Our partner site, ThoseLoveGeeks.com, has just released a new podcast where they chat with Dr. David Buss about the evolutionary roots of hooking up. Check it out!
Entries in hooking up (19)
We’ve highlighted a fair amount of research on casual sex (see here) and hookups (see here) over the past couple of years. Although these studies are incredibly interesting, past researchers typically have not tracked people (and their hookups) over time to identify the factors that signal if hookups are likely to occur in the future. In a new article published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, the researchers do just that, by measuring a range of characteristics among women when they first started college and then tracking their hookups across the next eight months (i.e., their first year of college).
If you're not careful, passive reading of all the press on the college "hook-up" culture would lead you to believe that college campuses are just big orgies. In fact, SofR's Tim Loving recently surveyed a group of 60 students and asked them how many sexual partners they think typical college students rack up during college, and the overwhelming majority assumed it was on the order of 5-10 partners! Who has time for studying?
What happens when something is only available for a short period of time or exists in limited quantities? We want it. Badly. That’s why advertisements and infomercials are always telling you to “act now, before time runs out” if you want to get your hands on the latest, overpriced, completely unnecessary product they’re selling. However, the illusion of scarcity and its effects are not unique to the world of business—scarcity may also affect how we perceive potential sexual and romantic partners. As some evidence of this, consider a classic study on the so-called “closing time effect,” or the idea that everyone gets better looking when the bar is about to close because the window of opportunity for finding someone to take home dwindles.
If You’re In A Relationship, Is It OK To Browse Hookup Sites For “Innocent Flirting” And “Harmless” Fun?
BC submitted the following question:
Have you written much on gay hookup apps (Grindr, Scruff, etc)? I just had a lengthy discussion with my cousin on Facebook after posting my criticism of Dan Savage's latest Savage Love. In it, Savage wrote that a gay man can have a hookup app on his phone while in an exclusive relationship and just use it for chatting with friends and innocent flirting. Why would someone be active on a hookup app and, if confronted with a hot guy to hookup with, not actually hook up with them?
This is a great question! Although I am not aware of any studies specifically examining how use of hookup applications impacts people’s relationships, there is plenty of research to suggest that bringing these applications into a monogamous relationship could potentially lead to trouble down the road. Thus, I don’t fully agree with Savage’s take that engaging in such behavior is completely innocent.
Unlike Jerry and Elaine in the classic TV sitcom Seinfeld, or Ted and Robin in How I Met Your Mother, it isn’t easy for ex-romantic partners to remain friends. Think about it…how many of your exes are still friends of yours? Half of them? 25%? If you’re like me, the answer is more likely zero, nil, nada, zilch.
Even if your ex assured you that “it’s not you, it’s me,” breakups are still upsetting. Because of this, it may not surprise you that about 60% of ex-partners do not have contact with one another post-breakup. However, some exes do keep in touch and even become friends after the breakup. In fact, there are several situations in which post-dissolution friendships are more likely.
Everyone likes a good orgasm, right? In past articles we’ve covered topics like faking orgasms, the function of orgasms in sexual communication, orgasms stemming from nipple stimulation, and even highlighted “everything you need to know about female orgasm.” Okay, so maybe we didn’t tell you everything. There’s still more that you need to know about female orgasms, especially the answer to the question: when are women most likely to have an orgasm? And what sorts of relationships (e.g., romantic relationships versus casual sex) are most likely to yield sexual satisfaction? Is the big O a requirement for sexual satisfaction? First, let’s back up a bit and briefly review some of the common explanations for what leads to fulfilling sex.
Recently, we reviewed research that indicates portrayals of sex in pop culture (e.g., movies, TV) influence young adults’ attitudes toward sex and “hookup” behavior. Soon-to-be-published research1 in the journal Psychological Science has more to add on the topic. Researchers surveyed over 1200 adolescents aged 12-14 throughout the U.S. by telephone and followed their sexual activity over a period of about 6 years. They found that more exposure to sex in popular movies (e.g., American Pie) at a young age (before 16) was associated with an earlier “sexual debut.” In other words, the more teens were exposed to sex in movies, the younger they were when they first started having sex.
