Fear and Loathing in the Hookup Culture: A Study of Female Engagement in Non-Relational Sex on a University Campus
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Recent empirical evidence suggests that we have entered a new period of courtship known as the hookup era. Contemporary research which explores hooking up has confirmed the prevalence of this dating script, particularly within post-secondary institutions. The relevant literature has focused on a variety of important issues including the conceptual meaning of hooking up and the identification of potential correlates and consequences of these behaviours. Despite this increase in scholarly interest, several problems remain unaddressed. Principal among these is the way(s) in which young women mediate the self-perceived risks involved in the sexual exchange known as the hookup, so as to facilitate their participation in this culture. The current paper examines the controversy that is female hookup participation by investigating the risks – and subsequent negotiation of these risks – which women face in the hookup culture. Specifically, this paper makes use of detailed qualitative data gathered from a sample of female undergraduate students at a medium-sized Canadian university, in order to uncover the social processes by which female proponents of the hookup culture account for their actions to themselves and to others, in this the seemingly risky courtship script.