Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012


Indiana University Press

Source Publication

Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion

Source ISSN



Hooking up—the practice of pursuing sexual activity without any expectation of a relationship—has become a fixture of the U.S. college experience, resulting in an identifiable hookup culture across the country that can and should benefit from a feminist analysis. Sociological research reveals that this practice appeals to college students by ostensibly providing greater independence than traditional relationships. An outside analysis of these claims, however, demonstrates that the heterosexual hookup culture operates in a decidedly sexist fashion. In fact, the four common features of this culture: lack of commitment, ambiguous language, alcohol use, and social pressure to conform, all undermine the freedom, equality, and safety of women on campus. An intentionally feminist perspective is in a unique position to highlight and critique these faults and the additional resources of feminist theology and ethics have the potential to help change this sexism in practice.


Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Fall 2012): 27-48. Stable URL.© 2012 Indiana University Press. Used with permission.

Conor Kelly was affiliated with Boston College at the time of publication. This article was later published as a contribution to the book Readings in Moral Philosophy, W. W. Norton 2018.

Kelly_14754acc.docx (176 kB)
ADA Accessible Version