014). “It goes hand in hand with the parties”: Race, class, and residence in college student negotiations of hooking up. Sociological Perspectives, 57, 102–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Allison, R., & Risman, B. J. (2013). A double standard for “hooking up”: How far have we come toward gender equality? Social Science Research, 42, 1191–1206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Armstrong, E. A., & Hamilton, L. T. (2013). Paying for the party. How college maintains inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Armstrong, E, & Budnick, J. (2015). Sexual assault on campus. Council on Contemporary Families Online Symposium on Intimate Partner Violence. Accessed September, 2016.
  8. Armstrong, E. E., Hamilton, L., & England, P. (2010). Is hooking up bad for young women? Contexts, 9, 23–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bailey, J. M., Gaulin, S., Agyei, Y., & Gladue, B. A. (1994). Effects of gender and sexual orientation on evolutionarily relevant aspects of human mating psychology. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 1081–1093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barriger, M., & Velez-Blasini, C. (2013). Descriptive and injunctive social norm overestimation in hooking up and their role as predictors of hook-up activity in a college student sample. The Journal of Sex Research, 50, 84–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Benotsch, E. G., Zimmerman, R. S., Cathers, L., Heck, T., McNulty, S., Pierce, J., Perrin, P. B., … (2016). Use of the internet to meet sexual partners, sexual risk behavior, and mental health in transgender adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45, 597–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bevan, J. L. (2003). Expectancy violation theory and sexual resistance in close, cross-sex relationships. Communication Monographs, 70, 68–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bradshaw, C., Kahn, A. S., & Saville, B. K. (2010). To hook up or date: Which gender benefits? Sex Roles, 62, 661–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brimeyer, T. M., & Smith, W. L. (2012). Religion, race, social class, and gender differences in dating and hooking up among college students. Sociological Spectrum, 32(5), 462–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bogle, K. (2008). Hooking up: Sex, dating, and relationships on campus. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Buss, D. M., & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100, 204–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Byers, E. S. (1996). How well does the traditional sexual script explain sexual coercion? Review of a program of research. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 8, 7–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Charen, M. (2016). What the Stanford rape case reveals: Hook-up culture is the foundation of our sexual-assault problem. National Review, June 9.Google Scholar
  19. Clements-Nolle, K., Marx, R., Guzman, R., & Katz, M. (2001). HIV prevalence, risk behaviors, health care use, and mental health status of transgender persons: Implications for public health intervention. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 915–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Currier, D. (2013). Strategic ambiguity: Protecting emphasized femininity and hegemonic masculinity in the hookup culture. Gender & Society, 27, 704–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. England, P., & Thomas, R. J. (2006). The decline of the date and the rise of the college hookup. In A. Skolnick & J. Skolnick (Eds.), The family in transition (14th ed., pp. 151–162). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  22. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 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.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Flack, W. F., Daubman, K. A., Caron, M. L., Asadorian, J. A., D’Aureli, N. R., Gigliotti, S. N., et al. (2007). Risk factors and consequences of unwanted sex among university students Hooking up, alcohol, and stress response. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 139–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ford, J., & Soto-Marquez, J. G. (2016). Sexual assault victimization among straight, gay/lesbian, and bisexual college students. Violence and gender, 3(2), 107–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Furstenberg, F. F. (2010). On a new schedule: Transitions to adulthood and family change. The future of children, 20(1), 67–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Garcia, J. R., & Reiber, C. (2008). Hook-up behavior: A biopsychosocial perspective. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2(4), 192–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Garcia, J. R., Reiber, C., Massey, S. G., & Merriwether, A. M. (2012). Sexual hookup culture: A review. Review of General Psychology, 16, 161–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gibbs, J. P. (1965). Norms: The problem of definition and classification. American Journal of Sociology, 70, 586–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hamilton, L. (2007). Trading on heterosexuality: College women’s gender strategies and homophobia. Gender & Society, 21, 145–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hamilton, L., & Armstrong, E. A. (2009). Gendered sexuality in young adulthood: Double binds and flawed options. Gender & Society, 23, 589–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Heldman, C., & Wade, L. (2010). Hook-up culture: Setting a new research agenda. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 7, 323–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kanter, R. M. (1977). Men and women of the corporation. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  34. Kettrey, H. H. (2016). What’s gender got to do with it? Sexual double standards and power in heterosexual college hookups. Journal of Sex Research, 57, 754–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kuperberg, A., & Padgett, J. E. (2015). Dating and hooking up In college: Meeting contexts, sex, and variation by gender, partner’s gender and class standing. The Journal of Sex Research, 52, 517–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kuperberg, A., & Padgett, J. E. (2016). The role of culture in explaining college student’s selection into hooking up, dating and forming long-term romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships., 33, 1070–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kuperberg, A., & Padgett, J. E. (2017). Partner meeting contexts and risky behavior in college students’ other-sex and same-sex hookups. Journal of Sex Research., 54(1), 55–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kuperberg, A. & Walker, A. M. (forthcoming). Heterosexual college students who hookup with same-sex partners. Archives of Sexual Behavior.Google Scholar
  39. Kuperberg, A., Choi, C. C., & Padgett, J. E. (2016). Male rape in college. In Presented at the Southern Sociological Society Annual Conference, Atlanta GA.Google Scholar
  40. LaBrie, J. W., Hummer, J. F., Ghaidarov, T. M., Lac, A., & Kenney, S. R. (2014). Hooking up in the college context: The event-level effects of alcohol use and partner familiarity on hookup behaviors and contentment. Journal of Sex Research, 51, 62–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lambert, T. A., Kahn, A. S., & Apple, K. J. (2003). Pluralistic ignorance and hooking up. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 129–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Laughlin, S. (2016). Gen z goes beyond gender binaries in new innovation group data. Journal of Walter Thompson Intelligence. Retrieved October, 2016.
