But this generation is navigating adolescence with a new digital tool kit — Facebook, Twitter — that has the unintended side effect of subtracting important social cues, according to Steiner-Adair. One boy said, "I don't get it — why would a woman get turned on by being choked?
" A girl asked her if it was normal to have anal sex.
They describe it as "goofing around, flirting," said Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and school consultant who interviewed 1,000 students nationwide for her new book, "The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age." How the hookup culture affects young people has long been debated and lamented, in books and blogs, among parents and teachers.
A general consensus is that it harms girls, although some have argued that it empowers them.
Steven Rhoads, a professor who teaches a class on sex differences at the University of Virginia, said he analyzed decades worth of research on sexuality and biology for his book "Taking Sex Differences Seriously" to conclude that men and women are "hardwired" differently.
Hookups have deeper psychological costs for women, he said, noting that anecdotes from his students back up the research: Female students often tell him they are hurt by casual sex in a way that male students are not.
"They were just trying to be funny." Steiner-Adair asked why the exchange had turned so nasty and the boy said, "It didn't turn nasty.