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A: My biggest surprise when I started this project was the answers I heard from young men.
But a lot of them don’t know how to get out of the hookup cycle because it’s too against the norm to do anything else.Q: But didn’t you find students who felt liberated by the opportunity to experiment sexually without forming lasting ties?A: Let me be clear: Every student I talked to was happy to have the option of hooking up.But a lot of the young men I talked to complained just as much as the women.They wished that they could be in a relationship and that they didn’t have to prove all of this stuff to their friends.The hookup, on its own, becomes a norm for all sexual intimacy, rather than being a one time, fun experience. A hookup can be really great, in theory, but over time becomes jading and exhausting.Q: So you’re saying that the default mode for relationships for young people has become casual sex? Casual sex is not necessarily what happens in a hookup. The hookup has become the most common way of being sexually intimate on a college campus, and relationships are formed through serial hookups. A: It’s only problematic if people don’t like it, and if they’re not finding it fun or liberating.They end up feeling ashamed that they can’t be callous.Q: Do you think men and women are differently affected by the new sexual norms?The problem is a culture of hooking up, where it’s the only option they see for being sexually intimate.They’re not against hooking up in theory, they just want other options.