What Hookup Crisis?

Aug 15 2013 @ 4:46pm

Millennials appear to be having less sex than Gen Xers did. Allie Jones summarizes the claim:

A new study presented at the American Sociological Association on Tuesday shows that the “hookup culture” narrative might be a myth. Martin A. Monto, a professor of sociology at the University of Portland, found in the comparative study “no evidence of substantial changes in sexual behavior that would support the proposition that there is a new or pervasive ‘hookup culture’ among contemporary college students.”

Daniel Stuckey digs into the numbers:

Martin Monto and Anna Carey looked at data from the General Social Survey which included 1,800 18 to 25-year-olds who had graduated from high school and completed at least one year of college. The researchers compared results from 2002-2010 with 1988-1996, and found that 59.3 percent of college students from today’s cohort reported having sex weekly or more often in the past year—while 65.2 percent of their predecessors had reported such frequencies.

Molly Redden wonders about all the “hook-up culture” stories in the media:

Monto has illuminated, definitively, that the real trend driving these stories is not an actual change in student behavior. What is driving them?

Perhaps, as Kathleen Bogle, a LaSalle University sociologist, suggested to the Chronicle, these stories are the natural result of a culture that merely talks about casual encounters more than we used to. Young peoples’ ability to order up a booty call via text message has certainly proved alarming to their elders, even though booze probably remains the real culprit behind hookups—as I imagine it was in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Tracy Clark-Flory is skeptical of the study:

These are compelling findings, but keep in mind that this study has yet to be published, peer-reviewed or substantiated with further research — so, yeah. Another major consideration: The survey looks at students in college and doesn’t take into account the number of partners that one can accumulate post-college, which is especially relevant as the age of first marriage continues to skyrocket. Also important are ever-changing and inconsistent definitions of what constitutes sex, a sexual partner or a hookup.