In an article in the USA Today yesterday, called More college ‘hookups,’ but more virgins, too, the author features a couple who discusses what dating is like in college these days. The NeW Gentlemen’s Showcase ended yesterday, but it’s mission to create mutual respect between the sexes and support healthy relationships is not over. Here’s what USA Today had to say:
“You just don’t date at colleges,” says Adams, 23, now a Fordham graduate student in urban studies.
But there’s no shortage of casual sex on campus, she says — in part because Fordham, like many colleges, has significantly more women than men. Adams says that means guys have the upper hand when it comes to intimacy.
“It’s kind of like a competition,” she says. “The guys have their choice of whoever they want. So they think, ‘Why would I date?’ “
Recent studies by the National Center for Health Statistics and others say that even though relationships are becoming more brief and more highly sexual, there is also an increase of virgins. But many researchers say, the women are to blame for the current, hook up culture.
“The women wind up competing with each other for access to the men, and often, that means relationships become sexual quicker,” says Regnerus, co-author of Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About Marrying, released earlier this year. It is based on an analysis of four national studies representing a total of 25,000 young people ages 18-23 and more than 200 additional interviews.
“Men don’t have to work as hard as they used to, to woo a woman,” he says. “I’ve talked to various interviewees who had never been on a date, which doesn’t really make sense, given they’re pretty attractive. It’s just that less seems to be required to be in the company of a woman.”
So, what percentage of students are really, hooking up?
The percentage of those who claim virginity appears to be increasing, according to a National Center for Health Statistics study released this month of 2006-08 data. Among 18- and 19-year-olds, about one-quarter of men and women said they hadn’t had sexual contact with another person, up from 17% of women and 22% of men in 2002. Among those ages 20-24, 12% of women and 13% of men said they were virgins, up from 8% for both sexes in 2002.
Thompson, of Perrysburg, Ohio, is engaged, but “a lot of my peers, as women, have got a lot of other things going on. I think the fact that young women are able to focus on other life goals such as school or career could change the way they form relationships, which inherently would impact their sexual activity.”
Some studies find virgins in even higher numbers. Responses collected from 1,500 Duke University freshmen and seniors at the Durham, N.C., campus in 2007 found that about 53% of women and 40% of the men said they were virgins, says Wendy Brynildsen, a Duke doctoral student who will share that data in a paper at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in August.