If you’re a young woman, you may embrace your sexuality. You know your sexual feelings are healthy and beautiful, nothing to be ashamed of. You know how awesome your body is and how wonderful it can feel. Just like the guys, you’re free to experiment with both relational and casual sex.
Having the option for sex without a relationship may feel empowering. But for many young women I talk to, hookup sex really isn’t that great. Often, they’re hooking up not because that’s their first choice, but because they can’t find a guy who wants a relationship. So emotionally, it’s not very satisfying.
To top it off, the sex itself often isn’t very satisfying. If you’ve experienced that, you’re not alone. Research finds that women have fewer orgasms in hookup sex than they do in relationship sex.
A large study of college women found that “specific sexual practices, experience with a particular partner, and commitment all predict women’s orgasm and sexual enjoyment.” You’ll notice that two of those three are, by definition, missing from hookup sex.
Further, the research found that guys don’t care much about women’s pleasure during hookups. They’re not even trying! Possibly even worse, women are buying into this. The researchers found that “[b]oth men and women question women’s (but not men’s) entitlement to pleasure in hookups but believe strongly in women’s (as well as men’s) entitlement to pleasure in a relationship. More attention is thus given to producing female orgasm in relationships.”
Let’s pause for a minute to let that sink in.
So, women are having hookup sex that isn’t what they really want in the first place—and they’re not even getting much physical pleasure from it. Is this what we want for ourselves today?
There are reasons women have hookup sex despite its limitations: out of loneliness or longing for touch; horniness; wanting to feel desirable/attractive; hoping the hookup might lead to something more. (Young women reading this: I would love your insights. What reasons do you or women you know have for choosing hookups?)
Whatever your choices about sex, go in with your eyes open: When you have hookup sex, don’t expect too much fun.