A 2007 study published in the journal The Gendered Society Reader found that 67 percent of students in a long-term relationship had started out with at least one hookup and one date before the relationship became exclusive.
And the students weren't hooking up willy-nilly: 47 percent of women and 35 percent of men said they'd harbored interests in a relationship with their last hookup partner before the sex took place.
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A total of 273 undergraduates had read a story in which a man and a woman meet at a party, hit it off, and have "a night of wild sex." The fictional duo then goes on a dinner date the next week, which ends with a kiss, but no more sex.
In half of the stories, the hookup happens at the woman's house, and then the man asks her out for a date.
In the other half, the hookup happens at the man's house, and the woman initiates the dinner date.
Casual sex in college — known colloquially as "hooking up" — gets a lot of attention for supposedly being unhealthy for women.
But a new study finds that hooking up may actually allow women more sexual agency than traditional dinner dates.
The researchers don't advocate a world without dates, but they do find that college students often harbor a sexual double standard around dates that is relatively relaxed when it comes to in-the-moment hookups.
In hookup scenarios, the study found, students are open to a woman taking the sexual lead.
When analyzing a dating scenario, however, the students tended to fall back on traditional gender roles, more often assuming that men were only interested in sex and women in trying not to seem "slutty." That's not to say that hookups are a paradise for women, said study researcher Sinikka Elliott, a sociologist at North Carolina State University.
It's just that dating might not be the refuge that it's made out to be.
"Other hookup literature hasn't often looked at dates but suggests dating is better for women," Elliott told Live Science.
"These findings suggest a more complicated picture." No strings attached Indeed, contrasting no-strings-attached encounters with committed relationships is not as simple as it seems.