0129 – What You Need to Know About ‘Hookup Culture’

Show Intro

I am Elijah R Young, I’m here with Sarah J. Storer and this is Relations: The Podcast, the on-demand radio show giving you better relationships, and more importantly, helping you become a better person to be in a relationship with…In today’s show:


Show Description

We’re talking about how to navigate hookup culture


By the end of this episode:

  • what hookup culture is
  • when casual sex can be good for you
  • the number one tip for participating in casual sex


Describe the problem

…You can’t read two paragraphs into the New York Times without stepping on an article about hookup culture. Most of the articles point to college campuses, but casual sex isn’t a new thing, and psychologists and scientists are conducting more and more studies to find out what motivates humans to have casual sex. So whether you’ve had a hookup, or are thinking about a hookup, here are a few things to examine before dipping your toe into the waters of hookup culture.


Segment #1


Definition: a “hookup culture” is one that accepts and encourages casual sex. So we could say that it applies to the dating culture as a whole, or it could be relegated to micro-cultures, like college campuses, certain cities, or even age groups

  1. Is hook up culture “right” or “wrong?”–there have been a bunch of studies on the subject so far (usually by taking people who have had at least one hookup, then comparing their well-being to those who haven’t), and the results are all over the place. So science doesn’t know yet.  
  2. Is it a reflection of shifting gender norms?–in numerous pieces (the New York Time, the Atlantic), writers point to the fact that women, more than ever, are owning their sexuality and are far less afraid of the “consequences” of non-commital, casual sex
  3. Is it a reflection of the lack of desire for intimacy?–One study in psychology today said that hookup culture or casual sex actually erodes our “trust pathways”
  4. Is it due to the “death of courtship?”–for as many articles there are about hookup culture, there are just as many about the “death of courtship” or the demise of traditional dating.


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Segment #2


How to navigate…

  1. If you want to participate in hookup culture, know and understand your motivations. It could affect how good casual sex can be for you. For example, wanting to participate in casual sex because it’s fun vs. wanting to participate in casual sex because you’re looking to feel better about yourself or hoping it will lead to a long term relationship will likely net far different feelings after the deed is done.
  2. Studies show that the same feelings of higher self-esteem and satisfaction that result from exercising or helping others can also apply to casual sex…IF all three are approached for the “right reasons,” (e.g. wanting to have fun, wanting to learn something new, or believing it’s an important experience)
  3. On the other hand, hooking up for the “wrong reasons” can lead to lower self-esteem, higher depression and anxiety

[message break]


Final Thoughts:

#1 Know yourself and your motivations well…and have fun and be safe!


  • Elijah’s Thoughts
  • Sarah’s Thoughts


Show recap

Listener Mail


Show Close

If you have a question, comment, or funny story about [INSERT SHOW TOPIC] we have a private SafeSpace on facebook where we talk about all sorts of social, professional, and romantic relationship topics, and after every show you can go there and share you story, get some advice from great people or just hang out. Both Sarah and I are there every day and you can be there too, just go to www.relationspodcast.com/join and click the “Join Now’ button.


Until we meet again, keep striving to make every relationship you have the best it can possibly be, including (and especially) the one with yourself. We’ll talk soon.










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