Monday, October 25, 2010

Was That A Hook-Up?

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.       

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