College Sex – Hookup Culture or Fake News?

College sex.  It is a real issue but how do we know what is really happening?

The recent book American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus by the sociologist Lisa Wade has brought attention to this subject.  Her work is comprehensive and helpful to college students and families alike.  Her work contains a useful overview that defines the modern hookup culture is and also what it is not.  Wade’s book dispels a number of myths about it, including the one that everyone on a college campus is having loads of sex, all the time, with multiple partners.

To Wade’s credit, she tells a comprehensive story with good data.  Despite the portrayal of college students being naïve and careless, American College Health Association (ACHA) statistics prove the contrary. The ACHA’s national College Health Assessment provides a longitudinal view of data that provides insights into the reality of college sex and its impact on college student health.

College Sex & Hookup Culture:

Despite the growth in social media and “hook-up” applications like Tinder a careful review of data from 2005 – 2015, indicates that college students report a decreased number of sexual partners.  In fact, the reported celibacy rate of college students increased: with male celibacy increasing two times the rate of females.

In fact, the 2015 data reports that 33.5% of college students report having no sexual partners which is up from 27.5% reported in 2005. For those college students who report being sexually active, birth control use is up from 37.3% in 2005 to 58.1% in 2015.

ACHA trends from 2005-2015 data tell an interesting story.

Here are some less interesting headlines (to MTV and the media) but nonetheless true:

“20% increase in college students who report being celibate from 2005 – 2015”

“40% of college students report being a monogamous sexual relationship.”

“Only 9% of college students report being highly sexually active with 4 or more partners in past 12 months”

The topic of college sex can be captivating. So while we have your attention, please also note that the College Health Assessment also contains useful insights including:

General Health Statistics = Greater Physical Health
Cigarette Use: Non-Users – 64.2% 77.4% – less college students in 2015 report cigarette use than in 2005.

Growth Student Mental Health Issues – However – students also report an increase in mental
health issues with a growth in reported cases of Anxiety from  16.4% in 2005 to 23.7% in 2015.  In addition, there were students reported greater amounts of depression – 10.0% in 2005 vs. 14.6% in 2015.

Alcohol Abuse is on the decline but still common. For example, students use of alcohol within 1-9 Days decreased from 50.2% in 2005 to 45.5% in 2015.  However, it is worth noting that the average drink count from 2005-2015 Average Drink Count slightly grew from 4.22 to 4.49.

Remember GradGuard is an authority on college life and aims to help students overcome obstacles that may disrupt their education. We publish this report to bring attention to important student health trends and to remind students that schools do not often provide 100% refunds should they be forced to withdraw from classes.  As a result, be sure to protect your investment with GradGuard’s tuition insurance.  All students can benefit but coverage must be purchased prior to the first day of classes.