The hookup is now part of college life. Yet the drunken encounter we always hear about tells only a fraction of the story. Rising above misinformation and moralizing, Lisa Wade offers the definitive account of this new sexual culture and demonstrates that the truth is both more heartening and more harrowing than we thought.Read more...
The hookup is now part of college life. Yet the drunken encounter we always hear about tells only a fraction of the story. Rising above misinformation and moralizing, Lisa Wade offers the definitive account of this new sexual culture and demonstrates that the truth is both more heartening and more harrowing than we thought.
Offering invaluable insights for parents, educators, and students, Wade situates hookup culture within the history of sexuality, the evolution of higher education, and the unfinished feminist revolution. Using new research, she maps out a punishing emotional landscape marked by unequal pleasures, competition for status, and sexual violence. She discovers that the most privileged students tend to like hookup culture the most, and she considers its effects on racial and sexual minorities, students who "opt out," and those who participate ambivalently.
Accessible and open-minded, compassionate and brutally honest, American Hookup explains where we are and how we got here, asking not "How do we go back?" but "Where do we go from here?"
- ISBN-13: 9780393285093
- ISBN-10: 039328509X
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
- Publish Date: January 2017
- Page Count: 304
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-10-10
- Reviewer: Staff
Wade, a professor of sociology at Occidental College, reframes the conversation about casual sex on college campuses today with a sharp, canny report on how hookup culture has become a new norm of American campus life (Its more than just a behavior; its the climate), and why its sexual dynamics should be cause for concern. Wade includes firsthand accounts from her research subjects (her students from the two American liberal arts colleges where shes taught), who report in fresh and candid language on their experiences. She groups them into abstainers, dabblers, strivers, and enthusiasts. Both the media and the students themselves overestimate how much sex is happening on campus, and this leaves those who arent having sex (intentionally or not) feeling left out. The price of the perception, Wade notes, is high: the entrenchment of gender stereotypes, insistent heterocentrism, punishing competition among women for male approval, and the prevalence of sexual violence. Wade writes engagingly, and the research is historically grounded (though the history is sketched swiftly and with broad strokes); her conclusions wont surprise anyone, but the numerous student voices she includes set her book apart from others on the topic. (Jan.)
A look at modern sex culture at college
College students aren’t having as much sex as everyone thinks, professor Lisa Wade writes in American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus. Instead, most students are just talking about hooking up—and participating in a set of rituals that goes along with it.
Wade describes the cycle: pregaming in dorm rooms, dirty dancing at parties and then pairing off in bedrooms where actual sex may or may not occur. The next day, the events are discussed obsessively with friends. The pair who hooked up follow rigid rules, avoiding each other to prove the hookup was meaningless. The next weekend, the whole thing starts again.
To compile specifics about sexual behavior, Wade relied on journals prepared by three classes of freshmen. These journals are predictably scintillating. It’s important to remember, though, that they were prepared for a professor and may therefore be regarded with some skepticism. Wade complements the journals with data from national surveys, dissertation studies and journalistic accounts.
As a teacher at a residential college, I was not totally persuaded by Wade’s representation of sex culture on campuses—there are many students who opt into social circles with other kinds of rituals, and there’s more nuance and complexity in campus culture. Still, American Hookup could be a helpful conversation starter—and Wade’s takeaways about how to make the culture of hooking up kinder and more compassionate are well supported and important.