February 12, 2009 | NeW Staff

The NeW Chapter at UVA Law School is reading Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laura Sessions Stepp this semester.  Unhooked tells the stories of several young women and their relationship experiences.  Stepp observes the cultural shift away from dating towards hooking up and analyzes the long-range consequences of this on women. We had a good discussion about the book in our meeting this week.  This is my first time reading the book and I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the gems within it.

Here is one such gem from pages 5 and 6 of the paperback version,

“The crucial thing to remember in all of this is that hooking up, in the minds of this generation, carries no commitment. Partners hook up with the understanding that however far they go sexually, neither should become romantically involved in any serious way. Hooking up’s defining characteristic is the ability to unhook from a partner at any time, just as they might delete an old song on their iPod or an out-of-date ‘away’ message on their computer. Maybe they tire of their partner, or find someone who is ‘hotter’ or, for some other reason, more to their liking. Maybe they get burned badly in a relationship, or find themselves swamped with term papers and final exams. The freedom to unhook from someone—ostensibly without repercussions—gives them maximum flexibility. Although I use both phrases, this is not a hookup culture so much as an unhooked culture. It is a way of thinking about relationships, period.”

Stepp does a nice job of discussing how the hookup culture affects our other relationships.

Here is a link to her book website.

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