The Truth About College Hookups

  • Share
  • Read Later
Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times / Redux

Students at a concert at UPenn's Spring Fling in Philadelphia, on April 13, 2013.

Recent claims about the hookup culture among college students are greatly exaggerated, it seems.

Despite racy headlines suggesting that college kids are increasingly choosing casual liaisons over serious relationships, a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association finds that just under one-third of college students have had more than one partner in the past year.

And that’s exactly the same proportion of students who were surveyed between 1988 and ’96, and between 2002 and ’10; both groups also had the same number of partners. So kids aren’t hooking up more than they ever were, or even more than their parents did, which is what recent media coverage has implied.

“College students today are not having more sexual partners [after] age 18, more sexual partners over the last year or more sex than their parents,” says the study’s lead author Martin Monto, professor of sociology at the University of Portland in Oregon. Gen Xers were actually more likely to have sex weekly or more frequently compared with millenials, according to the research.

The research did show a slight decline in the number of college kids saying they had a “spouse or regular sex partner,” but that doesn’t mean that college romance is dead. Indeed, 77% of students said that they’d had a regular partner or spouse in the 2000s, compared with 85% in the earlier generation. In other words, today as in the past, most students having sex are still doing so in the context of some type of ongoing relationship.

“We do see a decrease, but it’s not huge,” says Monto. “And part of that can be accounted for by a change in age of marriage.”

(MORE: Looking for Love: College Students May Prefer Relationship Sex to Casual Hookups)

The research involved data on nearly 2,000 people from the General Social Survey, a nationally representative survey that asks a wide range of questions and has been carried out since 1972.

Kathleen Bogle, author of Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus and an assistant professor of sociology at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, whose work initially described the hookup culture in the scientific literature, says the latest study is “very interesting,” but naturally disagrees with the authors’ representation of her work.

Bogle argues that what is now called hookup culture began in the 1970s, after birth control became widely available and the age of marriage began rising. At that point, the couple ceased to be the center of college social life, and dating with the aim of marrying in college or shortly thereafter fell out of style.

She argues that this ultimately flipped the dating script — so that couples tended to get physical first and acquainted later, rather than the other way around, as occurred in the 1950s and ’60s. But Monto says there is no evidence that such choices are more common now than in the recent past — and there’s no data going back further to provide objective answers.

(MORE: What Everyone’s Getting Wrong About the Ivy League Hookup Culture)

Of course, much of the debate revolves around the definition of hooking up — a term both researchers acknowledge is deliberately ambiguous and can encompass everything from just kissing to intercourse. That means that it’s not clear whether what Bogle has labeled as hookup culture is really different from what the “one-night stand” or “making out” seen on past campuses as something that may or may not lead to further intimacy. Haven’t college students of any era always had similar struggles with getting partners to commit to more-serious relationships?

But Bogle and Monto do agree that students tend to think their peers hook up far more frequently than they actually do. One study found that on average, students report a total of five to seven hookups in their entire college career. But when Bogle surveyed students about how often they thought their fellow students were hooking up, they typically said seven times a semester. “That would be 56 people” in four years, she says.

In fact, 1 in 4 college students is a virgin and in the new research, only 20% of students from either era reported having six or more partners after turning 18.

(MOREWhat the U.S. Can Learn from the Dutch About Teen Sex)

That discrepancy in perception may explain the conflicting beliefs about whether college kids are really hooking up more than they used to — or not. The current study did find — based on reports by the students of their own sexual relationships — some evidence that recent generations of college students are having slightly more casual sex and so-called friends-with-benefits relationships. About 44% of students in the 2000s reported having had sex with a “casual date or pickup,” compared with 35% in the 1980s and ’90s — and 68% reported having had sex with a “friend” in the previous year, compared with 56% in the earlier group.

How students think of their liaisons with fellow students has clearly changed, and so has the college culture, apparently. All of the evidence points to the fact that college kids today are drinking less, taking fewer drugs and even having less sex than their parents’ generation. Hooking up just isn’t what it used to be.

1811 comments
JackMan1
JackMan1

they’re making that exact same face because maybe – just maybe – you dared take ownership of your own name. vitamin c serum

abhaymahi1
abhaymahi1

I'm going to really value typically the author's choice for selecting that outstanding report correct to help you our question. Scuba decals

anasqureshi8651
anasqureshi8651

Having the ability to get up from a workstation, and take your Google
Hangout conversation with you on a handheld device is almost old-hat. I
don't see anything "new" in this produc

navegando
por el nilo

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

Kylan is very passionate about Oshawa’s famed Peony Festival and looks forward to attending the festival with his family each and every year. regular human mode

johnnorris345
johnnorris345

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

These words and phrases can be used to make a man experience attachment, addiction, love, and long-term devotion. gclub

KingworldKingworld
KingworldKingworld

One more technique to avoid being scammed as you buy online would be choosing to deal with those retailers who have been doing business for a while. 

palm bay cleaning

g4190229@trbvm.com
g4190229@trbvm.com

Czy kiedykolwiek zaczęła jeść bar z przekąskami, podjęte kilka ukąszeń, to zauważyłem, wszystko, co zostawił
był pusty pakiet w ręce? Albo gdzieś i został jazdy przybył na miejsce tylko uświadomić sobie, pamiętasz nic o swojej podróży? Większość ludzi ma! Są to typowe przykłady 

<!a href="http://mindfulnesslodz.wordpress.com">Mindfulness Lodz</a>

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

Hey – great blog, just looking around some blogs, seems a really nice platform you are using. I’m currently using WordPress for a few of my blogs but looking to change one of them over to a platform similar to yours as a trial run. Anything in particular you would recommend about it? المعالج ابو نايف لفك السحر

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

You can therefore depend on such if you have future plans of renting or selling your home and this will help you to fetch more in the market. rubber buffers

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. Web Design

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

Just wanted to give a quick shout out and say that I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Magic Ball 8

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

I found your this post while searching for information about blog-related research ... It's a good post .. keep posting and updating information. Earn Money Best Websites

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

I didn't make it up. I have no idea how much it costs now. Day

khare
khare

Handy Reparatur in Bremen � Wir sind spezialisiert auf die Reparatur aller Arten Smartphone professionell. Besuchen Sie oder rufen Sie uns heute.  Handy Reparatur Bremen

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

Thanks for your post. I’ve been thinking about writing a very comparable post over the last couple of weeks, I’ll probably keep it short and sweet and link to this instead if thats cool. Thanks. flyoneagleswings.com

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.Great Job, I greatly appreciate that.Do Keep sharing! Regards flowers Munich

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

This is very nice one and gives indepth information. Thanks for this nice article. forex signal

G5backlinks
G5backlinks

That is the excellent mindset, nonetheless is just not help to make every sence whatsoever preaching about that mather. ​aggregates