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High School Hookups Can Lead to Unexpected Hurt and Confusion

This article is part of our series on The Hookup Culture. Read more articles in the series by following the links at the end of this article.

Gone are the days with drive-in movies and guys asking, “Will you be my girlfriend?”

Now, the hookup has seemingly integrated itself into high school and teen culture, and though it sometimes ends in the two people dating, more often than not, it’s a one and done deal with no strings attached.

Communication is essential for navigating the teen hookup generation. But even with a conversation, situations can become very awkward and complicated. For example, first there is confusion about exactly what hooking up is. It can mean casual sex to one partner and making out to the other. Then, there is the question of whether it is a one-time hook up (typical) or something that can turn into an intimate relationship (unusual but not unheard of).

Not all teen hookups are planned. In fact, most of them are usually at a party where alcohol can get the best of two people, ending in a drunken make-out session.

Regardless of whether they’re planned or spontaneous, the aftermath of hookups can be problematic.

Does the guy call the girl? Does the girl call the guy? Do they feel obligated to talk to each other the next day?

One time, I hooked up with a close friend at a party, and when I texted her the next day, she acted very strange. She went on to tell me how she wasn’t interested in a relationship; our hookup was a one-time thing.

I told her I understood. But, even after that conversation, the hookup did make things awkward between us.

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The biggest risk is that emotions can come into play in these sorts of encounters. Sometimes, one person can like the other afterwards, even if they had agreed on a one-time thing. I know a teen who developed a crush after hooking up with a girl, even though she wasn’t interested. Feelings, wanted or unwanted, develop, and people can get hurt. I’ve seen it happen.


Read more articles in our series on The Hookup Culture:

The Hookup Culture—Expert View: How to Talk to Your Teenager
The Hookup Culture—Teen View: I Wish I Had Waited
The Hookup Culture—Expert View: Understanding Teen Attitudes Toward Sex
The Hookup Culture—Parent View: I Won’t Give Up Without a Fight