The terribly concerned folks who fret over so-called "hookup culture" usually a) believe that all college campuses resemble Animal House, b) think women should be passed from father to husband like a game of patriarchal "Hot Potato," and c) are researchers, apparently, because researchers loooooove studying the pseudo-trend, as if the answer to why people like to have sexual relations with each other before marriage/sans romance will lead to the cure for AIDS.
So color me not shocked by this new study by researchers with The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine which "suggests college students are not actually hooking up as frequently as one might think," according to EurekAlert!
"Researchers report romantic sex with a boyfriend or relationship partner was found to be twice as common as hookup sex in this particular group of students," the study concluded.
But...but...what about sexting? Aren't all the kids sexting?
Here's how the study worked:
Researchers surveyed 483 first-year female college students about their sexual behavior with hookup and romantic relationship partners during their freshmen year, as well as the summer after. They focused specifically on sexual behaviors, specifically oral or vaginal sex, that are most likely to have health consequences, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or pregnancy.
And here's what the researchers found:
Before starting college, one-third of incoming freshmen women reported having at least one hookup, while nearly 60 percent said they had sex at least once in the context of a romantic relationship. Forty percent reported sexual hookups during the first year of college, and less than one in five participants had a sexual hookup each month. However, more than half – 56 percent – engaged in oral and/or vaginal sex with a boyfriend or romantic partner during the year.
The average number of sexual hookups per month ranged from one to three, suggesting that – for most women – hookups are experimental and relatively infrequent as opposed to a regular pattern of behavior.
We've written before about how "hookup culture" is good for some women because it gives them a way to experiment with relationships without putting their other life goals on hold to get married and have babies — and, also, how many women (slash many PEOPLE; of course, only women were interviewed for this study, because everyone assumes all dudes are constantly hooking up with no strings attached when they're not busy scarfing down Carl's Jr. burgers while simultaneously jerking off) eventually prioritize emotional connection, anyway. "Hookup culture" just gives us extra time to figure it all out without putting unnecessary pressure on women to stay pure and virginal until marriage.
"Hooking up is one way that young adults explore intimate relationships, but it's not the most common way, and it is often exploratory," said Robyn L. Fielder, M.S., a research intern at The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. "So while hooking up gets more attention in the media, college students continue to develop romantic relationships, which are actually the most common context for sexual behavior."
Well put. Counting down the days until the next breaking "hookup culture"-related study! Can we get, like, one week off?
Image via holbox /Shutterstock.