Sociology and Criminology-Open Access

Sociology and Criminology-Open Access
Open Access

ISSN: 2375-4435



Hooking up in the Twenty-First Century

Alison Marganski and Kelly Fauth

This study presents an exploratory analysis of the meaning of “hooking up” based on 1) academic literature, and 2) the perspective of college students from differing backgrounds. The authors investigated definitions of hooking up based on scholarly articles derived from search engine results and then from college students’ responses to an open-ended question on an online survey (N=358). Coding was used to identify themes that emerged from the data with the goal of understanding what the phrase means and whether the research is in line with students’ perspectives. Additionally, the authors sought to examine whether differences exist based on demographic variables. The findings revealed that the phrase “hooking up” predominantly represents sexual behavior ranging from kissing to sexual intercourse in the research base, but has been more narrowly constructed among college students. Gender differences also emerged, with males being more likely than females to view hooking up as involving sex rather than a broader range of sexual behaviors. A discussion follows and highlights directions for future research.