American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus

304p. ebook available. index. notes. Norton. Jan. 2017. Tr $26.95. ISBN 9780393285093.
The transition from high school senior to college freshman signifies far more than academic accomplishment. Moving from the constraints of the teen years to the seemingly unbounded freedom of de facto adulthood can be a precipitous adjustment. This shift is perhaps most evident in the increased opportunities for sex or, more specifically, within the casual sexual encounter known as the hookup. As Wade describes, hookup culture permeates recreational activities at campuses across the country. Citing examples from doctoral dissertations, popular magazine articles, and the journals of her students, the author explores the rules and rituals of hookups as well as the emotional impact these encounters may carry for participants. For example, young people often attempt to hook up with someone considered "hot," or risk ridicule from friends, and pretend that the hookup never happened when seeing their sex partner the next time. Wade notes that participants are mostly white, heterosexual, and from money, although the predominance of hookup culture affects nearly all students. Teens will probably be less shocked than adults by the accounts of emotionless sex, since these activities frequently begin in high school. But the deeper, hidden aspects of the experience—the way it deliberately avoids committed relationships and focuses narrowly on sexual desirability—are important insights for adolescents as they embark on their own college adventures.
VERDICT College-bound young adults will be better prepared to navigate hookup culture on their own terms after reading this informative, empathetic account.

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