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American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  917 ratings  ·  135 reviews
The hookup is now part of college life. Yet the drunken encounter we always hear about tells only a fraction of the story. Rising above misinformation and moralizing, Lisa Wade offers the definitive account of this new sexual culture and demonstrates that the truth is both more heartening and more harrowing than we thought.

Offering invaluable insights for parents, educator
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by W. W. Norton Company
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2018
About a year ago, some of us who participate in Title IX investigations on my campus were passing around an episode of the Hidden Brain Podcast (NPR) on hookup culture on American campuses. It featured the author Lisa Wade and felt like a true reflection of what occurs on our campus and elsewhere. She came to speak on campus in April and although I couldn't go, I decided to at least read the book. Two months later I finally did.

This book is her research, largely told through stories from interv
Liza Wiemer
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Liza by: My son
Stunning. Eye-opening. Heartbreaking. Complex. Painful. Well-researched.

As someone who mentors, teaches, and writes for young adults, many things in this exceptionally researched book came as no surprise, like how drinking alcohol and hooking up were often linked. But some things did surprise me, like how the research showed that this hookup culture is mostly embraced by white students.

My heart broke many times for these young men and women who force themselves to shut out all emotion to have "
Nadine Jones
I follow Lisa Wade on Facebook, and I find her posts to be interesting, so when I saw she had a book published, i was interested. I put it on hold at my library as soon as I could. Excerpts she posted were great (see link to a Guardian article, below), but I worried the full book would be dry. I needn't have worried! This is fascinating and enlightening and, ultimately, reassuring.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never has someone observed things so well but gotten the conclusions so wrong. Wade fails to see that there is no making a healthy hookup culture. The things she thinks can be eliminated from it are the very inner logic of that culture, features not bugs. This is a tough book to listen to or read but the sociological observation is fascinating. A bit like watching a car crash.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
For parents of girls and guys heading to college or in college, I would strongly recommend this book. Forewarned is forearmed as they say. I went with four stars for interest, timeliness and relevance of material covered. Up there with Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein as a book with information good to know for young people trying to navigate college campuses successfully, happily and safely. Really, I would give this book more like a 3.5 but only because I am not a huge fan of the anecdotal appro ...more
Tristan Bridges
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book will shape debates surrounding "hookup culture" for many years to come. Wade has garnered national and international attention as a public scholar for many years now. She has a knack for clearly explaining insights from sociological research to public audiences in ways that do not detract from the level of sophistication of the science. And her own work is no exception. This book may be written to be read by anyone with an interest in the topic, but it's also a brilliant research proje ...more
Aug 11, 2016 rated it liked it
*3.5 stars*

A serious academic looks at hookup culture in the round, terrifying anyone who wishes they could relive their undergrad days. Believe me, you won't. There's an anthropological strain here, which dispassionately looks at the culture, its norms, and its understood rules, including an almost deep-play Geertzian explanation of grinding.

The obvious callouts are here, but the main message is that hookup perpetuates white, hetero, gender stereotypes for both men and women. And, as a culture,
Sezín Koehler
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: culture
Fascinating book. Full review to come over at HuffPost.
Petty Lisbon
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: get-in-formation
This was a great book. Lisa Wade covered a lot of different topics, including who's not a part of the hook up culture, what their social lives are like, and what like is like for students after they leave college. She speaks about how hook up culture is still aimed at men and how it can be improved for women. Although I was a commuter, I enjoyed learning about the secret world of campus after dark and learning about what I missed. ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Fascinating and eye-opening! Completely make sense as to why my generation has a skewed view on dating. Like the documentary, "The Hunting Ground," everyone needs to read this book! ...more
Bastard Travel
Aug 03, 2017 rated it liked it
A look at the joyless, social-climbing sex prevalent on college campuses. It opens with solid science, then remembers it's a sociology book, takes the for-credit class assignments of 100 students from 2 universities, and uses them to conjecture up some sweeping, apocalyptic generalizations about the death of romance.

You know that illusory superiority phenomenon? How 93% of the US population rated themselves as "above average" drivers? Welp, turns out we overwhelmingly apply the exact opposite to
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Probably more like 3.5 stars. The author did a good job of describing the culture on campus rather than just focusing on what is happening, which I thought was a good approach. I especially liked the early chapters that discussed the historical background leading up to the current situation. Anyone who says college students are entitled and bratty today should read these chapters! The UVA riot over students being told that they can't have their muskets on campus that required a response from a m ...more
Andrea Rufo (Ann)
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Sometimes I bemoan getting old- when I see the rather large number of gray hairs taking over my head, or the depressing deterioration of my eyes, or even having to scroll down so very very far to get to my birthdate for online forms. Then I think about what it is like for young people today, especially as it comes to social media and school and I think, thank fucking god I was too old for that shit.

