Hooked on “hooking up”

here By Rebecca Fenton, News Staff

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see url It was a Monday afternoon and Espresso Royale Cafe, a popular coffee shop full of Northeastern students, bustled, despite the dreary overcast. http://wilsonrelocation.com/?q=%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B6%D9%84-%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%84 Maggie Kowalski, who graduated in December, was discussing her adventures and misadventures in dating, pausing infrequently to take quick sips of steamed tea. http://theshopsonelpaseo.com/?syzen=%D9%81%D9%88%D9%83%D8%B3-%D8%A8%D9%88%D9%83&cd5=7e ‘He’s cute, he’s funny and he tells a good story,’ Kowalski said about her most recent date. ‘But I don’t want to get involved in anything I could get really emotionally attached to.’ http://www.ac-brno.org/?pycka=%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B5%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%B3-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%A9&c44=83 She adjusted her Miami Hurricanes hat and smiled. Kowalski said she knew she would graduate in a few weeks and move to Miami, where she had accepted and since began a job. While she admitted the prospect of leaving was difficult with a budding romance, she was content not to complicate her situation by pursuing a relationship. http://craigpauldesign.co.uk/?izi=%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%84-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%87%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%88%D9%85&e5d=d3 ‘People say they don’t want relationships, but I think they just don’t want to call them relationships. I think the ease of just hooking up is because there are no labels, which I think really freak people out,’ Kowalski said. The hook up culture is the latest trend to define the romantic relationship landscape. The term ‘hooking up’ is still somewhat of a mystery. Experts define it differently, but it’s generally agreed upon that the term covers everything from kissing to sex.
For most people, the rules of formal dating have changed. The custom of dinner and a movie has largely been reduced to meeting someone, commonly under the influence of alcohol, and engaging in anything from making out to sex, experts say, and often without the expectation of it progressing to a relationship.
Kowalski is aware of this culture because she said she is a part of it.
‘I went in with the expectation that it was just going to be a hook up,’ Kowalski said of her most recent casual date.
The key word is casual, a word hardly associated with marriage.
Because of the more casual dating scene, men and women are less inclined to experience commitment and intimacy that will better prepare them for marriage, experts who research the topic say. Hooking up, or no-strings attached intimacy, not only hinders the preparation for marriage, but could have a devastating effect on the amount of successful marriages in the future, studies show.
‘You don’t know how close you want to get to the other person and you don’t know how close you want to bring them,’ Kowalski said.
Although 22-year-old Kowalski said she is years away from seriously considering marriage, she said this generation’s style of dating has made it difficult to develop the skills necessary to pursue more serious relationships.
‘For women, at least, they need to be prepared for the reality that the guy isn’t going to read into a hook up too deeply,’ Kowalski said. ‘You can play it as cool as you want and he’s probably just going to be relieved.’
Casual dating may seem like the norm, but those who date frequently tend to have poorer quality relationships later on, said Stephanie Madsen, associate psychology professor and chair of the department at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md.
‘People certainly want to get married but they are lacking the skills to make a lasting relationship,’ she said.
According to the National Marriage Project based at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., studies like ‘Sex without Strings:’ Relationships without Rings’ and ‘Why Men Won’t Commit:’ Exploring Young Men’s Attitudes About Sex, Dating and Marriage’ expose findings that may explain why marriages are nearly half as common as they were in the 1960s.
Without formal guidelines for Generation Y, it becomes difficult to associate yesterday’s dating to today’s hooking up, experts say. With relationships cast in the backdrop it is easy to wonder if marriage is even on the romantic stage.
But in Espresso Royale Cafe there are couples seated across from one another, holding hands and talking. Other women laugh over steaming mugs of tea. Amid the frenzy of people whose jackets are slung on the backs of chairs, impressive arrays of newspapers and books litter the round, hand-decorated tabletops, hiding painted words that read, ‘I still love you.’

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It is easy to predict what happens when young adults of the opposite sex live together in an environment absent of parental supervision and conducive to parties with alcohol. Hooking up is not just likely’-it’s inevitable, experts say.
The hook up culture began to shape the social landscape during the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s when more men and women began to attend colleges and live together on campus.
‘Technology has created a snowball effect, making the hook up culture easier and easier,’ said Kathleen Bogle, author of ‘Hooking Up:’ Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus,’ which came out last year.
Factors like text messages, the invention of birth control, the popularity of alcohol and the rise of career-driven men and women have contributed to the frequency of more casual romantic relationships, Bogle said.
With careers ablaze on the front burner, Bogle said the latest data reveal that both, men and women, on average, are getting married at a later age.
Currently, women are getting married at 26 and men are getting married at an average age of 28, a slight rise from 1999, in which women married at an average of 25.1, and men at 26.9, according to a census poll taken in 2004.
Since the poll was taken, both men and women have delayed marriage over the years. In 1960, women and men married at an average age of 20.3 and 22.8 years old, respectively, according to the same census data.
Because people are getting married later, it’s rare for students today to be engaged, said Emily Scott-Lowe, a marriage expert and professor of social work at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. At Pepperdine, a university religiously affiliated with the Church of Christ, Christian values are heavily instilled in the student body, Scott-Lowe said.
‘I was teaching here 24 years ago and engaged students were more common here at Pepperdine,’ she said.
A fast-paced society and the demands of today’s more competitive-than-ever job market encourage men and women to choose between pursuing marriage and pursuing a career, experts say. Without the obligation of a serious commitment, hooking up provides an ideal dating option for people, especially those who are interested in meeting partners but lack the time.
In a nationally representative study entitled, ‘No Strings Attached:’ The Nature of Casual Sex in College Students,’ 404 undergraduate students from a large public university in the southeastern region of the United States, whose name has been withheld, were surveyed and asked questions about sex and dating. Data was collected during two fall semesters in 2001 and 2003.
College student samples revealed that 70 percent of students reported engaging in sexual relations with partners they did not deem romantic.
Deborah Welsh, the author of the study and professor of psychology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, said while there has not been data to prove hooking up is a new movement, the lack of studies conducted in the past about casual sex may be indicative of the rising trend.

