Everyone is talking about “hook up culture” in 2018, in part because dating apps like Tinder make the process of sex with strangers easy, and more mainstream than ever. But, how hook ups impact men and women, and what people want from them, have sometimes been unclear.
In my capacity as a consultant, I almost always get messages from people confused after hook-ups. Women are shocked that guys never text them to see if they made it home, or don’t want to carry on a basic conversation a few days later.
Guys usually are baffled when women “catch feels” after a few dates, and ruin the no-strings attached experience. And, a new study bears this out, and sheds light on what men and women expect from hook-ups and the expectations couldn’t be more different.
In the study of of 348 college students, on average, men and women had very different “ideal outcomes” in mind after their most recent hook ups.
These results, albeit from a small sample (so more research is ultimately needed), don’t come as a shock to anyone familiar with basic male and female behavior, or to anyone familiar with evolutionary psychology.
In the study, 12.5% of men hoped some romantic involvement would come after a hook up. Only 3.1% wanted an actual committed relationship. However, for women, the numbers wanting romance were huge: 60.1% of women hoped a hook up would lead to romantic involvement, with 16.3% wanting a committed relationship.
So, clearly women engage in hook ups with some hope that it leads the guy to something more emotional and committed.
So what are most guys looking for after a hook up? No shock here: mostly more sex without commitment. 62.5% of guys simply wanted further sex, with a majority preferring more hook ups, but some wanting a “friends with benefits” scenario. Only 25.9% of women saw continual sexual involvement as the ideal scenario.
A nearly equal number of men and women (18.8% and 17.5%) wanted nothing more to come of it.
These results shed some light on why a recent study found differing attitudes on perception of one night stands: guys regret turning down one night stands, and women regret the ones they have had. Other analyses confirm that as well…women just aren’t fulfilled by casual sex.
Women likely see hook ups as leading to something more committed, and then become disappointed and regretful when they lead to either nothing, or just more sex. Guys obviously view them as leading to more uncommitted sex (sex without the emotional work), and thus regret not getting more.
Simply knowing these differences can help men and women successfully navigate the dating scene. And, while individual men and women may have different goals, on average, these results predict dating behavior.
So, if you’re going to have a hook-up tonight, just remember you and the person you’re with may have very different goals.