Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both

Overview

An eye-opening examination of the hookup culture, seen through the personal experiences of high-school- and college-age women who confront the hard lessons of dating, love, and sex.

We're living in an increasingly sexualized world, and it's the young—particularly young women—who must deal with the consequences. Kids are having more sexual contact than ever, and at an earlier age. They call it "hooking up." But what is "hooking up"? According to Laura Sessions Stepp, a reporter ...

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Overview

An eye-opening examination of the hookup culture, seen through the personal experiences of high-school- and college-age women who confront the hard lessons of dating, love, and sex.

We're living in an increasingly sexualized world, and it's the young—particularly young women—who must deal with the consequences. Kids are having more sexual contact than ever, and at an earlier age. They call it "hooking up." But what is "hooking up"? According to Laura Sessions Stepp, a reporter at the Washington Post, hooking up eludes a neat definition. It can be anything from an innocent kiss to sexual intercourse.

In Unhooked, Stepp follows three groups of young women (one in high school, one each at Duke and George Washington Universities). She sat with them in class, socialized with them, listened to them talk, and came away with some disturbing insights, including that hooking up carries with it no obligation on either side. Relationships and romance are seen as messy and time-consuming, and love is postponed—or worse, seen as impossible. Some young women can handle this, but many can't, and they're being battered—physically and emotionally—by the new dating landscape. The result is a generation of young people stymied by relationships and unsure where to turn for help.

"The need to be connected intimately to others is as central to our well-being as food and shelter," Stepp writes in Unhooked. "In my view, if we don't get it right, we're probably not going to get anything else in life right."

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"Hooking up" has become a pervasive practice, but what exactly does it mean? According to Laura Sessions Stepp, a journalist who specializes in teen problems, it can denote anything from a few kisses to hot-and-heavy intercourse. The operative part of the definition is its detachability, the sense that sex relationships can be hooked and unhooked as easily as a bra. Of course, for decades our culture has encouraged high school and college age men to regard sex as a guilt-free field of dreams. But can girls really act like boys and get away with it? Stepp doesn't think so. She thinks that the movement from commitment to casual encounters comes with a high emotional price. Both lively and erudite, Unhooked offers a revealing look at hook-up culture and its aftermath.
From the Publisher
"The expert discussion is enhanced by Ellen Archer's no-nonsense reading.... I can't imagine a more skilled and appealing performance." —-AudioFile
Booklist
A must-read for young women grappling with important sexual decisions.
Kathy Dobie
Stepp is most thought-provoking when she considers the culture at large: All the females she interviews come from reasonably well-off families, we're told, and all are ambitious. "Hooking up enables a young woman to practice a piece of a relationship, the physical, while devoting most of her energy to staying on the honor roll . . . playing lacrosse . . . and applying to graduate programs in engineering."
— The Washington Post
Library Journal
Washington Post journalist Stepp covers teenagers, but even she was surprised after spending time with three adolescent girls in an effort to understand the new concept of hooking up. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400153992
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 1 MP3, 10 hrs. 30 min.
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Laura Sessions Stepp is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, currently at the Washington Post.

Ellen Archer is an acclaimed audiobook narrator and winner of a coveted Audie Award for For the Love of a Dog (available from Tantor).

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Table of Contents

Foreword     xiii
Introduction     1
Hooking Up: What It Means (Jamie's Story)     19
What It Looks Like, What It Feels Like     65
High School (Stories of Sienna, Anna and Mieka)     67
College (Nicole's Story)     111
How We Got There     149
Feminism (Shaida's Story)     151
Parents and the Greenhouse Effect (Cleo's Story)     180
The College Environment (Victoria's Story)     207
Hooking Up: Why It Matters (Alicia's Story)     235
A Letter to Mothers and Daughters     275
Afterword to the Paperback Edition     287
Acknowledgments     301
Notes     305
Index     311
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