How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both
An eye-opening examination of the hookup culture, seen through the personal experiences of high-school- and college-age women who confront the hard lessons of dating, love, and sex.
We're living in an increasingly sexualized world, and it's the young—particularly young women—who must deal with the consequences. Kids are having more sexual contact than ever, and at an earlier age. They call it "hooking up." But what is "hooking up"? According to Laura Sessions Stepp, a reporter at the Washington Post, hooking up eludes a neat definition. It can be anything from an innocent kiss to sexual intercourse.
In Unhooked, Stepp follows three groups of young women (one in high school, one each at Duke and George Washington Universities). She sat with them in class, socialized with them, listened to them talk, and came away with some disturbing insights, including that hooking up carries with it no obligation on either side. Relationships and romance are seen as messy and time-consuming, and love is postponed—or worse, seen as impossible. Some young women can handle this, but many can't, and they're being battered—physically and emotionally—by the new dating landscape. The result is a generation of young people stymied by relationships and unsure where to turn for help.
"The need to be connected intimately to others is as central to our well-being as food and shelter," Stepp writes in Unhooked. "In my view, if we don't get it right, we're probably not going to get anything else in life right."