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"And the more likely that you're going to engage in it."Hooking up Holman and her colleagues queried 274 college students on how they defined the term "hookup" and how often they themselves hooked up.The term can include anything from making out to sexual intercourse, Holman said, but the most common meaning among the students she studied was nonrelationship sex that was spontaneous and alcohol-driven.Men were more likely than women to say they had a hookup, at 63 percent of men versus 45 percent of women.[10 Facts about the Teen Brain]But students' perceptions of hookups were out of line with the reality.For example, while about 45 percent of students said they'd never hooked up with anyone, only 3.7 percent believed that the "typical student" had never hooked up.Likewise, only 37 percent of people reported having two or more hookups, but 90 percent of students believed that at least two hookups were "typical" for their peers.

For a number of young adults, labels around sexuality don’t always correlate with their actions.

Experimenting is an important part of a lot of people’s development, she adds.

Walker believes that such rejection of labels is likely to increase, especially as Generation Z—less than half of whom say they identify as completely heterosexual—comes of age.

But chatter about hookups can increase acceptance of the encounters, said study researcher Amanda Holman, a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

That's troubling, Holman said, because hookups are often spontaneous and involve alcohol, making it less likely that students will protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy."The more that [students] talked to their peers about it, the more likely that they're going to be accepting of the risky behavior," Holman told Live Science.

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