“Hooking up” plays a significant role in our lives. It allows us to express our love for another person, it brings us pleasure, and without it, babies wouldn’t be born. But what makes us decide to hook up? Let’s focus on women for now. Why might it be important to learn of the factors influencing a woman’s decision to hook up? First, knowing why women want to hook up helps men to better satisfy women’s needs. Second, becoming aware of the reasons behind a woman’s decision to hook up assists researchers and medical professionals in addressing problems that women experience in the bedroom. Third, finding out why women decide to hook up satisfies our endless curiosity about our sexuality.
So how would we go about learning why women decide to hook up? Luckily, researchers have asked women this very same question. A study was conducted in the last decade to discover what drives women to hook up. Women were asked to answer an extensive questionnaire containing hundreds of possible reasons for hooking up. Below are some of the most popular reasons why women decide to hook up. How many of these reasons would you have predicted?
20. To increase the emotional bond with their partner
It’s a well-known stereotype that women hook up for emotional reasons and that men hook up for physical reasons. It isn’t surprising to find out that women view hooking up as an attempt to bond emotionally with their romantic partner. It’s not a bad strategy, in fact. During a hookup, a hormone called oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is also known as the “love hormone,” because it increases the bond between a couple by activating reward centres in the brain. Even when intimacy is fading between a couple, a healthy dose of oxytocin can restore the strength of an emotional bond.
19. It just happened
Sometimes, there isn’t a particular reason driving a woman to hook up, as evidenced by the number of women who indicated “it just happened” as a reason for doing the nasty. They may not have been planning on hooking up, or they may not even have wanted to hook up, but somehow it happened anyway. How might hooking up “just happen”? There’s the extreme example of a woman waking up to find her husband trying to hook up with her. And then there’s the all-too-frequent example of a woman who drinks too much and makes a poor decision that she couldn’t quite remember in the morning. The takeaway here is that women don’t always have a flow chart for when to hook up.
18. To become one with another person
Often, women want to merge with their romantic partners, both physically and emotionally. They want to feel for a moment as if the two of them are one person, sharing the same thoughts and experiences. A well-timed hookup can accomplish this. Not only do two bodies become one during a hookup, but emotional and physiological responses occur in sync. It turns out that couples can sync their heart and breathing rates, although women more often than men are the ones to adjust their emotional and physiological responses to match their partner. It looks like two people can become one after all.
17. It seems like the natural next step in their relationship
Every woman has an ideal number of dates that she has to go on with a man before she’ll even consider hooking up with him. Once that magic number is reached, women start thinking seriously about the appropriate time to hook up. When it’s the right time, all systems are a go. If enough time has passed in a relationship, then hooking up becomes a looming event. Women will sometimes decide to hook up simply because it seems like the next step to take in their relationship. Hopefully, there’ll be an additional reason, like feelings of passion or intimacy, but they’re not always necessary to tip the scales of resolve.
16. In response to a caress
Women’s responses to the questionnaire indicates that they might decide to hook up after someone has caressed them. Caresses can spark desire in a woman, especially those that are strategically placed. Furthermore, caresses convey protection, support, love, and intimacy, all feelings that are conducive to hooking up. Certain touches can also trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone which makes a woman feel bonded to a man. The caress is a lovemaking weapon to be used wisely. How many men have weakened a woman’s resolve with a simple caress? The key is to be sincere; otherwise, women might come to associate caresses with foul play.
15. They feel sexy
No woman wants to hook up when she feels dirty, sweaty, or otherwise undesirable, which is why it’s important to make her feel sexy if you want to put her in the mood for a lovemaking session. Women have revealed that being made to feel sexy can influence them to decide to hook up. Feeling sexy is empowering; it grants a woman confidence in the bedroom. A woman who feels sexy will be more willing to make her romantic partner feel sexy in return. If you’re lucky, she’ll want to prove to you how sexy she is by taking your relationship to the next level.
14. They feel really desired
Making a woman feel desired has a similar effect to making her feel sexy. When someone desires us, we usually desire them back. It’s called reciprocal liking; we tend to like those who like us. Psychological experiments have demonstrated that people will express a liking for total strangers after receiving feedback that a stranger likes them. Imagine how we might react if we learnt that someone desired us! It might go something like this: a woman who feels desired might be more inclined to hook up with the person who desires her. Look at it as a way of reciprocating that desire.
13. The setting is romantic
Women place much importance on their surroundings when deciding whether or not to hook up. As just about every romantic comedy, Harlequin romance novel, and soap opera suggests, a romantic setting can really set the mood for romance. A beach at sunset is romantic, while the backseat of a car is not. Think about it: would you be thinking about hooking up if you were in the middle of a dingy bathroom in a shady nightclub? If you’re a woman, then the answer is most likely a no. You know what I’d be thinking about in a setting like that? Getting HIV. A candlelit dinner followed by some dancing is the way to go here.
12. They’re turned on by someone’s physical appearance
Seriously, what woman wouldn’t want to hook up with a man who looks like Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth? If I saw Josh Hartnett walking down the street, I just might have to reconsider my aversion to dingy nightclub bathrooms. Physical appearance plays a greater role in a woman’s decision to hook up than you might realize. Evolutionary psychologists can explain this phenomenon: women mate with physically attractive men because attractiveness signals a strong immune system. It’s called the good genes hypothesis; women want to secure good genes for their children. And you thought that men were the only ones who hooked up with someone based on their looks.
