How common is "hooking up" in college?
Posted Thu Apr 12, 2007 06:05 PM
I was never one to hook up. I preferred relationships and have only been with a few women. I never lived at college, but my girlfriend did for 4 yrs. She has had "sex" with 3 guys before me. But her definition of sex is different than mine. She only considers vaginal intercourse sex. I guess I'm old fashioned, but I would consider oral sex and anal sex to be sex, and naked dry humping and any hand usage/penetration to qualify as sexual activity, too (though more of a grey area, I guess). She considers that stuff "hooking up" or "fooling around". She said she hooked up about 12-15 times in college, sometimes with friends of hers, sometimes with people she met a few hours before. So I was a definitely a little surprised by what she told me.
So I guess I have a couple of questions:
Is sexual activity other than vaginal intercourse considered sex?
How common is this behavior among college women today?
Is 12-15 "hook-ups" (oral sex, sexual touching, naked dry humping) over a 4 yr period a high/low/normal amount for college women? (Should I be concerned that my girlfriend can’t even recall the exact amount?)
Am I being naive to think that most women (in college or otherwise) don't have this many experiences by their mid-twenties?
I don’t mean to be sexist and focus only on women’s behavior, because I am sure men do it just as often. I guess I am just trying to understand my girlfriend’s concept of hooking up and whether her behavior is typical of most college women.
Posted Thu Apr 12, 2007 06:09 PM
Posted Thu Apr 12, 2007 06:22 PM
As for what you consider sex that's up to you. And your girlfriend apparently. People have all kinds of definitions. There is sexual activity and there is sexual intercourse. Sexual activity is a broader phrase because that tends to include groping and masturbation and oral and anal etc. Sexual intercourse is the more common long phrase for penile-vaginal intercourse. But, the thing to note is that if you shorten either of those the short term would be to call each of them (sexual intercourse and sexual activity) 'sex'. So define them as you like. If it's necessary to a conversation I'm having I'll clarify terms to what I just said, intercourse is separate from activities. They both risk diseases and emotions and etc. The only big difference I suppose is that intercourse is the only one that gets you pregnant. In my mind you "only get pregnant from sex", though I know there are buts to that. So when I say sex I mean intercourse. But that's just me.
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:23 AM
The numbers don’t matter per se, but the manner in which they were accumulated do, at least to me. If these activities would have occurred in the context of a relationship I think I would be much more understanding. Only one of her three “sex” experiences was in a relationship. Her hook ups were either with friends/acquaintances, or with people she had only known for a few hours. Alcohol was usually involved and she said she always regretted it afterwards. Which I think makes it easier for her to accept her behavior, but it doesn’t for me. 2 or 3 instances can be mistakes, once you start getting over ten that starts to look like a pattern of behavior.
I never have had a casual hook up and don’t believe in them. Only been with two other women in any sort of sexual way, and I was in a loving relationship with them at the time. Beyond that I only have kissed three other women, nothing more. I know how many times it happened because I think sexual activities are very intimate things, and shouldn’t be done with friends or strangers. So low numbers are important in the sense that they are representative of what my values are, and hopefully of hers. That is what I am having difficulty reconciling.
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 01:22 AM
as for your original questions:
yes, hooking up happens. in one way it's harder cause you don't know anybody. but on the other band parties and tons of alcohol can make it easier.
i consider hooking up and intercourse two differant things. hooking up to me is making out and some feeling around, but i'll usually just say make out since a lot of people consider hooking up as intercourse.
i only consider vaginal intercourse as sex. the rest i just think of as messing around
i wouldn't worry about her, doesn't sound incredibly high or anything. just as long as you can trust her and know that you're the only one she's messing with. i personally hate hearing about a girl with another guy, but i'd be happy that she trusts you enough to share and be honest.
not sure if that helped you at all, just perspective from a college freshman
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 01:31 AM
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 03:20 AM
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 04:09 AM
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 04:15 AM
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 07:17 AM
Everyone changes everyday. You are not exactly the same person you were yesterday. It's a default of not being a hermit. Along with new experiences and time come new perspectives and values. Perhaps your values and perspective have remained constant for many years. That's not the norm though.
