Trending News: Intimacy comes in many forms
Do you like hooking up? If so, do you prefer this type of encounter because the “no strings attached” [NSA] dynamic allows you to get certain needs met?
If so, you wouldn’t be alone. While we can’t be sure, it is estimated that somewhere between 40-60% of people have experienced a casual hookup over the course of their lifetime. Those numbers (including frequency) are higher for college-age folks (18-25).
So, what is going on here? Is it that a bunch of folks just want to be sexually physical or is more complicated? Well, a new study appearing in the Journal of Relationships Research suggests part of the NSA pull relates to intimacy.
Yes, you read that right. Some people get their intimacy needs met through casual encounters. At first glance, this may seem odd because hookups typically don’t lend themselves to romance.
But when you expand your definition of intimacy to one that allows for closeness, it’s not hard to understand the intrinsic motivations.
So, here is what happened with the study. Using an Internet- based questionnaire, investigators surveyed 639 college students to assess affectionate behaviors, such as cuddling, foreplay, eye-gazing (you get the drift) across two types of relationships.
Related: What if you want to date a hookup?
One type was the traditional arrangement (committed) and the other type, casual (non-committed). Researchers observed that while affectionate behaviors were desired more in traditional situations, many of the participants engaged in affectionate behaviors during – for lack of a better term – hookups.
Ann Merriwether, the study designer who is a developmental psychologist and lecturer at Binghamton University, said NSA encounters are often misread by society today.
“We have a stereotype that casual sex (hookups) are just about meaningless sex, but this research shows this is not necessarily true,” said Merriwether.
“It shows intimacy is important and desired by many people, especially those who prefer hookups to more traditional relationships,” she adds.
Guy Counseling spoke to Dr. Tyler Fortman about the study. He’s a clinical psychologist in Chicago (and contributor to this blog) about the findings.
“Intimacy can come in many forms, including casual [sexual] encounters with others. It’s not always about a person’s libido or a carnal need. Sometimes, people want to experience closeness with another without having to be committed to them.”
So, tell us. Do you engage in casual hookups? If so, is it because you want to have a physical need met or is it more emotionally based? Perhaps a combination of both?