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Hooking Up

General Information

"Hooking up" is a term used by many adolescent and college students, yet it has several diverse meanings. Students use this word to describe many different sexual behaviors that occur outside of monogamous relationships including kissing, oral sex and sexual intercourse. In a survey of the Skidmore campus, 86.9% of students said they had hooked up, according to their own definition of the term. Of students who reported having sex with someone who they were not in a committed relationship with, 57% were under the influence of alcohol or drugs the last time it occurred. Positive experiences that resulted from hooking up included meeting a current boyfriend or girlfriend, while negative experiences included being uncomfortable with the person after the event, not remembering the event because of alcohol consumption, and sexual assault.

What is Hooking Up?

Over 800 students completed the survey and provided a wide range of definitions.  Our students define hooking up as:

Example of a Definition

Anything from the start of kissing up until sex. But not sex. Sex is sex. So, you know, if one makes out with a person (make out: tongue in mouth kissing) and happens to fall in to a bed, which in turn progresses to heavy petting (or, like, groping), and one ends up sleeping in that bed with the other, well that's hooking up. Then again if one engages in The Make Out with another, and both frantically disrobe in a storm of fabric and buttons, and then engage in fellatio and the use of various apparatuses of stimulation, but still the penis does not penetrate the vaginal/anal barrier: that is still just hooking up. A crazy wild kind of hooking up, but still just h/u.

How Common is Hooking Up at Skidmore?

Students were asked if they had ever hooked up (using their own definition of a hook up)

What is your relationship status?

Positive Experience when Hooking Up

From hook up to monogamy

55.3% of students have had a hook up become a committed relationship

---Well, my relationship with my boyfriend started physically before it had started really exclusively. we made out one night, and then we went farther from there, and decided a few weeks later that we wanted to be together.

---Well, thing is, you see, that one rarely hooks up with a complete stranger. Usually one h/u with an individual who one has admired/courted/flirted with for some time. Therefore hooking up is like testing the waters....It's sort of the reverse of the way one would expect a (rational/mature) relationship to progress: in finding out one's own sexual compatibility with the other, one discovers the potential (emotional) relationship. SO. The positive side of any h/u is ostensibly two-fold. Firstly, the joy in attaining that which one has pined for. Second, the possible development of - if not an actual relationship - a series of later h/us. Most hook ups, unless with a total stranger, are expected or wanted. Thus, usually, positive.

Negative Experiences

The Influence of Alcohol and Drugs on Hooking up

63.4% of students reported that they have had sex with someone who they were not in a committed relationship with.  Of these:

"I usually hook up with someone for the first time when I'm drunk and then we have sober encounters afterwards."

Common Behaviors

 Condom Use

58% of students report that they "always" use a condom when having sex with someone who they are not in a committed relationship with.

Those who don't use condoms every time were asked why not.