I assume your girl is a good person and that's why you're with her. Her views on sex and how she approaches intimate encounters and relationships in general have probably evolved over time and with experience though. Perhaps if you met her a few years ago you wouldn't have dated her because she wouldn't have been your type. Perhaps she wouldn't have dated you. The point is that you are who you are right now and so is she. The people that you are right now are a good fit or you wouldn't be together.
She is not the same person she was when she did those things. I don't think it's fair to treat someone as if they are the same person who made mistakes once. It would be one thing if they hadn't learned, showed no remorse or growth, etc. She does regret it though. She isn't still doing it.
The important question in any relationship is do you love her as she is today? Not if you loved her yesterday or ten years ago. Those are important, yes, but secondary at least. Will you love her tomorrow? You can make your best guess. People change though. At some point we tend to trust that we will feel this way forever. But it's "this way" that matters. How do you feel now, about who she is right now? That's all that matters. Her past made her who she is today, and if you love her today then you shouldn't hold her past against her. If you wish she'd never gone through what she did then you are wishing she weren't who she is right now. If that's true then you don't really love her right now. You love who you want her to be. Who you wish she could or would be. That's not fair to either of you. You can't ever predict who someone will be. You have no control over that and may likely spend your life waiting for it to happen. What matters is today.
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 08:30 AM
So this is where I am having the real problem: My girlfriend and I have a great relationship in every aspect. She is an incredible woman. One of the many things I love about her was what I thought were her similar values with regards to sex and intimacy. She always has said that she never fit in with the college crowd, she felt she didn’t belong and that she didn’t understand or accept a lot of the sexual behavior of her friends and classmates. She doesn’t like the bar/club scene. She and I both said we couldn't really understand how her present roommates (she’s out of college now) could bring home random guys from bars, and that it was something we could never do. So I had this impression of her sharing the same values, which I don’t think was unrealistic based on what she had expressed to me about her values and her past experiences.
As our relationship has progressed we have talked more about our pasts. Then I made the mistake of asking what she meant by hook-up. So she told me about the specific experiences, the ones she could recall at the time anyways. It was a very relaxed and comfortable conversation, not judgmental in any way. When she first told me I thought I was okay with it, but the more I think about it, the less sure I am. She had originally told me she had only had intercourse with two people. Turns out its three. She omitted one from the total because she didn’t want it to count. A couple weeks ago she told me she hooked up with 5 or 6 people, now its 10-12, and I get the feeling its more. If she truly regretted it each time, why would she continue this behavior? I am just trying to understand this.
The hook ups I really have a difficulty with are the people she had just met or barely knew that she did these things with. One was two months before we met. So did she really leave this behavior behind in college? Or is she just trying to convince herself she did? She came on very strong after a few drinks on our 2nd date, and the only the fact that I am a gentlemen prevented anything beyond kissing from happening at that point. I imagine the outcome would have been different if she was not with a gentleman.
I am not saying I am perfect, far from it, but my views of sex are a strong conviction I have. I realize there was peer pressure to do these things, as I have always felt it, too. I have strong sexual urges just like every one else, and it was difficult at times to resist. I (probably unfairly) had thought or expected the same of her based on our past discussions. So maybe I am the one with the hagups, not her? I am trying to understand how I can reconcile her behavior with my values, because I truly want to do that. I want to view her the same today as I did last week before finding all this out. I realize I should weigh all the good against the one thing I find bad, and the answer should be obvious, but right now it’s a hard thing for me to get over.
I want to believe they were mistakes, and that she has changed. I guess that is really why I am trying to understand if this behavior is common and to what extent. If her behavior is normal does that make my expectations of her unrealistic? It shouldn’t matter anyways, because I love her, and that’s what I am trying to accept for myself. The thing I worry about most is not her past, but that I will overreact to it and damage what we have together.
