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Are College Students Entering a Hookup Era?

OjiHfmqglGqDIppFuWqtmpgL5erHpr3ZrGb4iW9PzTz0AQAATgEAAEpQ_260x196Media publicity claims that hookup culture is now becoming a common characteristics of college students contemporarily. In people’s view, college students are more casual or even unrestricted in sexual life. However, a research form Portland University raised some doubts about this opinion and it pointed out that there is no significant difference in sexual life between contemporary college students and the last generation. The study has been published on the American Sociological Association (ASA)’s 108th annual meeting.

Sociologist Martin Monto and his student Anna Carey analyzed the general social survey on more than 1,800 college students ranging from 18 to 25 year old, and compared the data between 2002 and 2010 (prevailing period of hookup culture) with that between 1988 and 1996. “We found that the sexual behavior of contemporary college students are very similar to that of the college students before. “Said Monto.

Researchers found that compared with last generation college students, college students in “hookup era” don’t show significant “superiority” in terms of sexual behavior related index: one year prior to the investigation, 65.2% of the college students from 1988 to 1996 had weekly or more frequent sexual life while the percentage for contemporary college student is only 59.3%; before the investigation, 31.9% of the last generation colleges students maintained more than one sex partner and 51.7% of them had more than 2 sex partners after 18 years old, while for contemporary college students, the number for these two situations were 31.6% and 50.5%, respectively.

In aspect of sexual attitudes, Monto said: “Contemporary college students have no obvious difference in sexual attitudes compared with their parents at the same age.” Considering “sexual behavior between 14 to 16 years old”, “married having sex with non-spouse partner”, and “premarital sex between adults”, contemporary college students don’t show more open attitudes than last generation college students; they are just more willing to accept the homosexual behavior than previous college students.

However, contemporary college students are more likely to have sex with friends or occasionally acquainted people, and it presents a decreasing trend that they claim their sexual partner to be spouse or regular sex partners. “Other study reveals that the words using to describe intimate behavior are changing.” Monto said: “Contemporary college students get married a lot later than before and now they rarely use words such as ‘dating’ or ‘establish a relationship’, and also, they don’t feel that the one intimate to them in the campus must be their future marital partner.”

Monto and Carey’s research suggests that compared with before, contemporary college students don’t have significant liberalization of attitudes towards sex and sexual behavior. “I believe people’s sexual behavior is always changing and is changing now, however, the public opinion often exaggerates the changes. In fact, the changes come more slowly, and more subtly.” Said Monto.


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