.For my book, american hookup: the new culture of sex on campus, i followed 101 college students through a semester of their first year.
On college campuses is something people do, but its also a cultural phenomenon: a conversation of a particular kind and a set of routines built into the institution of higher education.
I dovetailed their stories with 21 follow-up interviews, quantitative data from the online college social life survey, academic literature, hundreds of essays written by students for college newspapers, and 24 visits to campuses around the country.
Students believe, or believe that their peers believe, that virginity is pass and monogamy prudish; that college is a time to go wild and have fun; that separating sex from emotions is sexually liberating; and that theyre too young and career-focused for commitment.
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About hookup culture bythe author:Everyday sociology sociology and the culture of sex on campus.
Students like arman, who are unsure of whether they want to participate, hookup culture has a way of tipping the scales.
Her daily travel between home, work, and school left her little time to take part in campus party culture.
.For amanda, the inability to take part in drinking, partying, and hooking up was connected to time, money, and familial constraints.
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Research based on the online college social life survey with over 20,000 students nationwide backs this assertion.
Residential colleges are what sociologist erving goffman called total institutions, planned entities that collect large numbers of like individuals, cut them off from the wider society, and provide for all their needs.
Find clear divides in college students social lives, with white, middle class students at the center of hookup culture.
Its logic makes both abstaining from sex and a preference for sex in committed relationships difficult to justify, and its integration into the workings of higher education makes hooking up hard to avoid.
This gives the institutions plausible deniability, but keeps the partying close enough to be part of colleges appeal.
.In contrast, poor and working-class students, who are often the first ones in their families to attend college, tend to take it much more seriously and dont take for granted that theyll finish, so they party less.
Seepraise for American Hookup listen to an interview at NPR sample an excerpt at TIMEor The Guardian read reviewsand listen tointerviews view moreauthoressays on hookup culture .
Students feel that a hookup culture dominates their colleges not because it is actually widely embraced, but because the people with the most power to shape campus culture like it that way.
I remember for my [freshman] orientation it was pretty cool, youre a first comer and youre like wow a party life, college finally, ya know!
If you arent hooking up, said an african-american woman about her first year on campus, there is no escaping hookup culture.
Lets move beyond debate about how much hooking up goes on to ask just who is included and who is excluded from the hookup scene and why.
Thirty-six of the 101 students i studied reported being simultaneously attracted to and repelled by hookup culture upon arrival at college, compared to thirty-four who opted out entirely, twenty-three who opted in with enthusiasm, and eight who sustained monogamous relationships.
However, the realities of her life did little to dislodge the dominance of partying, drinking, and hooking up in her cultural image of what college should be.
And open-minded, compassionate and brutally honest, american hookup explains where we are and how we got here, asking not how do we go back?
Only about 40 percent of those hookups include sexual intercourse so, technically, the typical student acquires only two new sexual partners during college.
Praise for american hookup:the culture surrounding the hookup is retro, hetero, blotto and at moments worryingly psycho.
First, 91 percent of college students agree that their lives are dominated by the hookup culture.
What this meant is that middle class students, the majority of whom were white, were able to drink, party, and hook up far more than their working class peers.
Research based on the Online College Social Life Survey with over 20,000 studentsAfrican-american students are less likely to hook up than white students photo by michael blann/lifesize/thinkstock.
When students arrive on campus, they dont just encounter the opportunity to hook up, they are also immersed in a culture that endorses and facilitates hookups.