Is Dating Dead on College Campuses?
o students are your university go on "dates"?
One study found that only half of female seniors reported being asked out by a man on six or more dates while at college; and one-third of respondents said they had been on only two or fewer dates (Glenn & Marquardt, 2001). Today, it is much more common for men and women to "hang out" rather than go out on a date. Typically, men and women go out with friends and plan on meeting up at a party on campus and going home together, rather than prearranging a date.
Why might there be less "dating" today and more "hooking up," or casual affairs? Researchers suggest that there are several possible reasons (Glenn & Marquardt,
2001) . The sexual revolution has changed society’s attitudes about sexuality, making hooking up, casual sex, one-night stands, and "friends with benefits" more acceptable. In addition, college dormitories today are often coed, meaning that men and women are living in close proximity to each other, which promotes intimacy. Students today are also busy and stressed, and perhaps they are too busy for romance, settling instead for casual, quick affairs. We also can’t deny the influence of alcohol, which is commonly used on college campuses today and may serve to legitimize casual sex.
In a preliminary study I did on college hookups, I found that over 88% of students reported engaging in a hookup. Ninety-percent said that they had had a "really good" hookup. They rated it good for many reasons, including good sex, no interruptions, or a resulting relationship. However, 78% reported they had also had a "bad" hookup because of bad sex, interruptions, or a partner wanting more out of the hookup than they did. Following are some of their best and worst hookups.
What Made the Hookup Good?
We will probably get married. (female)
We were both really drunk, and it was really fun. (female)
The sex was good, and the girl didn’t bug out and get psycho on my ass. (male)
Two words: simultaneous orgasm. (male)
She was from another school, and I didn’t have to worry about being awkward and seeing her again.
What Made the Hookup Bad?
He took advantage of me when I was drunk. (female)
I took one for the team, since my friend wanted his friend. (female)
She wasn’t shaved. (male)
The guy didn’t want a relationship, and I thought he cared. (female)
We were both drunk and didn’t stop making out even after he vomited. (female)
Our sex was videotaped and shown all over campus. (male)
Source: Author’s files.
almost universal access to cars and parents’ more permissive attitudes toward the early mixing of the sexes. Teenagers still go to movies and dances, but just as often they will get together at someone’s house or go for a drive. In casual dating, there are more opportunities for couples to find time alone away from parents or chaperones, which is one reason that the age of first intercourse has steadily decreased over the last 30 years.
The most difficult part of dating is the initial invitation; it is difficult to ask someone out and risk rejection. Whether a person is straight, or gay, or lesbian, asking someone out can be risky. The ego can be bruised if the desired person is not interested. The problems of dating change as one gets older, as there are fewer organized ways to meet other single people. Socializing and going out to bars and clubs may work for some, but others are uncomfortable with this approach. Perhaps the best way to meet others as one gets older is to get involved in community, religious, and singles groups and to find community events and programs where other single people go. Evening classes at local universities are also a good way to meet people. As we discussed in Chapter 7, the Internet has provided a new way to meet people, through websites, chat rooms, and dating services.
Question: Why is it that people stare at interracial couples? I just don’t understand what the big deal is if they really love each other.
Americans have a history of disapproving of relationships that take place between people of different races. In many other countries, interracial couples are not unusual. Latino-white relationships, as well as Asian-white, Native American-white, Latino-black, and other combinations—although still often looked upon negatively—are more acceptable in the United States than black-white. Unfortunately, these negative feelings can lead to discrimination against such couples and their children.