Photo by Hannah Bazarian

Guys and girls use the phrase “hooking up” all the time, but what does it actually mean? Whether just making out or having sex with someone that you do not intend to fall for, “hooking up” is the go-to phrase. But to standardize it, let’s say that it means having sex outside of a committed relationship.

You go to a party and see a guy or girl that you have been eyeing for a while, and then, before you know it, you’re dancing, which leads to kissing. At this point, it’s just making out, but if you two really hit it off, then it’s likely that sex will happen. Once you’re in the bedroom, that’s when the hooking up begins.

Having sex with a random person is not that uncommon on a college campus — it actually happens more often than many students expect. But the element of shame in hooking up — hence the next morning’s “walk of shame” — may deter students from taking part in the hook up scene.

Hooking up is not shameful at all, especially when you’re using safety precautions like birth control or condoms. Guys supposedly hook up all the time and then walk around like they have accomplished something major, so why can’t girls?

Countless movies have been made about this phenomenon, like “No Strings Attached” and “Friends with Benefits.” Both deal with the concept of hooking up without commitment, and conflict arises when a greater connection is reached between the two people.

Like in the movies, the problem with hooking up arises when you start falling for the person that you’re having sex with. Every time you see him or her your stomach gets that weird feeling, and you can’t help but smile. Having sex can often lead to the development of deeper feelings for your hook up. Hopefully these feeling will be reciprocated, but if you’ve established that you’re just hooking up, the expectation of a relationship might not be there.

If this person stays with you after you hook up, rubbing your back until you fall asleep, it’s possible that he or she has developed feelings for you. These sweet gestures will win you over, and put a smile on your face. Granted, it can be hard to tell if the feelings are mutual or sincere, so make sure you and your hook up buddy are on the same page before you get your hopes up about a relationship.

Once you start desiring this person consistently and spending more time with him or her, you could be on your way out of the hooking-up phase. At this point it’s likely that you’ve developed a deeper connection than a hook up, but even at this point they aren’t your partner yet.

These uncommitted relationships are supposed to exist for pure pleasure, but it’s really hard to separate one’s feelings from pleasure, because they occasionally go together.

Your hook-up might blurt out, “I care about you,” without realizing how much he or she actually cares for you. However, feelings are always at risk. When you care about a person, his or her feelings are in your best interest, which means that you are going to make sure that the person does not get hurt. But it’s also important to think about yourself and make sure that you do not get hurt either.

Hooking up can be great because of the pleasure that it can bring you, but also because of the potential friendship that you can develop, which will make you feel fulfilled. The sex is a major plus, too.

I honestly believe that hook ups are great because they involve two people mutually pleasing each other. And there’s always the possibility that it could lead to something more down the road — depending if that’s what you want.

What I am trying to say with this is that hooking up could have two outcomes: either immense pleasure which will eventually lead to a strong relationship, or disappointment when he tells you that he really doesn’t want one.

Let’s hope that, like in “No Strings Attached,” we reach the relationship option first.

Maria is a member of the class of 2015.

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