A new study by researchers with The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine suggests college students are not actually hooking up as frequently as one might think.
According to their study, romantic relationships are still the most common context for sexual behavior - at least among women in their first year of college.
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.
“Hooking up is one way that young adults explore intimate relationships, but it’s not the most common way, and it is often exploratory,” Robyn L. Fielder, M.S., a research intern at The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine said.
“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,” Fielder said.
“Hooking up” is a loosely defined term characterized by sexual intimacy, ranging from kissing to sexual intercourse, between partners who are not dating or in a romantic relationship and do not expect commitment.
However, Fielder said that little is known about the frequency of sexual hookups, how this prevalence changes over time and whether hookups are replacing romantic relationships among college students in general.
The study is published online by the Journal of Adolescent Health.