I am delighted to say that I am back from vacation, renewed and refreshed, and ready to dive back in to the daily fray.
One of the places I went on vacation was a Unitarian Universalist family church camp. This is a place I have gone for many years, and I saw many old friends while I was there. One of the topics of conversation over the week was how many adolescents and adults hook-up while they are there. (A hook-up can generally be described as having a romantic and/or sexual attraction to someone and acting on it for part or the duration of the week. It does not always mean sexual intercourse, but does imply some sexual activity.) The intensity of being away from home, with many new people, most of whom have similar world views, all day and night for a week lends itself to strong connections. Some of those turn out to be romantic/sexual.
This is not a phenomenon that is restricted to Unitarian Universalist circles (although it is often quite prevalent in those places). Hook-ups happen anywhere adolescents (and sometimes adults) gather for a weekend to a week or more for just about any reason.
I think that hook-ups can be beneficial or harmful, depending on the situation and the teenagers involved. In general, it is important for teenagers to interact sexually/romantically with at least several peers in order to hone their skill at determining the kind of person they like to date – hooking-up can provide some good insights on this. This can include some experimentation with sexual identity. However, hook-ups can also provide for some serious heartaches and heartbreaks. Being able to see and accept the hook-up for what it is (generally a short-term, place-specific encounter) is hard for many young people – but they may not have thought to check-in with the individual of their desire to inquire about their short or long-term intentions.
Have any of you had experiences with hook-ups? How did they turn out? Do you think of your experiences as essentially helpful or essentially hurtful to your romantic and/or sexual development?