Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Anastasia Prokos


Previous research has documented that college students use the term “hooking up” to discuss their casual sexual encounters. These encounters involve a range of sexual activity from kissing and fondling to oral, anal, and vaginal intercourse that occurs between strangers or associates without intent of a committed relationship. Prior research has examined who hooks up, what a hook up is, where hooking up takes place, and consequences of hooking up (Heldman and Wade 2010). Yet, little is known about how and why students use this term to describe their sexual experiences. Using data from in-depth interviews with 20 college students at a large Midwestern university, this study explores links between the meanings students associate with the term hooking up and how the term allows them to reconcile their beliefs about sexuality with their sexual behavior. Some areas under investigated include: what hooking up means to students, how they use the term hooking up, and a comparison of the term hooking up with other terms for non-committal sex. Results indicate that the term hooking up serves as a mechanism for impression management and this is achieved through creating gendered and sexed typologies, changing the meanings of sex, and constructing meaning as individuals and within groups.


Copyright Owner

Veronica Lynn Rau-mason



Date Available


File Format


File Size

146 pages

Included in

Sociology Commons