Exploring the Impact of Hookup Culture on LGBTQ+ Individuals

This article explores the implications for LGBTQ+ individuals from hookup culture. It looks at gender differences in terms of later feelings after engaging in hookups as well as potential negative outcomes.

Exploring the Impact of Hookup Culture on LGBTQ+ Individuals

Qualitative descriptions of sexual relationships have revealed gender differences in terms of later feelings, with women showing more negative reactions than men (Paul & Hayes, 200). This is consistent with previous research that demonstrated a sex difference, as women generally identified greater emotional investment with an apparently low investment (Fielder & Carey, 20). A study of 140 first-semester students (109 women and 31 men) found that women who had had sex during a sexual relationship showed higher rates of mental distress than men (Fielder & Carey, 20). In a sample of 507 undergraduate students, more women than men expected a relationship to develop after a sexual relationship (Garcia & Reiber, 200).

Only 4.4 percent of men and 8.2 percent of women (6.45 percent of participants) expected a traditional romantic relationship as a result, while 29 percent of men and 42.9 percent of women (36.57 percent of participants) ideally wanted that outcome. Regret and negative consequences may be the result of people trying to negotiate multiple desires. Many emerging adults are likely to be forced into public relationships while wanting both immediate sexual gratification and more stable romantic ties. A study found that nearly 61 percent of undergraduate students consumed alcohol, with an average of 3.3 alcoholic beverages, during their most recent relationship (Lewis et al.). Men should be challenged to treat even their first partners as generously as the women they meet treat them with.

Research on hookup culture is not located in a singular disciplinary sphere; it is at the crossroads of theoretical and empirical ideas drawn from a wide range of fields, including psychology, anthropology, sociology, biology, medicine and public health. The term “hookup” focuses on the uncommitted nature of a sexual encounter rather than focusing on what behaviors “count”. Despite the prevalence of positive feelings, sexual relationships can include negative outcomes, such as emotional and psychological injuries, sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections, and unwanted pregnancies. The last decade has witnessed an explosion in interest in the topic of hookups, both scientifically and in popular media. Sexual relationships are different from situations of infidelity (extrapair copulas), in which a person has sexual relations with an extra-relational partner, but remains functionally committed to the partner in the relationship. In apparent contrast to sex-specific mating strategies, contemporary hookup behavior involves a high degree of female sexual assertiveness for sexual desire and pleasure. The most recent data suggests that between 60 and 80% of college students in North America have had some type of sexual experience.

In the first study that investigated the topic of self-esteem and sexual relationships, both men and women who had ever had a sexual encounter without commitment obtained lower overall self-esteem scores compared to those without sexual experiences without commitment (Paul et al.). I never thought of approaching dating through this screening process, but a lot of people inadvertently become part of the culture of hookups. In addition, the findings that most men and women are motivated to engage in sexual relationships but often desire a more romantic relationship are consistent with a nuanced perspective that takes into account changes in social scripts, new developmental patterns, and the intercultural and biological centrality of the couple's bond (Fisher, 1992; Gray & Garcia, 201). An interdisciplinary biopsychosocial model can synthesize traditionally disconnected theoretical perspectives and provide a more holistic understanding of hookup culture.

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