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.

1663 comments
khare
khare

Hai sempre desiderato poter chiamare i numeri erotici ma il costo era troppo alto. Chiama ora il nostro telefono erotico a basso costo.  Telefono erotico

anujkr255
anujkr255

To discover out a appropriate movers for ones shifting you can even requirement your buddies, connections, buddies along with other workers who've developed their own shifting by using the Packers moreover to Moving organizations company.

Packers and Movers Hyderabad

Packers and Movers Mumbai

KingworldKingworld
KingworldKingworld

Your site is really nice and unique. This is one of the best ideas that you had come up for the people and I do hope that they can have better future. 

fibroids miracle book

aileen123
aileen123

Asif told bdnews24.com he had sympathised with the JnU movements from his own life experience. Coming from a middle-income family, Asif had had a hard time bearing the expenses of a private university, not having secured an admission into a public university.

volo milano cuba

AdrianWrois
AdrianWrois

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work http://www.iiii.ovh

AdeemAK
AdeemAK

Please accept our thanks and congratulations on the success of your recent series on young scholars in our community. We see so much of the negative side of life in the media that it is refreshing to have a positive, upbeat report on the good things that are happening. I think the report was a great motivator for many students who need a little extra push.

Fashionbuzzer http://fashionbuzzer.com

aileen123
aileen123

This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return. 

ville in vendita varese

sl786982
sl786982

I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable. therefore, I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article terceira idade

sl786982
sl786982

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work. astrologia

AhsanAzam
AhsanAzam

Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.   Dlna server

sl786982
sl786982

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.  online butchers

sl786982
sl786982

I think this is some thing which so many peoples does on regular basis such information has good knowledge to get know about buy phentermine online

aileen123
aileen123

This content is written very well. Your use of formatting when making your points makes your observations very clear and easy to understand. Thank you!

Gladiators hack

aileen123
aileen123

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the

nba 2k14 vc hack

sl786982
sl786982

I discovered such a variety of engrossing stuff in your site, particularly its exchange. bookmaker

aileen123
aileen123

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!

rebelmouse.com

aileen123
aileen123

Excellent article.It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something like this.  Aranzacja wnetrz Bielsko

comprar fifa coins

sl786982
sl786982

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff of your blog a must read blog!!!! home design ideas

sl786982
sl786982

I am finding this info everywhere. Thanks. I just subscribe your blog. This is a nice blog. hyip news

sl786982
sl786982

Excellent article.It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something like this.  Aranzacja wnetrz Bielsko

sl786982
sl786982

Excellent thesis on this topic here. I am really delighted to read this. This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks for giving me that. Cheers!  <a href="http://www.2xmall.es/">Al por mayor en línea</a>

khare
khare

What Is The Girlfriend Activation System ? The Girlfriend Activation System (GFAS) is a dating and attraction system created by popular pick-up expert, Christian H. At its core, the system is very simple : it teaches men a multitude of techniques and mindsets for meeting, attracting, and dating incredible women.... 
http://girlfriendactivationsystem.co/girlfriend-activation-system-review/

khare
khare

Perfect Vision Today : Dr. Sen And Samantha Pearson Reveal A Breakthrough, Step-By-Step System To Achieve 20/20 Vision And Help Cure Myopia, Hyperopia, Presbyopia, And Most Other Visual Problems In As Little As 2 Weeks...  rebelmouse

khare
khare

Magnetic Messaging : Bobby Rio And Rob Judge Reveal How To Use The Weirdly Effective "Key Lock Sequence" Over Text Messages To Get That Smoking Hot Girl Everyone Has Their Eye On Flirting With You And Begging You To Take Her Out On A Date... http://rebelmouse.com/bobbyriomagneticmessaging

aileen123
aileen123

thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time

website