6 Reasons The 'Hookup Culture' Is Total Bullsh*t (Says Science)

Turns out, you were wrong about millennials.

couple kissing in bed

I'm not going to lie. I definitely believed the hype of the "hookup culture" when I first got to college. I thought that most people would be single because of the hectic life of being a full-time student, and then have sex at parties in order to have a little bit of fun.

Of course, this whole view of college was partially formed from crazy movies, but soon this myth was busted in my own life when the majority of people who I met said they were in a relationship (mostly long-distance with someone from their hometown). What is going on? Well turns out that hookup culture is one big fat lie.


You've heard all about the "hookup culture". Young people (mostly millennials) who are in college and don't exactly want to be in serious relationships so they have multiple sexual partners and keep it moving. You've seen it play out on TV, movies and in the news.

But guess what? It's totally false.

You may be familiar with the term "hookup culture". Some of the older generation who were taught to wait three dates just to kiss would be clutching their pearls over this, but it turns out that these millennials are not so different after all, and very few college students are hooking up.

To completely shatter everything you thought about hookup culture, here are six reasons it's all false.


1. Most college students want to get married. 
A survey done by BYU found that 97 percent of its female students wanted to eventually walk down the aisle, while 93 percent of men also had those intentions. Researchers compared it with the feelings of graduating high school seniors — and they also felt the same. So in the end many young people still want to settle down.

2. That being said, millennials are cautious just like the previous generation.
That's why you might see a lot more millennials putting off a serious relationship. Mike Hais, a market researcher consultant revealed to The Christian Science Monitor that millennials are a lot like Gen-Y, the generation who was raised during the Great Depression and World War II, when it came to the marriage game. Both put it off due to worries about being financially stable. Just coming out of the Great Recession would make anyone pause before buying a ring and start planning a wedding — especially since big weddings tend to average $25,000 today.

3. Millennials care enough about their dates that they research them beforehand.
When people talk about the hookup culture, they make millennials seem carefree and as though they don't care about getting to know their sexual partners. Turns out they probably put more effort into knowing who their dates are than the generations before them (but that's probably because they have the resources to do so). 

A poll from Pew Research Center found that 41 percent of social media users between the ages 18-29 have used the sites to get more information about a potential love interest. Creepy? Enthusiastic? Call it whatever you'd like — but they care about who they're spending their time with.


4. Millennials have the same kind of sex life as the previous generation.
A new study published in Journal of Sex Research compared survey answers about sexual practices from 1988-1996 with answers given in 2012. Both groups preferred monogamy rather than a hookup. To break it all down in numbers, 78.2 percent of the respondents in the current survey say they are getting in the sheets with their spouse or significant other.

In the 1988-96 survey that number was slightly higher at 84.5 percent. So these kids are certainly not reinventing the wheel here.

5. Not very many people are hooking up.
Don't be fooled. People always overestimate how much sex they're actually having. The real statistic is that only 25 percent of male college students and only 20 percent of female students are having random hookups according to a survey.

They also aren't always going all the way because of the respondents who had hooked up with 10 or more people, only 40 percent of the situations involved sex.


6. The college students that do hookup don't exactly enjoy it.
According to Donna Freitas' book, The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled and Confused About Intimacy 41 percent of American college students feel sad or depressed about casual sex. This is due to a real desire for a monogamist relationship instead. Sad, but definitely a phase for some before finding the one.

So it just goes to show that hookup culture is a great backdrop for a dramatic movie, but in reality most people rather ditch the heartbreak and drama in order to find someone to settle down with.