Hooking up has become a contemporary term used by adolescents and young adults to describe a number of different intimate activities. But what does it really mean to "hook-up"? And how do you know if you just "hooked-up" with someone?
A "hook-up" can refer to any number of activities ranging from kissing and light touching to oral or genital contact including sexual intercourse. The bottom line is that most hook-ups are defined by the degree of sexual contact that occurs.
Research on the "hook-up" yields interesting results. Studies with college students reveal that hook-ups vary in where they begin, whether or not alcohol is a factor, and the what type of sexual contact occurs.
- 47% of hook-ups begin at a party (23% begin in the dorm)
- 14% of people know a little about their partner (50+% know them moderately or well)
- 46% report being slightly impaired (28% are extremely drunk)
- 34% of hook-ups involve light kissing & touching (23% involve sexual intercourse)
There is not one specific definition for a hook-up and the term is used in many varied situations. Although, most hook-ups involve some sexual contact between two or more people who know each other moderately well, and have had some amount of alcohol.
Understanding the definition of a hook-up is important for parents, teens and young adults.
Parents - should know how their children use this term and what it means within their peer group. It may be as innocent as a few kisses or much more, which can signal a need to communicate about sexual health and contraception.
Teens/Young Adults - need to have their own definition of hooking up and be able to get clarity from others. It is a good idea to know the definition and subsequent expectations of your partner so that you can make choices about your own behavior.