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The conversation about hook up culture is relevant to fraternities and sororities because much of their social culture is organized to facilitate opposite sex interactions. While physical risks are often what can be measured, the emotional toll can be just as great. Regret, as noted above, is common for women, but men also experience regret (Eshbaugh & Gute, 2008). Also, dealing with the instability of partners, and the pressure to maintain what is perceived to be the status quo, can be immense.

Talking with Students About the Hook Up Culture

While fraternity/sorority advisors may not be aware of the sexual interactions of students, this is an important component of the student culture to understand. Advisors need to be equipped to challenge students on many fronts; not only on alcohol and policy violations, but also about the outcomes of the social culture they foster. In order to guide chapters to be congruent with their purpose, advisors need to focus on how they are going to develop students’ perceptions of healthy relationships. Advisors should find ways for students to engage in conversations where they can personally confront the hook up culture and discuss the reality versus perception myths. This conversation can also challenge students to think and act outside of gender perceptions. Advisors should allow students to share what men and women really want from sexual experiences. Students should be asked to analyze traditional paradigms of male and female social agendas. This critical reflection can help to foster a healthier self-image and greater confidence in one’s identity, as it relates to gender. Advisors must recognize that while dating played a key role in relationships two decades ago, traditional dating patterns and social agendas for men and women may have changed since they were in college. Students are now in the hook up culture, where “nice to meet you” and “would you like to come back to my place” often occur on the same night. Advisors are in the position to educate students to look out for the warning signs of even deeper problems with their peers. Students who act out sexually and use alcohol to deal with emotions often have other personal issues that lead them to this behavior. Educating students on what to look out for may help prevent further destructive behavior. Advisors are also in a place to change the culture by challenging students to critically examine their environment and educating them about the risks involved.

References Bogle, K. A. (2008). Hooking up: Sex, dating, and relationships on campus. New York, NY: New York University Press. Downing-Matibag, T. M., & Geisinger, B. (2009). Hooking up and sexual risk taking among college students: A health and belief model perspective. Qualitative Health Research, 19, 1196-1209. doi: 10.1177/1049732309344206 Eshbaugh, E. M., & Gute, G. (2008). Hookups and sexual regret among college women. Journal of Social Psychology, 148, 77-89. Retrieved from aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2008-04925-005&site=ehost-live Flack, W. F., Jr., Daubman, K. A., Caron, M. L., Asadorian, J. A., D’Aureli, N. R., Gigliotti, S. N., Hall, A. T., Kiser, S., & Stine, E. R. (2007). Risk factors and consequences of unwanted sex among university students: Hooking up, alcohol, and stress response. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 139-157. doi: 10.1177/088620506295354 Hamilton, L., & Armstrong, E. A. (2009). Gendered sexuality in young adulthood: Double blinds and flawed options. Gender & Society, 23, 589-616. doi: 10.1177/0891243209345829 Lanza-Kaduce, L., Capece, M., & Alden, H. (2006). Liquor is quicker: Gender and social learning among college students. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 17, 127-143. doi:10.1177/0887403405279934 Manning, W. D., Giordano, P. C., & Longmore, M. A., (2006). Hooking up: The relationship contexts of “nonrelationship” sex. Journal of Adolescent Research, 21, 459-483. doi: 10.1177/0743558406291692 Paul, E. L., McManus, B., & Hayes, A. (2000). “Hookups”: Characteristics and correlates of college students’ spontaneous and anonymous sexual experiences. Journal of Sex Research, 37, 76-88. Retrieved from http://

– Angela Baugher is a graduate advisor to the Interfraternity Council and a student at Ball State University. She received her Bachelor of Science from Eastern Michigan University and is member of Delta Zeta Sorority.

Spring 2011 / Perspectives


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