11. To feel connected to someone
Women seek connection in their relationships, including those that involve hooking up. A simple hookup is rarely simple to a woman. Women, the emotional sex, want to feel linked to their romantic partners in some way, whether it be through a shared emotional response or through the satisfaction of a mutual desire. Hooking up can accomplish this goal for women. As we already know, it creates a bond between two people through the release of oxytocin. Hooking up can also produce mutual feelings of happiness through the release of endorphins. Women know that they can turn to hookups to feel connected to someone on a physical and emotional level.
10. To experience excitement and adventure
Many women have described hooking up as being exciting and adventurous. They see a hook up as a way to bring new life to their humdrum existence. That’s how many an affair starts (just watch The Affair). Sensation-seeking women in particular find hookups attractive for the thrill that they bring. These women are more likely to hook up with total strangers, or to hook up in conspicuous places that present the opportunity to get caught. The riskier the hookup, the more stimulating it is to sensation-seekers. Women who aren’t as prone to risk might consider a hookup to be a fun way to spice things up in their lives, or to reduce the boredom that they feel.
9. To experience an orgasm
The Big-O is a major reason why women decide to hook up. Sure, women can experience an orgasm all on their own, but it’s more fun with a partner. Orgasms provide women with a number of positive experiences. First, women’s brains switch off during orgasm, giving them a much-needed reprieve from their constant stream of thoughts. Second, orgasms produce pleasurable feelings, like happiness and ecstasy. Third, orgasms contribute to a woman’s health by triggering the release of oxytocin. Oxytocin plays a role in reducing stress levels, regulating appetite, facilitating new learning, and fighting off bacteria. Who could say no to that?
8. To please their romantic partner
Women have indicated that a desire to please their romantic partner can contribute to their decision to hook up. We all want to make our romantic partners happy. It’s a natural impulse, and it can bring us joy. As long as women don’t feel pressured to do so, hooking up with their romantic partner to please them can bring women satisfaction of their own. We’re all familiar with the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive.” It’s the principle behind donating to charity and participating in volunteer work. Moreover, a woman who makes a sacrifice to please her romantic partner can expect to be pleased in return.
7. They’re in the “heat of the moment”
Similar to “It just happened,” many women claim to have decided to hook up because they were in the “heat of the moment.” Desire took over and hooking up ensued. We’re bombarded with images of women being swept up in a whirlwind romance, finding themselves in bed with a man they just met, not knowing how long their romance will last. Women are persuaded to follow an impulse rather than let rational thought intervene. The “heat of the moment” symbolizes a rush of hormones, a tempest of desire requiring herculean levels of self-control to curb. The question is: do we want to curb it?
6. They realized they’re in love
Many women wait until they’re in love to hook up with someone. Call it old-fashioned, but waiting for love does have its advantages. Women who only hook up when they’re in love are likely to have fewer sexual partners than women who don’t. That means that they’ll be less likely to contract an STD, for one thing. Women who wait for love are also less likely to regret the hook up; it’s not something that they would’ve rushed into. Hooking up doesn’t require love to be enjoyable, but feelings of affection can certainly enhance the experience for both parties.
5. It’s fun
Women do a lot of things because they’re fun. Shopping for shoes is fun. So is watching The Real Housewives on Bravo. Hooking up can be just as fun as spending the day on a yacht or visiting Europe. If you want a double dose of fun, then try hooking up on a yacht or while visiting Europe! Women’s reasons for hooking up aren’t always as serious as being in love or wanting to connect on an emotional level with someone. Sometimes, girls just want to have fun, you know? Hookups definitely do the trick, especially when you’re hooking up with someone who wants to have as much of a good time as you do.
4. To express their love for their romantic partner
There’s a reason that hooking up is often called lovemaking. For most of us, love is associated with hooking up. When we love someone, we want to show them in the most physical, intimate way how deep our love for them is. It should come as no surprise that women cite a desire to express their love as one of the most influential reasons for deciding to hook up. Couples are often brought closer together after they’ve consummated their love for each other. Many a baby was conceived during a bout of lovemaking. There’s no downside to showing your affection for someone, so go forth and hook up in the name of love.
3. It feels good
Women do many things because they feel good. Going to the spa feels good. Getting a massage feels good. Think of hooking up as a special kind of massage. Why does hooking up make us feel so good? One answer is that it releases endorphins, which make us feel happy. The positive effect that endorphins have on us is experienced as a reward by our brains, and conditions us to pursue that reward. Hooking up is much like a drug in this way; we can become addicted to it if we’re not careful. Think of Tiger Woods, David Duchovny, and all of the other famous sex addicts out there.
2. To experience the physical pleasure
Women are stereotypically pegged as the emotional sex; the emotional aspect of hooking up is supposed to be the most important one to us. While emotional reasons for hooking up are very important to women, they aren’t the most important reasons. It turns out that women have more in common with men when it comes to hooking up than we might want to admit. Women value physical pleasure just as much as men do. They rated physical pleasure as highly as men when answering the questionnaire. The reason for this high rating is likely related to the rewarding nature of hooking up. It’s just too good to quit.
1. They’re attracted to the person
Where would hooking up be without attraction? Nowhere, it seems, seeing as feelings of attraction are the number one reason why women decide to hook up. Ultimately, it’s desire that pushes a woman to engage in a hookup, and not an emotional response. Women can aim to connect with a romantic partner as much as they want, but without attraction, a hookup is a no-go. Attraction produces the arousal necessary to initiate a hookup. It doesn’t have to be physically based, but there has to be some sort of attraction between two people for a hookup to occur. Who would’ve guessed?
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