Hook-up culture: a qualitative analysis of sexual scripts within gender and religious identidies

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Sarah Dursteler, Weber State University


The culture of sex outside intimate relationships including dating scripts and sexual scripts has shifted to one of more ambiguity. Multiple changes in sexual scripts have occurred in the last 50 years with the diversification of types of relationships in which sex occurs, including, a greater acceptance of sex outside of relationships (Gagnon & Simon, 1987). This study is in response to the call for more research on how social identities influence perceptions of sexual interaction (Backstrom, Armstrong, and Puentes, 2012). The purpose of this study is to examine hook-up culture outside of traditional intimate relationships. This study explores the extent of the shift from traditional dating scripts to a culture of hooking up as perceived by males and females that identify with the predominant Latter-Day Saint (LDS) religious culture. Using the tenants of social exchange and scripting theories this study examined the attitudes of males and females. Transcripts from four same gender and religion focus groups and 100 open-ended survey responses provided data for analysis. The constant comparative method (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) provided the means by which to analyze data within emergent categories. One open-ended response question was reviewed to assess content theme analysis. The constant comparative method indicated distinct contrast of perceptions of sexual intimacy between males and females. Findings suggest that there are distinct differences between male and female and LDS and non-LDS attitudes about and perceptions of hook-up culture. These results are consistent with previous research indicating that hooking-up can be a functional strategy used to shift focus from traditional intimate relationships to more academic and professional goals.