What Does it Really Mean to “Hook Up”?

Language and words convey meaning, whether intentional or not, and whether conscious, or not. At different times, certain phrases and expressions come into vogue, and if examined can reveal an unconscious cultural phenomenon which is being given expression through popular culture.

In recent years, I’ve witnessed the emergence of a new phrase expressing casual sexual encounters, which is to “hook up”. It seems like a harmless expression, however a closer examination reveals the deeper phenomenon which is driving it, which then appears less innocent.

I’m not passing any moralistic judgments about any given behaviour around relationships and sex, but rather commenting on the dynamics, and levels of health implied from different usage of the language surrounding it. There is certainly a time and place in life for a more exploratory approach to sex and relationships, where it can take many experiences to begin to understand oneself, and what a deeper nourishing relationship would include.

Looking at the particular phrase “hook up” from an orgonomic perspective, is very evocative of the ego concept of “hooks” in treatment, which keep snagging the therapeutic process while certain core issues are being worked through. A patient with a masochistic hook, for example, will periodically get triggered by their therapy to keep returning to a self-defeating or self-blaming mode, as a means to avoid coming to a full resolution of an issue that they may be on the verge of.

To transfer the understanding of this word back to sex and dating, to “hook up”, then, signifies a very superficial, ego-based form of relationship, where nothing about either party’s true essence is involved in the exchange, and there is no opportunity for self-realization or growth in the process. In medical terms, this would be called “suppression”, and actually impedes the possibility of growth and greater health.

This represents one simple example of the enriched realm of meaning which can be discerned by a patient’s overall style with their language, and how they describe their life and their problems inside the consult room.

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