Are we Dating or Hooking Up? What’s the Difference and Why it Matters

To say the dating world has changed drastically in the last few years would be an understatement. With the rise of the hookup culture, more and more people are only interested in casual, no-strings-attached relationships.

And with technology today, it’s never been easier to engage in casual sex.

And this is what makes the question of dating and hooking up so much more pertinent for those who are looking for more than just a one-nighter and for those who don’t want to get caught up in a relationship.

The Internet Changed Everything

With the advent of hookup sites and apps like Ashley Madison, AdultFriendFinder, Tinder and Grinder, the lines between dating and hooking up have become incredibly blurred.

Back in the early days of online dating, there was an almost G-rated emphasis placed on finding a partner. This was especially true for women, who were afraid to be too forward in case they scared their date off.

Sites like and eHarmony were all the rage. Then came Tinder and the increased popularity of sites like Ashley Madison. That’s when everything changed.

These days, the barriers to entry in finding online hookups have all but gone away, making it easy for anyone — men and women — to try their hand at finding a sexual partner through the internet.

At the same time, even sites like Match and eHarmony have begun to see a shift in their user’s attitudes, where more men are looking for fun vs love.

The combination of these apps and sites has created a new dating culture — one where almost anything goes. What’s more, the vast majority of these new, young daters are choosing to meet up with multiple partners before settling down.

Why It Matters

The question of whether you are dating or hooking up matters because it can change the dynamic between two people.

If you are just hooking up, then you are usually just interested in each other physically and nothing more. You might not even really know each other that well. This can be fun for a while, but it can also get old quickly. Hence the popularity of hookup sites and apps.

If you are actually dating, then you are usually interested in each other emotionally and physically. You want to get to know each other better and you are much more invested in the relationship. This can be a lot more rewarding, but it can also be more challenging.

So why does it matter? It matters because it can help you to better understand what you are looking for and what you want out of the relationship. It can also help to set expectations.

If you are just looking for something casual, then you might be disappointed if your partner wants something more serious.

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On the other hand, if you are looking for something more serious, you might be disappointed if your partner only wants something casual.

So, before you get too invested in someone, make sure that you are on the same page about what you are looking for. It can save you a lot of heartache down the road.

Where Did You Meet

Where you met online can often tell you a lot about what kind of person they are and what they’re looking for. If you met on a hookup site like Ashley Madison or Tinder, it’s pretty obvious that they’re not looking for anything serious.

But if you met on a dating site like eHarmony or, they’re more likely to be looking for a relationship.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Some people who meet on hookup sites end up falling in love, and some people who meet on dating sites end up just wanting to hook up.

But in general, the place you meet someone can give you a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for.

Signs That You Are Dating

When it comes to dating vs. hooking up, there are a lot of differences. And, honestly, it can get a little confusing.

Here’s a look at some signs that you are, in fact, on a date and not just hooking up.

1. You’ve planned an actual date

If you’re just hooking up, chances are, they’re not going to have any sort of actual date planned. It’s just not necessary.

But if you are on a date, there will be some sort of plan in place. They may have tickets to a show or a reservation at a nice restaurant. Something that shows they’ve put some thought into it.

2. You go somewhere nice

When you’re just hooking up, you’re not really going to go anywhere special. It’s just not worth the effort.

But if you’re on a date, you’ll probably go somewhere a little nicer than just your place or theirs. Maybe you’ll go out to dinner or to a movie. Basically, anything that’s not just a casual hang out.

3. You get dressed up

If you’re just hooking up, they’re not going to bother getting dressed up. They’ll probably just stay in your casual clothes.

But if you’re on a date, they’ll want to look your best. So, you’ll probably find them wearing something a little nicer than usual.

4. You’re meeting each other’s friends

When you’re dating someone, they usually want their friends to meet you. This is a sign that they’re interested in taking things to the next level.

5. You’re having deep conversations

When you’re just hooking up, your conversations are probably pretty surface level.

But when you’re on a date, you’ll find yourselves having much deeper conversations. You’ll talk about your hopes and dreams, your fears, and everything in between.

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6. You both acknowledge your intentions during the date

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you both acknowledge that you are looking for a relationship and not a one-night stand, then it’s pretty safe to say you are on a date.

7. You go on a double date with friends

When you’re just hooking up, the thought of going on a double date with friends is probably pretty horrifying to them.

But when you’re on a date, they may actually welcome the idea of going out with your friends.

8. You make future plans

When you’re just hooking up, it’s typically a one-time thing. You’re just living in the moment.

But when you’re on a date, you might find yourselves making plans for next weekend or plans for your future together.

Signs That You Are Hooking Up

Here are some signs that you’re just hooking up:

1. You’re not exclusive

If you’re not exclusive, then you’re just hooking up. You’re not committed to each other and you’re not serious. You’re just enjoying each other’s company and physical intimacy.

2. You don’t spend much time together

When you’re just hooking up, you don’t spend a lot of time together. You might see each other occasionally, but it’s not like you’re planning regular date nights.

3. you don’t talk about your future together

If you’re just hooking up, you’re not thinking about the future. You’re not planning for a future together because there is no future. You’re just living in the moment.

4. You’re not emotionally invested

When you’re just hooking up, you’re not emotionally invested in the relationship. You don’t really care about each other beyond the physical.

5. You meet for sex and that’s it

This is the most obvious sign that you’re just hooking up. If you only see each other for sex, then that’s all it is. There’s no emotional connection, no real relationship. Just sex.

6. You get booty calls

A sure sign that you’re just hooking up is if you’re getting booty calls. They don’t call or text you for any other reason than to get laid.

7. You don’t talk about your feelings

When you’re just hooking up, you don’t talk about your feelings. You don’t share your emotions or your thoughts on the relationship. There’s no need to because it’s not a real relationship.

8. You’re not intimate outside of the bedroom

If you’re just hooking up, your relationship is purely physical. You don’t cuddle, you don’t kiss, you don’t do anything outside of the bedroom.

9. You don’t do couple things

When you’re just hooking up, you don’t do couple things. You don’t go on dates, you don’t talk on the phone for hours, you don’t do anything that couples do.

Paige Davis

Paige Davis

The girl in the group. Trying to add some much needed estrogen to the Mixxxer fam.

I've been writing guides and lifestyle pieces for more than 6 years now.

I worked both in front and behind the camera in the adult film business. And I hold a masters in psychology.

You'll find there's a lot of psych majors in the adult industry. So careful guys, you may want to get into our pants, but we know how to get into your heads ;)