An odd choice? American Hookup

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve been out looking for a hook up. I have no college-bound children. I’m not an educator.

So perhaps American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus by Lisa Wade was an odd choice for me.

But guys, I’m all about gender relations and how they enforce stereotypes and certain behaviours. American Hookup is all about that too.

Wade is a professor and asks her students to help illuminate for her the current state of hookup culture. Where are the lines? What are the roles? Who is hookup culture for? Who can’t participate?


She looks at the history of colleges as institutions and how they’ve come to signal this hedonistic paradise to millions of young people, at gender relations and how the power dynamic has shifted from women to men over time due to external forces, at how gender and racial stereotypes enforce discriminatory behaviours and how this hookup culture can turn dangerous real quick.

It was an eye opening read. Wade’s students’ insights make for a more inside look at the current state of affairs than I would’ve expected from a PhD. Her students are incredibly forthcoming about their sexual encounters!

This book strikes me as one that would do a lot of good for students heading to college. One of the things that Wade points out at the beginning is that this idea of college as this alcohol-infused orgy free-for-all is stressing students out. They obsess about how much sex they’re not having, comparing themselves and their experiences to their peers when actually everyone is having a lot less sex than they care to admit to.

I think it would terrify parents to read it but maybe it’s a good idea for them to get an understanding of what their kids are headed to? Definitely those working with young adults should give this a read. I am definitely passing it on as appropriate.

Look for American Hookup early in 2017 (when everything isn’t a total dumpster fire?).

8 thoughts on “An odd choice? American Hookup

  1. Ooh, thanks for the advance review! This sounds fascinating. I really enjoyed a book called It’s Complicated, where a researcher interviewed teens about their use of social media and this sounds similar.

  2. Sounds like a really interesting and yet terrifying read. I’ve been reading a lot about how easily accessible porn online has changed what guys expect from girls and it ain’t pretty. But hey, I can’t prepare my daughter for the future if i don’t know what’s out there.

  3. This sounds like an interesting book. College life always surprises me. I read a book about college sororities once and it blew my mind: eating disorders, who to date, how to network, how to shun someone, etc. It was brutal and cold.

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