Over the summer, publications like Time and the New York Times woke up from Rip Van WInkle naps on university quads, saw co-eds making shameless walks of shame back to their dorm rooms, and came to an unmistakable conclusion: COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE HAVING SEX.
And not just "normal" relationship sex—they're hooking up and seeking no-strings-attached sex, which is sought-after and enjoyed by both men and women alike: "Until recently, those who studied the rise of hookup culture had generally assumed that it was driven by men... But there is an increasing realization that young women are propelling it, too," the Times wrote. To which nearly every girl in the country responded, "Yeah, well, no shit." This has been the case for years, if not decades.
In fact, the Times not only came to the game late, they also went a little too far in labeling an entire generation "the hook-up generation." The coverage has been salacious, but the truth is that most college kids actually keep it to one partner:
A new study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association finds that just under one-third of college students have had more than one partner in the past year.
And that’s exactly the same proportion of students who were surveyed between 1988 and ’96, and between 2002 and ’10; both groups also had the same number of partners. So kids aren’t hooking up more than they ever were, or even more than their parents did, which is what recent media coverage has implied.
“College students today are not having more sexual partners [after] age 18, more sexual partners over the last year or more sex than their parents,” says the study’s lead author Martin Monto, professor of sociology at the University of Portland in Oregon. Gen Xers were actually more likely to have sex weekly or more frequently compared with millenials, according to the research.
And, naturally, most students believe instead that their peers are hooking up more frequently than they actually are:
One study found that on average, students report a total of five to seven hookups in their entire college career. But when Bogle surveyed students about how often they thought their fellow students were hooking up, they typically said seven times a semester. “That would be 56 people” in four years, she says.
Meaning that: Everyone, from the New York Times to your lab partner, thinks you're getting laid EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. And a lot of people have spent a disturbing amount of time coming to that conclusion.