  43. Laumann, E. O., Ellingson, S., Mahay, J., Paik, A., & Youm, Y. (2004). The sexual organization of the city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McClintock, E. A. (2010). When does race matter? Race, sex, and dating at an elite university. Journal of Marriage & Family, 72, 45–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Monto, M. A., & Carey, A. G. (2014). A new standard of sexual behavior? Are claims associated with the “hookup culture” supported by general social survey data? The Journal of Sex Research, 51, 605–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nemoto, T., Operario, D., Keatley, J., Han, L., & Soma, T. (2004). HIV risk behaviors among male-to-female transgender persons of color in san francisco. American Journal of Public Health, 94, 1193–1199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. O’Dougherty Wright, M., Norton, D. L., & Matusek, J. A. (2010). Predicting verbal coercion following sexual refusal during a hookup: Diverging gender patterns. Sex Roles, 62, 647–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Owen, J. J., Fincham, F. D., & Moore, J. (2011). Short-term prospective study of hooking up among college students. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 331–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Owen, J. J., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Fincham, F. D. (2010). ‘Hooking up’ among college students: Demographic and psychosocial correlates. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 39, 653–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. O’Sullivan, L. F., & Byers, E. S. (1996). Gender differences in responses to discrepancies in desired level of sexual intimacy. Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, 8, 49–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Paul, E. L., Brian, M., & Hayes, A. (2000). “Hookups”: Characteristics and correlates of college students’ spontaneous and anonymous sexual experiences. The Journal of Sex Research, 37, 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Plante, R. F. (2006). Sexualities in context. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  53. Reiber, C., & Garcia, J. R. (2010). Hooking up: Gender differences, evolution, and pluralistic ignorance. Evolutionary Psychology, 8, 390–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Reid, J. A., Elliott, S., & Webber, G. R. (2011). Casual hookups to formal dates: Refining the boundaries of the sexual double standard. Gender & Society, 25, 545–568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rhoades, G. K., & Stanley, S. M. (2014). Before ‘I Do’: What do premarital experiences have to do with marital quality among today’s young adults? The National Marriage Project Working Paper.Google Scholar
  56. Rupp, L. J., Taylor, V., Regev-Messalem, S., Fogarty, A. C. K., & England, P. (2013). Queer women in the hookup scene: Beyond the closet? Gender & Society, 28, 212–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Schmitt, D. P., Shackelford, T. K., & Buss, D. M. (2001). Are men really more ‘oriented’ toward short-term mating than women? A critical review of theory and research. Psychology, Evolution & Gender, 3, 211–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Simon, W., & Gagnon, J. H. (1986). Sexual scripts: Permanence and change. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 15, 97–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Snapp, S., Ryu, E., & Kerr, J. (2015). The upside to hooking up: College students’ positive hookup experiences. International Journal of Sexual Health, 27, 43–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Spell, S. A. (2016). Not just black and white: How race/ethnicity and gender intersect in hookup culture. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Raley, R. K., & Bratter, J. (2004). Not even if you were the last person on earth! How marital search constraints affect the likelihood of marriage. Journal of Family Issues, 25(2), 167–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Townsend, J. M., & Wasserman, T. H. (2011). Sexual hookups among college students: Sex differences in emotional reactions. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 1173–1181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Turner, J. (2016). Rape culture and hookup Culture are two sides of the same coin. The Federalist, June 28.Google Scholar
  64. Uecker, J. E., & Regnerus, M. D. (2010). Bare markets: Campus sex ratios, romantic relationships, and sexual behavior. The Sociological Quarterly, 51, 408–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ward, J. (2015). Not gay: Sex between straight white men. New York: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  2. 2.Mississippi State UniversityStarkvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations