Part I: 

The hookup culture can be found in movies, shows and song lyrics.

Recently, it’s been noticed that it can even be found at Keene State College.

Brenda McEachern, a counselor at the Keene State Counseling Center, said, “Hooking up, friends with benefits and casual-sex relationships are more popular now; it’s seen as a cultural difference that’s changed since the previous generation.”

Although she said there is no way of knowing why there has been a change, McEachern said, “Research suggests that people of this generation are not as interested or feel capable of being in an intimate and emotional-connecting relationship and prefer more physical relationships.”

KSC Junior Ian Lemley said, although it may not be the only reason for the change, technology and media have had an influence on this culture.

“It’s definitely gotten more in-your-face over the years because of technology. It’s just something we live with and we’ve learned to accept. Our generation has drifted away from the romantic notions of dating someone,” Lemley said.

KSC Junior and Secretary of Feminist Collective Meghan Jenks said she has a different opinion on why there is a difference.

“This describes something that has existed for a really long time, just maybe not for women as much as men. Men having casual sex has never been a big deal and only since women have gained more sexual liberation that it’s become this big issue,” Jenks said.

Some students said they define hooking up as ‘making out’ while others said it involves having sex.

“Hooking up is making out at a party and going home together,” Alexandra Oliveri,  junior, said,  “It’s not just kissing someone.”

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

Brooke St Pierre, a KSC senior, said she defines hooking up as “Having sex with anyone if they’re not dating, regardless of if they just met or have known each other; if they’re not dating, that’s when it’s hooking up.”

Although there may be some discrepancy over the definition, students and staff are aware that this is going on at Keene State.

Lemley mentioned that the hookup culture seen at KSC is something that’s going to be at every college.

Senior Sofia Hart said she sees this culture all the time at parties and the nightlife.

She also mentioned seeing people’s interactions and hears about one-night-stands.

McEachern said she has learned from her research that movies such as “Friends with Benefits,” featuring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, show people being fed-up with relationships and just want a purely physical relationship.

McEachern said, “They wouldn’t make movies if people couldn’t relate.”

“You see the hookup culture in movies and media,” KSC Senior Michael Sarafin said, “And come to college expecting that’s what it’s going to be like.”

“It shouldn’t be in your forties or when you’re fifteen. When you go to college and you’re single it’s the right time to see who’s out there,” Oliveri said.

Oliveri said she thinks college is the time to hook up with people, if you’re going to do it at all.

“It allows people to explore themselves and other people and have fun,” Oliveri said.

Jenks followed up and said, “College—it’s a period of freedom they [students] haven’t had before and it’s a time to try new things while you’re young and adventurous and before you choose to settle down.”

Freshman Jordan Damon said the hookup culture is the way people meet and get to know each other, even if it is just for a physical relationship.

St Pierre said some girls think that hooking up with someone will lead to something, but this “freaks guys out because they don’t want girls to think that.”

McEachern indicated men often tell her that there is a certain pressure to be promiscuous and see sex casually.

McEachern said she hopes that people can make decisions based off what’s right for them and not just hook up to follow the social norm.

Lemley said, “I can’t speak for all guys, but from what I see, for the eighteen—twenty-two [year-old] college guy, the point of going out at night is to bring a girl back.”

Lemley continued, “They want to drink with their buddies and then find a good-looking girl to tell their friends about the next day and it’s a point of pride.”

Lemley continued, “It’s the social-norm now. If you think of college and people drunk at a party, that’s what you expect: the craziness and the environment where you can do whatever you want.”

Ken Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies Karen Honeycutt agreed.

“There is sometimes peer pressure involved­­­—if you think ‘Everyone is doing it,’ well, you might as well too, right?  The irony is that a lot of times college students think other students are doing a lot more than they actually are,” Honeycutt said.

McEachern  said there are a lot of sexually-selective students and some students not sexually-active at all.

Hart agreed—although there are always opportunities for people to be a part of this culture, self respect is a big reason people choose not to be involved.

Lemley, who has been in a long-term relationship throughout college, summed up his beliefs and said, “The way my parents brought me up, I’m just not aggressive like that. I don’t think going after girls for one night is worth it just to be able to say you hooked up with someone. I think it reflects poorly on society that we’ve come to this.”


See next week’s issue for more on hookup culture.


Taylor Thomas can be contacted at

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