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Today, according to one study the vast majority, more than 90% of American college students say their campus is characterized by a hookup culture, Nationally, women now outnumber men in college enrollment by 4 to 3, leading some researchers to argue that the gender imbalance fosters a culture of hooking up because men, as the minority and limiting factor, hold more power in the sexual marketplace and use it to pursue their preference of casual sex over long-term relationships.
One study has found that the strongest predictor of hookup behavior was previous experience hooking up.
Research on hookups is not seated within a singular disciplinary sphere; it sits at the crossroads of theoretical and empirical ideas drawn from a diverse range of fields, including psychology, anthropology, sociology, biology, medicine, and public health." The hookup culture is vaguely defined due to a variety of perspectives taken on this subject related human sexuality.
It is hard to make sense of the hookup culture with understanding why it exists in society and why individuals participate in the culture.
Jennifer Aubrey and Siobhan Smith have found that between genders there are minimal differences when it comes to behavior and frequency in hookups; on the other hand, women still face a harder social stigma, because their social status decreases with increased sexual partners, while men's social status increases with more sexual partners. Currier, she explores how the phrase "hooking up" conveys different meanings depending on whether a man or woman uses it when describing their sexual encounters; furthermore, Currier notes that men use "hooking up" to emphasize their masculinity and heterosexuality whereas women use the phrase to preserve their femininity by being strategically ambiguous in order to downplay their sexual desires.
Studies have shown that most high school girls are more interested in a relationship compared to high school boys, who are mostly interested in sex.
Lisa Wade, a sociologist, documents that 19th-century white fraternity men often had what would be called hookup sex with prostitutes, poor women, and the women they had enslaved.
'When teenagers fool around before they're ready or have a very casual attitude toward sex, they proceed toward adulthood with a lack of understanding about intimacy.'" Journals and letters from the 1800s demonstrate that wealthy young white male college students hooked up with prostitutes, poor women, and enslaved African American women.
For example, a study of Canadian college students who planned to hook up while on spring break showed that 61% of men and 34% of women had sex within a day of meeting their partner.
Another study was based on a survey of over 18,000 college students from ages 18–25.
Young women tend to be honest about their sexual encounters and experiences, while young men tend to lie more often about theirs.
Another study shows that once a person has sex for their first time, it becomes less of an issue or big deal to future relationships or hook ups.During this study, it was shown that girls in high school do not care as much as boys do on having sex in a relationship.