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Q: What is hooking up and why did you choose to write about it?

A: Hooking up is a term young people use for sexual interaction that is deliberately vague and can mean anything from kissing to intercourse. I wrote about it because I watched hooking up change from something a few young people did to a cultural shift in the way this generation thinks about relationships.

Q: Why did you choose to focus on young women as opposed to young men?

A: This phenomenon would not have taken hold if it weren’t for girls buying into it. Girls and women have traditionally been the gender that said “No” to sex. You can argue whether it was right or wrong that they had do so, but that was the role they played.

Today young women say, "We deserve to have as much fun with our sexuality as guys do. We should be able to pursue guys like they pursue us."

I also chose to focus on girls because they have the most to lose, physically and emotionally. I have a son in this age group, so initially I wanted to write about young men as well, in order to learn more about him, but I ultimately decided that it would dilute the message. If we’re going to change things it’s going to have to be the women who do the changing. It’s not fair, but it’s the truth.

Q: What surprised you most as you began putting this book together?

A: Going into this I thought there would be pockets of girls who hooked up, but that they would be a significant minority. What I found was girls hooking up who don’t necessarily want to hook up but feel they have to because it’s the only available way to get to know guys. You go to a bar, meet a cute guy, hook up and then you decide whether you like him. In my day, at least you thought you liked the guy before you hooked up with him.

Q: What do you think will surprise readers most?

A: I think readers will be surprised by the same thing. They’ll challenge it. They’ll think, “It’s not my daughter who’s doing this,” or “It’s the lower-income young women who’re doing this” or “It’s the white girls (or black girls, or Asian girls, or Hispanic girls) who’re doing this” depending on their own ethnicity. Guess what? It’s all of them. Even those who don’t hook up are affected by the hookup culture. One of the last young women I write about in my book is a poised, smart, gorgeous girl who didn’t go out with a guy her entire freshman year at Duke because she was afraid she’d be put in a situation where she’d have to hook up, and she didn’t want to do that.

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