I'm not saying there wasn't hookups and casual sex in my college years - they have always been th
Michelle Boyer-Kelly
Note: I received this this book in a GoodReads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This book revolves around a great topic, and there is surely a lot to discuss when it comes to sex culture on college campuses. While I agree with other reviews below that there are actually a lot of these types of books, and this is not the first, that doesn't mean that this book is not worth reading.

However, I'd call it average scholarship. I have two significant problems with the text itself that I cont
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
An extremely interesting, well-researched, engaging book on what the sexual culture is like on US college campuses right now. It made me so happy to have long since passed those years of my life. If you're a college student, interact with any college students ever, or just want to feel happy that you're not a college student anymore, you should read this book. ...more
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Student Affairs professionals, high school and college students and their parents
I picked up this book after hearing the author interviewed on the Hidden Brain podcast. Based on that segment, I expected the book to be much more pessimistic, but instead I found it only to be starkly, sometimes brutally, realistic. Where Wade could have taken a "kids these days" approach, sounding an alarm for parents about the dangerous behavior of their children, she instead focused on making room for the voices of actual college students about the good, bad, and ugly of hookup culture. She ...more
Jen Johnston
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing I didn't know before, sadly ...more
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed reviews on this book. Not as nuanced as I felt was appropriate for a topic like this.
Jacob Moreno
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book about hookup culture on United States college campuses. My main problems are mostly with the second chapter when she tries to act as a historian.
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 🌟s. I had issue with some of the language and descriptors the author used and I didn’t find it inclusive. It read more like a long grad school essay than a book.
Jenni V.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I didn't learn anything new. Hookups themselves don't bother me but the cavalier attitude about women, or when people feel they have to act drunk to be able to participate, is troubling. I believe the book's research but with everything based on individual accounts and no ideas of changes given (other than the unhelpful "If we want to fix hookup culture, we have to fix American culture" on the last page), I don't see why the book was written.

I understand changing the names but I didn't understan
John H
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, mpl
This is a scholarly look at the world of “hookup culture” in American colleges and universities. “Hookup” is the phrase du jour for “casual sex”. The author is a professor who gathered much of the data for this book from surveys completed by her students in a sociology class. The main premise is that the hookup itself is not necessarily problematic, but the culture surrounding the hookup is.

This book is well-written, and I feel that the author did a good job of presenting a broad view of this su
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Working on a college campus made this book feel relevant even though my own college days are long gone. I appreciated the deep/broad research that underpins the book's narrative and the many personal stories from students themselves. I also enjoyed the historical context of dating culture from days of yore. No hand-wringing here-- more of an effort to describe and understand how college students are relating to each other and to sex, plus an analysis of how all of this fits into the broader cult ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: JK
Easy to read, interesting topic, claims were generally verified by friends of mine of the appropriate age.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it

From this book we learn:

1. Relationships are not practical for those with career plans, especially women, therefore many women actually want to avoid them.
2. Little physical connection with hookups. The idea being—it can only be for one time or there’s a risk it will look like it wants to be a relationship.
3. No need for actual intercourse. Hookups are defined as a range of sexual contacts, intercourse being but one of them. In fact, in this new era, with the attitude towards inter
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This carefully researched book about student "hooking up" on college campuses around this country is timely and sobering. Many students engage in "hooking up" an awful term for what should be a beautiful, private, and endearing experience. Such spontaneous sexual activity with no commitment and real love certainly has the roots of multiple problems. Lisa Wade researched the problem rather thoroughly and recorded the comments of many students. She has some good advice for the reader although her ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sunnyvale
This book wins the superlative for being the most readable sociology book that exists to share an individual's research. I could say it three more times—ermegerd this book is so readable! And engaging! Of course, the subject matter was also super relevant, and I appreciate that component. I've been wanting to read this for some time now, which was confirmed by a sneak peak of listening to a bit of the audiobook that my housemate was listening to. I find that an insider-outsider's non-judgmental ...more
Neal Alexander
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Why do you think it’s called ‘scoring’?” asks a student. Indeed, status-seeking seems the best way to understand the campus ‘hookup culture’, as described here, which is based on parties whose overt aim is to establish sexual partnerships, often with a designated ‘make-out room’. The morning after, the convention is to emphasize to your peers how little you cared, and hence assert status relative to your hookup partner. Should your peers not think your partner merited a hookup in the first plac ...more
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: High school graduates, college students
Fascinating, insightful, scientific, and sensitive, American Hookup takes a close look at the culture of casual sex on college campuses. There's no clear agenda here--Wade records what she sees and is told faithfully without much judgment or commentary, seemingly more interested in observing culture than in trying to influence it. I can't help thinking, though, that simply examining and questioning the prevalent culture is a revolutionary act in some ways.

I was disappointed to see a lot of clai
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great book. I’m not a college student or a parent, or any kind of campus employee – you wouldn’t think the topic would have relevance for me! But I read it just for fun, and it turns out to be so relatable no matter what your age or situation. It absolutely made me see things differently as I went about my life at work, bars, or any social situation. I also prefer to read for entertainment rather than education – you have to sneak in the education part – and this book does a great job of ...more
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