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Far removed from a rowdy apartment overwhelmed with Solo cups of beer, Kim Landry sat quietly at Starbucks, doing her homework and eating a salad as Norah Jones softly croons love songs in the background.
She described the typical party scene.
‘On an average night, if you go out with the intention of hooking up with someone, there’s relatively good chance it will happen,’ she said.
Landry, a sophomore business major at, said she does not frequent the hook-up culture scene.
‘I’m not one of those weekend people who goes out often,’ she said.
Although her friends are active participants in the weekend scenes reminiscent of ‘Animal House,’ Landry sees another side of the hook up culture that paints a less promising picture.
‘You don’t see the work that goes into making a marriage last,’ she said.
With more than 100 colleges and universities in and around Boston, the dating scene is vibrant and accessible. Last year, Forbes.com‘ ranked Boston as the No. 7 best city for singles.
‘Generally it seems like people up here are less comfortable moving outside their social circles and tend to hook up with people within them,’ said Kevin Cwirka, a senior criminal justice major.
And while Boston is home to thousands of college students, many of whom are single, the dating scene is hard to judge, he said.
‘It’s tough to look at it just from a numbers perspective and make an assumption that Boston’s a hook-up friendly city,’ he said.
But do young men and women learn the same kind of love and intimacy found in marriages by hooking up?
In Laura Sessions Stepp’s book ‘Unhooked:’ How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both,’ which came out in 2007, she followed three groups of young women on a journey through an academic year to unveil a transformation of dating and sexuality.
‘You don’t get to practice being in a relationship when you’re hooking up,’ Stepp said, citing how young women do not feel they have the time and energy to commit to a relationship. ‘You don’t learn trust and respect and the ability to make up.’
Stepp also said that ‘friends with benefits’ do not have the license to emotionally respond in the way that normal couples in relationships do.
‘[Hooking up] silences girls to explore their own emotions,’ she said. ‘It is virtually impossible for girls to have sex and not have feelings. Sex releases the hormone oxytocin, which stimulates a caring instinct, apparently more in women than men.’
While hooking up does increase the odds of meeting a compatible partner, there is little value if the experience with intimacy remains solely physical, Stepp said.
‘Loving well takes time, communication and practice,’ she said. ‘Hooking up, which is usually short term, does not teach you how to love well.’
As young men and women begin to enter a phase of relationship experimentation during college, it is natural to garner more sexual partners. Being mindful of the fact that hooking up is not necessarily ample preparation for marriage is critical in drawing the line between the two, she said.
‘In the old studies, one of the predictors of having extramarital sex was having a lot of premarital sex,’ said Peggy Giordano, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and author of studies like ‘Hooking Up:’ The Relationship Contexts of ‘Non-relationship’ Sex.’
Giordano said that hooking up does not always mean engaging in multiple one-night stands.
‘The most common thing is to be involved with one person,’ Giordano said. ‘Everybody talks about these one-night stands and everything, but really, at least among adolescents under 18, it’s not very common,’ she said. ‘It’s a term that’s thrown around, but really, at that age, the number of partners they have had is usually zero or one.’


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The gaining momentum of the trend toward increasingly casual relationships speaks to the societal changes that have left young men and women’s daily schedules busier than ever.
‘I kind of wanted to stay unattached during college because I wanted to focus on my career,’ Kowalski said.
Her practical view of college, she said, is as a time for experimentation which runs parallel with the idea that the focus of college is not necessarily marriage but career.
Kowalski said she uses her experiences from hooking up to her advantage, capitalizing on the next relationship by building off the previous.
‘I kind of see myself for the next one wanting a little more,’ she said.
Kowalski, similar to many college students, said she understands that being in a relationship is hard.
‘Really cultivating a relationship takes a lot of time, a lot of energy,’ she said.
Both are things college students often find in short supply.
The collision of the hook up culture with marriage is an extreme ideological clash:’ No strings attached meets lifelong commitment. But more importantly, it is a fundamental change from yesterday’s values, experts say.
As people become increasingly immersed in mainstream culture and dependent upon technology, the necessity for formal relationships have seemingly lost their place. The advent of whirlwind schedules and extensive, virtual social networks have desensitized the hook-up culture, making it both normal and acceptable, Kowalski said.
The collegiate life that has been responsible for spawning the hook up movement has reassessed values like marriage and commitment. And although not completely lost, marriage has been pushed back and set aside for later years, experts say.
Putting off marriage and serious relationships has produced a generation seemingly fearful of commitment, experts say. Making the jump from a hook up to a relationship suddenly places intense emphasis on the idea that relationships are more serious.
Looking more closely at the hook up culture, the underlying and unifying desire for true intimacy, emotional connection and love are paramount.
‘During our teens and 20s we are still trying to figure out who we are and what we want,’ said Alexa Joy Sherman, author of ‘The Happy Hook-Up:’ A Single Girl’s Guide to Casual Sex,’ which came out in 2004.
For many, the 20s are a time to explore options and tying yourself down to one person may be limiting, she said.
‘I think that as long as we’re approaching our experiences honestly, I don’t see the damage or danger of the relationship,’ she said.

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