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:26 AM
I want to view her the same today as I did last week before finding all this out.
I want to believe they were mistakes, and that she has changed. I guess that is really why I am trying to understand if this behavior is common and to what extent. If her behavior is normal does that make my expectations of her unrealistic?
It's good that you are a gentleman. Your girlfriend sounds just like me actually. Though I'm not much of a partier I have had my share of dates that got frisky. I refer you to the topics in this forum on why you feel lonelier after a one night stand. I explained a few things in there. It might help answer your question of why she would keep doing it if she really regretted it after. Maybe she was just lonely and hoping to "not get hurt this time". "Maybe this guy is different". "Maybe if I act like the other girls I'll get attention from men and find a good one".
As in the last thing I wrote. Just like you can't predict the future and you should love her for who she is today, don't love her today only for who she was yesterday. Again, it should be secondary. If the main reason you love her is for who she was well that's as futile as loving her for who she might be one day. It's loving an abusive murdering drug addict for the sweet person they were before they did their first drug. What's the point? Memories are good, but now is now. Your knowledge of who she is may have changed, but she is still, at heart, the same girl you thought she was. She just has a few more facets to her. Over time you will learn thousands of new things about each other. Not all of them will be pleasant. Maybe there is something in this world that you think is the best thing ever, and she despises it for abolutely no reason. That's not done to hurt you, it just is how it is. Things happen. Do you love her despite them? Or do you love her as long as these things don't happen? You don't get to pick and choose. Love is all or nothing. If you want to pick and choose then be friends when it suits you. Don't lead her on thinking that you're okay with something when you're not.
Maybe this should be a lesson to you. My boyfriend didn't ask about my past. We discussed what counts and anything more than that doesn't matter. It's over, it's done, it's not effecting anything now, it doesn't matter anymore. It has nothing to do with our lives now. I'm curious, but I think it's better this way. Our past got us to where we are today. Today we (your girlfriend and I) are with a good man. I'm proud of where I am today, who I am with, so though I could regret some things I've done, I won't be ashamed of it. Though I'm not ashamed of it, it doesn't mean it all has to matter. Discussing sexual history in the mature adult way doesn't mean comparing numbers and activities. That's like men comparing members. Do you both feel better afterwards? No. Someone always feels worse. Maybe you should be more careful with this in the future. Do you really want to know it all, or do you just want to know if she ever had an STD?
Like I said, your girlfriend sounds like me. I've had my share of experiences, probably no more than an average woman my age. Some men want only chaste women. They think if they are chaste they must be a good woman. Therefore, if they aren't chaste they must be a not so good woman. The sad thing is that when you feel that way you miss out on a lot of women who are just as good if not better than those chaste women you idolize. The only difference between us and the chaste set is that your girlfriend and I tried to fix our loneliness by putting ourselves out there only to be used and tossed aside by a few men that we probably shouldn't have gotten involved with anyway. Then we found a good man that is exactly who we were looking for. He gave us the benefit of the doubt and just loved us for who we are. Regardless of what we did (interchangeable with what was done to us). Instead of judging us like those men who succeeded in bagging us and thus threw us aside for being easy. Assuming they knew if we were worthy of love based on how we responded to simple physical advances. Try to look at the whole package, not one aspect of her past.
Posted Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:48 AM
I would consider Oral or Anal sex to be "sex".
I would sort of call a hand job "sex".
I wouldn't consider dry humping to be "sex". There's no touching of the flesh.
Posted Wed May 09, 2007 07:59 AM
Trust, is the only thing that matters
Posted Wed May 09, 2007 01:08 PM
As to how common "hooking up" (or whatever you want to call it) is, I don't know. I have worked in a college environment for 20 years but have little interaction with students. I see very little intimate "gesturing" here.
Posted Wed May 09, 2007 01:33 PM