At the recent conference on relationships research that many of us attended, some folks mused about the increased attention social science is giving to uncommitted relationships, casual sex, and “hooking up,” as if it’s a new thing culturally (when in fact, it may not be). For those who are old enough to remember the 1960s and 70s, those times marked a period known as the sexual revolution and casual sex was very common. So why has it taken so long for scientists to catch up? Or is there something different about our society today?
“Hooking up” has become a catch-all phrase in our culture to describe casual romantic or sexual activity. Despite the pervasiveness of the phrase, however, no one (lay people or relationship scientists) has a solid, agreed-upon definition for exactly what it is. What specifically does “hooking up” entail? A recent review article sheds light on this question.
Spring break season is upon us, and as I discussed in a previous post, one thing that people associate with spring break is casual sex (what happens on spring break stays on spring break!). According to a recent study, however, casual sex relationships may not be so casual after all. In fact, these days casual sexual relationships are no longer solely defined as a one time sexual encounter; instead, casual sexual experiences can range from a one-time “hook-up” to an ongoing sexual relationship with a friend.
In a recent study, focus groups of young people were asked to identify different ‘types’ of casual sex relationships...
After rating their own attractiveness, 200 undergraduates participated in a speed-meeting task and talked to 5 members of the opposite sex for 3 minutes each. Men with high self-perceived attractiveness were more likely to think the women (especially attractive women) were attracted to them. Also, men looking to hook up overestimated women’s desire. In contrast, women underestimated men’s desire. From an evolutionary perspective, men’s overestimations increase mating success because it gives them more chances.
Perilloux, C., Easton, J. A., & Buss, D. M. (in press). The misperception of sexual interest: A speed-meeting study. Psychological Science.
image source: novelasymas.com
Evolutionary psychologists, including pioneers such as David Buss, have yet another perspective on this type of friendship. These researchers tend to view cross-sex friendship as an evolved reproductive tactic, or “sexual strategy.” In a nutshell, evolutionary processes have created differences between men and women with regards to sex. Thus, men and women may have different motivations for becoming friends with the opposite sex.
A recent study of over 500 teenaged same-sex twin pairs suggests there may be a hidden benefit of being a lovesick teen. Teenagers that have sex with a romantic partner engage in fewer delinquent behaviors than do teens that have sex outside of a relationship (i.e., “hooking up”). In other words, teens spending more time with a boyfriend or girlfriend leaves them less time to get into trouble.
Harden, K., & Mendle, J. (2011). Adolescent sexual activity and the development of delinquent behavior: The role of relationship context. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40(7), 825-838. doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9601-y
This is a question I get asked a lot by my friends and students. The answer is yes, heterosexual men and women are perfectly capable of remaining platonic friends without dating or hooking up (labeled as “cross-sex friendship” or “opposite-sex friendship” in the scientific world),1,2 and nearly all men and women have had such a friendship at some point in their lives.3 However, there are unique aspects of cross-sex friendships that can be potentially problematic or rewarding depending on your perspective.
A recently published op-ed by Dannah Gresh on CNN.com makes the controversial argument that “there’s nothing brief about a hookup” (read the full op-ed here). As of posting, Gresh’s op-ed, which supposedly draws on scientific evidence to support her conclusion that casual sex is unhealthy, has inspired over 800 comments and some heated debate, much of it centered around Gresh’s admission near the end of the op-ed that:
"In the interest of full disclosure, my motivation here is my Christian faith. I believe sex to be an incredible gift from God, meant to transcend the physical to discover something emotional and spiritual with another person.
But since my faith may alienate some of you from my message, I ask you not to think too hard about religious differences. Stick to the facts."
Here at ScienceOfRelationships.com we are always encouraged when we see articles on relationships (and sex) that incorporate scientific evidence, but we are admittedly wary when there is reason to believe the interpretation of those scientific data might be distorted by an underlying agenda. Thus, we took it upon ourselves to do just what Gresh requested: Stick to the facts. After careful scrutiny of her arguments, and review of the empirical work she cites as support for her conclusions, we have identified three important ways that Gresh either overstates or misuses specific research findings. Below, we identify and provide an examples of instances where the facts do not support the claim.