Explaining Gender Differences in Hookup Regret

Jeremy E. Uecker, Baylor University
Brandon Martinez, Baylor University

Researchers have noted gender differences in regret over hookups. Women tend to regret hookups more often than men do, and this regret is linked to negative emotional health outcomes. In this paper, we examine four mechanisms that may explain the gender difference in hookup regret: (1) interest in the hookup and a romantic relationship prior to hooking up, (2) initiation of the sexual behavior and sexual agency within the hookup, (3) having an orgasm within the hookup, and (4) inequality in orgasm within the hookup. Results from the Online College Social Life Survey (N=13,949) provide evidence that gender difference in hookup regret is largely a function of gender differences in sexual initiation, sexual agency, and having orgasms. Women are more likely to regret hookups because they are less in control of the sexual activity in hookups and are less satisfied by the activity that takes place.

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Presented in Session 203: Romantic Relationships in Adolescence and Young Adulthood