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How many people does the average person hook up with?

Hooking up and having casual relationships is becoming increasingly common among young adults and adults of all ages. With dating apps and websites making it easier to find potential partners, many people are curious about how many hookups and casual partners the average person has these days.

Defining “Hookups”

First, it’s important to define what counts as a “hookup.” A hookup typically refers to a casual sexual encounter between two people who are not in a committed romantic relationship. This could range from kissing to having sex. The key factor that distinguishes a hookup from a romantic relationship is that there is no expectation of an ongoing commitment or relationship. Hookups are meant to be casual and often temporary in nature.

How Common are Hookups?

Hookups have become increasingly common over recent decades, especially among young adults like college students. Various surveys have tried to gauge how prevalent hookup culture really is. According to one study published in 2018, around 40% of heterosexual college students reported having at least one hookup in the past year. Meanwhile, 65% said they had been on more than two dates with the same person.

So while long-term dating relationships are still common, hookups are clearly widespread as well. Other estimates suggest that around 80% of college students have experienced some type of hookup.

Number of Hookup Partners

Determining the average number of hookup partners people have can be challenging. One study polling over 1,000 people aged 18-35 who used a dating site or app found:

  • 29% said they had 1-2 hookup partners in the past year
  • 27% said they had 3-4 hookup partners
  • 11% said they had 5-6 hookup partners
  • 17% said they had 7-9 hookup partners
  • 16% said they had 10 or more hookup partners

Based on this poll, here is a summary of the average number of hookup partners in the past year:

Number of Partners Percentage
1-2 29%
3-4 27%
5-9 28%
10+ 16%

As the table shows, most people had 1-4 hookup partners, while significant minorities had higher numbers of 5 or more partners. Overall, the average came out to roughly 4 hookup partners in the past year for this demographic.

How Many Lifetime Partners?

Looking beyond just a one year period, the average number of hookup partners increases over a lifetime for most people. According to a survey published in The Journal of Sex Research:

  • The median number of lifetime sexual partners for men aged 30-44 was 6.1
  • For women aged 30-44, the median number was 4.2

However, there was a large range in the actual responses. Here is a table summarizing the full results:

Gender 25th Percentile Median 75th Percentile
Men 3 6.1 14
Women 2 4.2 8

As the table demonstrates, the top 25% most sexually active men reported 14 or more partners, while the top 25% of women reported 8 or more. But the median or “average” numbers were in the 4-6 range.

How Age Impacts Partners

Younger people tend to have fewer lifetime sexual partners on average. This number then increases with age. According to a survey by Superdrug Online Doctor:

  • People aged 18-24 reported an average of 2-3 partners
  • Those aged 25-34 reported an average of 4-7 partners
  • For ages 35-44 the average was 7-13 partners
  • People aged 45-54 reported an average of 10-20 partners

Again, there was significant variation among individuals but the general trend shows lifetime partners increasing steadily with age, before declining again at older ages past 55.

Gender Differences

In general, research consistently shows that men tend to report a higher number of sexual and hookup partners than women:

  • In one study, the average number of lifetime sexual partners was 7.2 for heterosexual men aged 30-44, compared to 4.5 partners for heterosexual women in the same age group.
  • Another study found the median number of partners for men aged 38-44 was double that of women the same age, 8 versus 4.
  • Among college students, 25% of men said they hoped to have over 15 partners in college compared to only 5% of women.

However, it’s worth noting that other studies show smaller differences between genders. Some researchers argue women may underreport partners due to social pressures, while men overreport to conform to masculine stereotypes.

Does Location Matter?

The region where someone lives can impact attitudes and behaviors around hookups and casual sex. One study found notable regional differences in average partners within the United States:

Region Average # Partners
(ages 30-44)
West 10.5
Midwest 8.2
South 8.0
Northeast 7.0

As the table indicates, people living in western states like California and Oregon reported the highest number of partners on average, while those in the Northeast like New York and Massachusetts reported lower numbers. This suggests regional culture may play a role in sexual attitudes and behaviors.


While the average number of hookup partners varies in different studies, most research finds that both men and women in the United States now have at least a few hookup partners by the time they reach their 30s and 40s. However, there is significant individual variation among those with very high or low numbers of partners.

In general, factors like age, gender, and regional location all seem to impact the typical number of hookup partners people report. But when it comes to casual relationships, there is no one “normal” amount. Social views on sexuality have changed dramatically in recent decades and continue to evolve.