Stress and Sex

Helping women decrease stress and enhance desire.

Hooking Up: Complexities and Double Standards

College students are hooking-up. Still, just what they are doing, and how they are reacting emotionally and sexually, is far from straightforward. What is clear, however, is that missing from the discourse is research on same-sex hookups and that in heterosexual hookups, the sexual double standards is alive and well. Read More

Pleasure statistics

How do the pleasure statistics (oral give, oral get, etc.) compare for one-time hookup sex compared to first-time non-hookup sex? Is there any difference? I would bet not. I think those stats just have to do with first time sex, period. And that sex is most often something of a proof to both men and women that the man is not impotent. Was there reporting on sexual failure in any of these stats? That is, failure to penetrate on attempted penetrative sex on a first hookup, or failure to penetrative on attempted penetrative sex on a first-time non-hookup sex? I would guess nerves are an equal opportunity intruder.

Reply to "Pleasure Statistics"

You raise an interesting point. The study did not compare first-time hookup and first-time relationship sex. It compared hookups and relationship sex, in terms of specific behaviors and orgasms, as well as attitudes. I believe that anxiety does play a role in first-time sexual encounters, as you suggest, in both relationships and in hookups. Additionally, the data from this study suggest that there is more to the difference in orgasm and oral sex statistics reported than anxiety. Here is an excerpt from the study abstract you might find of interest:

Regression analyses reveal that specific sexual practices, experience with a particular partner, and commitment all predict women’s orgasm and sexual enjoyment. The presence of more sexual practices conducive to women’s orgasm in relationship sex explains some of why orgasm is more common in relationships. Qualitative analysis suggests a double standard also contributes to why relationship sex is better for women: both men and women question women’s (but not men’s) entitlement to pleasure
in hookups but believe strongly in women’s (as well as men’s) entitlement to pleasure in relationships.

Also, the lack of orgasms for both sex’s may also be due to not engaging in behaviors conducive to orgasms during the hook-up (i.e., just kissing, etc.), since the students answered the questions according to their own definitions of hookup.

So, in short, I do think the role of anxiety in sex (relationship and hookup is large). And, I also believe this study did yield a double standard regarding oral sex and the prioritization of women’s pleasure during hook up sex.

Regarding failure, many of my students tell me that loss of erection occurs during hookup, often due to the alcohol also involved.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

The purpose of sex is to have an orgasm??

Um, what the heck are you studying? People have sex for many reasons. College students have sex for many reasons. I think you need to go back to the drawing board.

Many many years ago I was in college, and I had a lot of hook-ups. I don't think I ever went into a casual sexual encounter in search for an orgasm. I had sex with men whom I found attractive, unique and interesting. I had casual sex with men who were different from me. I enjoy sex. I enjoyed being able to spend a few hours with different men where I could talk intimately, get to know them, have some laughs and then consider whether I wanted to pursue a deeper relationship or leverage the situation for social interaction at a later time.

I don't regret all that casual sex for a minute. In hindsight, I probably should have had more of it. I wish I could have casual sex now, but with my neighbor's prying eyes and the clingyness of men my age it isn't feasible.


"leverage the situation"

Well that certainly isn't manipulative and shallow, is it?

"I don't regret all that casual sex for a minute. In hindsight, I probably should have had more of it. I wish I could have casual sex now, but with my neighbor's prying eyes and the clingyness of men my age it isn't feasible."

Interesting, it sounds like you are single and getting older. I wonder why no one has wanted to settle down with you.


You are indeed right--people do have sex for a variety of reasons and orgasm is not always the goal.

Nevertheless, you seem to have missed two points in my blog. First, this is not what I am studying; my blog was conveying/summarizing the research in this area. And, secondly, despite the various reasons people have sex and orgasm not always being the goal, the research on hook-up sex clearly demonstrates that women have more regret and less pleasure.

Thanks for reading and commenting.


Laurie, I'm so glad you tackled this subject, but the more I read, the more I conclude that the data is a mess. For example, see...

Vrangalova, Z. (2014). Does casual sex harm college students’ wellbeing? A longitudinal investigation of the role of motivation. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0255-1

Which indicates that those with less autonomous reasons for hookups tend to have lower measures of self-esteem, more depressive symptoms, etc....which just happens to be counter to the data in the 2013 study you cite.

Here's what I think, finally. Vrangalova and you are both onto something with the focus on motivation. However, wen it comes to motivation in general, we all tend to self-hug, in the words of Dr. Steven Reiss. We think that what motivates us is what should motivate others. People are motivated for sex by all sorts of things, from orgasm to autonomy to transgression to independence to self-destruction to power. One motivation is no better or worse than the next except when harming self or others.

The really interesting study to be done, politically risky as it might be, would be to compare hook-up that result in penetration (its own category, I believe) to first-sex experiences in general with a new partner, whether that first penetrative experience is in a long-term or a short-term (say, 3 weeks to 5 months) relationship.

Here's my hypothesis: there would be no statistically significant diffence. Zero. None. First sex is rarely satisfying. In fact, it's so rarely satisfying that the four people I know who reported great first sex together all got married to that partner and are still married, with robust sex lives!


Hi Mariah! As always, I am so glad that you take the time to read and to send me your insightful comments and reactions! Yes, indeed, the data is a mess and contradictory. Thanks for sending me that new study. It does seem that motivation is key here, as well as satisfaction. And, as you say, and I agree--first time penetrative experiences are rarely great for women. And, in fact, part of this may be that most women don't orgasm through penetration and perhaps it takes a young women time to tell her partner this! What do you think?


Telling the partner

I think men have to be living under a rock not to know female sexual functioning these days. I also think that measuring male sexual satisfaction by the objective measure of an orgasm is disingenous, considering that a third of men have issues with premature ejaculation; that number is higher for young men. No man I've ever seen has said that he feels sexually satisfied when he prematurely ejaculates. In fact, I would imagine that men who clock in under the norm of three minutes (!!!! That's the norm? GAWD!) don't feel very satisfied, either

living under a rock??

"I think men have to be living under a rock not to know female sexual functioning these days."

I would agree with that statement if all women, including young women starting to be sexual, had a good understanding of their bodies, had reached orgasm through self-stimulation, and never faked an orgasm. But that is not the case. I've heard far too many men confidently claim, for example, that every woman had achieved orgasm during intercourse with them. Or that women want men with a big penis, etc.

Now you would think that with the hookup culture men have enough partners to learn female sexual functioning. But the truth is that not everyone is participating in the hookup scene. And so it's not uncommon for two people with little sexual experience to get together and remain clueless for quite a while.

Also, the most prevalent teacher of female sexuality for men in America is porn. Surely I don't even have to elaborate on this point.

I'm not saying...

Please don't misunderstand. I am not saying that there are not plenty of men and who who do not understand the physiology of sex. I am saying that the cohort of college freshmen have a far better understanding of it than average, and also saying that like most who engage in first-time sex with a new partner -- hookup or not -- having orgasms is not a good measure of the satisfaction of the encounter.

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Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., is the author of A Tired Woman's Guide to Passionate Sex: Reclaim Your Desire and Reignite Your Relationship.


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