NPR logo Unhooked



How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both

by Laura Sessions Stepp

Hardcover, 288 pages, Penguin Group USA, List Price: $24.95 |


Buy Featured Book

How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both
Laura Sessions Stepp

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Book Summary

We're living in an increasingly sexualized world, and the young—particularly young women—must deal with the consequences. Kids are having more sexual contact than ever, and at an earlier age. They call it "hooking up"—but, according to journalist Stepp, even those who use the term are vague about its meaning—anything from an innocent kiss to sexual intercourse. Stepp followed three groups of young women (one in high school, two in college), sat with them in class, socialized with them, listened to them talk, and came away with some disturbing insights, including that hooking up carries with it no obligations. Relationships and romance are seen as messy and time-consuming, and love is postponed—or worse, seen as impossible. Some young women can handle this, but many can't, and the result is a generation of young people stymied by relationships and unsure where to turn for help.—From publisher description.Evaluates the sexual experiences of three groups of young women who have responded to America's increasingly sexualized culture by engaging in obligation-free intimate relationships rather than navigating the turbulent new dating landscape.

NPR stories about Unhooked

'Unhooked' Author Warns Against 'Hooking Up'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript