College Hookups Aren't as Common as People Think

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, April 21, 2010

College Hookups Aren't as Common as People Think

Young people may not be "hooking up" on college campuses as much as the popular culture suggests. At least that's what a new study found when researchers asked students some specific questions about an often-ambiguous topic.

Most agree that hookups are no-strings encounters, but just what that means can range from kissing to sexual intercourse.

So researchers at Duke University spelled it out for a random sample of almost 1,500 students at the Durham, N.C., campus — and found that only about one-third had had a hookup in college.

"People have been speculating that the hookup was becoming the dominant relationship. We don't think it is," says sociologist S. Philip Morgan, co-author of the research presented over the weekend at the non-profit Population Association of America annual meeting.

Researchers surveyed 732 freshmen and 723 seniors and found that of the one-third in each grade that had had a hookup, less than half involved oral sex or vaginal intercourse. The study also found that nearly 60% of the freshmen reported that they had never had sexual intercourse.

"Our findings call into question some popular accounts as well as some social scientific ones," researcher Wendy Brynildsen said in her presentation. "We find a diverse mix of campus relationships at Duke. We also find a strong association between previous relationship behavior and current relationship behavior for both freshmen and seniors."

She says the findings show that, of those at Duke who had hookups, many had hookups in earlier relationships, and for freshmen, that meant in high school. The researchers did find that drinking as well as having friends who hooked up has a strong effect on hooking up.

Source: USA Today