“Having sex with someone is going into a comfort zone. Once you’ve had sex with them or they see you vulnerable, it opens you up to who they are and gives you another dimension to them. Sex is a comfort breaker. Sex is a good ice breaker to get to know people, especially in this sex society,” says Priyanka Patel, a senior at the University of Albany. “I waited almost two years to have sex with my first partner, and it was such a big deal. You start to overthink the situation, and all these questions come into play. You can plan, but sometimes it’s better to just get over it.”
“Hooking up has been a part of our culture long before college parties,” says Joe Lovell, a 35-year-old St. Bonaventure University alumnus. It was seen as taboo before; however, it has become acceptable with the rise in social networks and media. Men tend to get praised for hooking up, but it’s beginning to evolve for women as well. Shows like Sex and the City highlight women embracing hookups.”
“My shortest time from meeting someone to hooking up was about three hours,” says Lovell. “Alcohol [was] a major factor, however it had a lot to do with the fact that I went to a small college with a small circle of friends. You pretty much knew everyone in those college bubbles. Typically, the way of thinking leading to hooking up is completely physical. I haven’t heard any male brag about taking a girl home to talk. It’s mainly the physical act.”
“Being in college and in that 21 range has a lot of pressure,” says Patel. “Media has an effect; even if the message isn’t go have sex, our music and media surround sex. There are pressures from friends and even more pressure when alcohol is involved.”
Researchers have found a direct correlation between “hookups” and Greek-affiliated organizations. An average Greek event contains free alcohol in a large, social setting, which is one of the many factors that lead to hookups. “I’ve got into relationships after hooking up. In college, there is more of a stigma that people do “hookup” before they actually go out in this day and age,” said Matt Devito, a junior at UAlbany and a member of Alpha Chi Rho. “I think it all depends on the moment and the scenario. I’ve had times where I’ve hooked up with a girl at the end of the night, but I’ve put in about three hours of work at the bar. Then there are some girls who I don’t really know too well, so I’ll give it about one to two weeks.”
“My worst hookup was this time I went to a fraternity house and I was super drunk,” says Jenn Rouse, a senior at the College of Saint Rose. “I started hooking up with this guy in the bathroom. He was drunk and fell over into this grimy, dirty bathtub and then I just started puking everywhere. It was literally a two-second hookup.”
And with hooking up so commonplace, how many partners should people have before they “settle down”?
“It’s all relative to what you believe is your number,” says Rouse. “Some say five is a lot and some say 27 is a lot. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, it’s more about you making the most of your life and doing what you want to do. I consider my number pretty high, but I don’t regret it. It’s just a good time.”