One-Night Stand, Then First Date? Welcome To College

College students think women need to "reverse the slut" after casual hookups.

Beer Pong

Movies, TV shows and songs—essentially, all of popular culture—would have us believe that no-strings-attached, casual sex is something that men are more interested in than women. It's true that over the years, gender-based stereotypes have assigned to guys the role of sex-seeking and to ladies the search for something serious. A new study, however, challenges those assumptions—while showcasing how such behavior affects a person's perception of a woman.


Allow me to explain.

Researchers in the study, published in the journal Gender & Society, asked college students to discuss two different hookup scenarios.

The first scenario read, "A woman and a man meet at a party and hit it off. At the end of evening, she takes him to her house and they have a night of wild sex, which they both enjoy. The following weekend, the man asks the woman out and they go to dinner on a date. The date ends with just a kiss, nothing else." 'What's Your Number' Movie Contest: Dish Your Number, Win A Prize

The second scenario read, "A man and a woman meet at a party and hit it off. At the end of evening, he takes her to his house and they have a night of wild sex, which they both enjoy. The following weekend, the woman asks the man out and they go to dinner on a date. The date ends with just a kiss, nothing else."


There are two differences here. First, who takes who home? Second, who initiates the second meeting? Simple enough, right? You would think so, and in terms of discussing reasons for that initial sexual encounter, students (overall) had similar interpretations: That both people wanted to have sex. In terms of breaking gender stereotypes, this analysis is good. Hey, women can want casual sex, too! It's also worthy to note that students explained the woman's reason for hooking up as a simple desire for sex rather than an attempt to coerce the man into a relationship. Bravo, progressive thinking college students. Bravo. College Guys Think 10 Or More Sex Partners Is "Slutty"

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It gets tricky, however, when you look at the other half of the task. The students were then asked to explain why they believed second encounter ended in only a kiss, when the initial meeting resulted in sex. While some students said the man and woman may be holding off on sex in order to get to know one another, others had different interpretations: They viewed the first situation as a sort of "redemption" for the woman. Here is one example of what someone said: "The first time they met, she probably assumed she would never really see him again so she didn't care what he thought of her. However, after he asks her out, she probably doesn't want him to assume she is a slut or easy so she decides to merely end the date with a kiss." 

In explaining the second situation, participants took a "pity" angle rather than a "slut" one. For example: "The girl hoped for some kind of relationship. On the second date the guy tried to start getting away from the girl in a gradual way." Many students also felt it necessary to point out that if the man in this scenario really wanted to see the woman again, he would have called her. Not the other way around, as is presented.


Therein lies the problem. While college students are recognizing that yes, hookups happen and yes, ladies like them too, the implications of said hookups propose issues for women. Based on this study, ladies need to take action to reverse the "slutty" behavior they displayed in seeking out (and, eventually, having) casual sex. So while undergrads are thinking a bit more progressively in terms of having sex, they are still reinforcing stereotypes in dealing with the morning—and, in this situation, the date—after.

It would be interesting to compare how recent post-grads interpreted the presented scenarios. In college, hooking up is attached with the possibility of running into that person in a future class or stroll around campus. When you finally leave your college bubble, however, you're often not as likely to see a potential hookup again (unless serendipity kicks in). Also, it's possible that because young adults who have left college have more experience in the dating world, they don't approach it with such sweeping stereotypes.

What do you think? If a woman starts dating a man after they hooked up one night, does she need to "reverse the slut?"