Bachelor of Arts
Hookup culture, COVID-19, Sex, Sexuality, Queer, Pods, Disability, Status, Qualitative
My thesis is about the role that hookup culture has had at Oberlin College in forming student connections and social networks on campus before COVID, and how that has changed after COVID, and what the social importance of hooking up is, has been, and will be. People put more thought and strategy into their hookups than the literature seems to suggest. It is important to understand that while hooking up is often discussed as if its moral panic that’s out of control, there is a reason and a function that it serves where it can be enjoyable and helpful. Hookups are a way in which to increase one’s own social status. For a hookup to be successful there needs to be an alignment of sexual projects, a concept that refers to someone’s personal goal and what they hope to learn about themselves or gain from a sexual encounter. Lastly, students involve their friends in hookups through ritual retelling, but not in their long-term relationships--you can tell how serious someone is about someone by how much they’re willing to talk about their sex life. After COVID, the frequency of new partners decreased, the alignment of sexual projects increased, and the details that students shared with their friends also decreased. These changes mean that hookups are not a primary way in which 3rd and 4th-year students have been exchanging status this year and that people have been spending more time with long-term relationships.
Aaron, Sophie M., "Love in the Time of Corona: Changes to Oberlin Hookup Culture During the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2021). Honors Papers. 815.