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Study: Catholic Students More Prone to `Hook Up’ at College

posted by mconsoli

(RNS) Women at Catholic colleges engage more frequently in sexual “hook ups” than women at secular colleges, a new study shows, and researchers suspect alcohol may be the reason.
The study defines a “hook up” as “a physical encounter between two people who are largely unfamiliar with one another or otherwise briefly acquainted.” The encounters typically involve “moderate to heavy alcohol and carry no anticipation of a future relationship.”
Researchers at Mississippi State University found that religious female students tend to hook up less, unless they attend Catholic-affiliated institutions.
In addition, students who attend church more regularly and report a deeper personal spirituality — especially women at conservative Protestant schools — are less likely to hook up.
The study, published last September with little notice in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, is based on a nationally representative sample of unmarried, undergraduate women who are currently enrolled at four-year institutions.
Researched asked the 919 women if they had participated in a “hook up” while at college. It then investigated their religious affiliation, the type of institution they attended (public, private, religiously affiliated), their religious involvement, and how religious they considered themselves to be.
Amy Burdette, assistant professor of sociology at Mississippi State, said her interest was sparked by the lack of research on dating life and the “hook up” culture on campuses, as well as her personal interest in religion.
Burdette did not foresee the effect of Catholic affiliation. “That finding was very surprising and not what we expected,” she said.
According to Burdette, researchers did not have enough information on key factors to explain the Catholic anomaly. However, she did speculate that it may have something to do with looser alcohol restrictions.
“Alcohol plays a key role in `hooking up,”‘ Burdette said. “There’s just not a lot of restrictions in the dorm” at Catholic institutions.
– Kimberlee Hauss
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



  • nnmns

    ‘”There’s just not a lot of restrictions in the dorm” at Catholic institutions.’
    So it may have nothing to do with the religion but rather rules applied.
    “Hooking up” sure seems like a dangerous and pointless activity. It may be fun, but with all the alcohol who’s to say. And the women are of course at risk of pregnancy while the men don’t share that risk nearly as much as they should. They are both at risk of serious diseases. And no matter how much times have changed I’m guessing the women’s reputations suffer more than the men’s.
    Wise up out there! Find somebody you like and might come to love! And learn to masturbate!

  • Angelica

    Yeah sure, Catholics have never faired well in Mississippi. I don’t trust the damn study. I think you were looking for this result and are only acting surprised. How many Catholics were on the research team? How many Catholics are there in Mississippi? How many crosses were burned on Catholic property?
    Research result: “Well, God bless their little Papist hearts, those Papist girls sleep around more than we do. I thought so.”

  • pagansister

    The results don’t surprise me at all.
    Hooking up seems to be just another way of saying “sleeping around”. And I agree, nnmns, pointless. But when one is drinking, one isn’t always doing any thinking.
    Many of the girls probably were raised in RC schools from the beginning, in order to make good Catholics out of them. Guess that doesn’t always work. Get to college, even a RC college and tend to break the mold and go for it!

  • Henrietta22

    I don’t believe this study at all. Maybe the ones doing it were having a little too much to drink, too.

  • cknuck

    “Researchers at Mississippi State University found that religious female students tend to hook up less, unless they attend Catholic-affiliated institutions”
    That is just a stupid statement. Who would fall for that bait.

  • Your Name

    Are these Catholic hookers-up allowed to serve in the military? I mean, they are, after all, SINNING, which seems to be the only justification for keeping gays out of the military.

  • Ed-words

    College ladies are old enough to develop their own sexual
    morals without any help from old celibate f—s.
    Ed X-Catho holic

  • trace_9r

    So, a ‘hook up’ is a “physical encounter”? So, how do we differentiate between a physical encounter like a hug or a kiss, and a physical encounter like full-blown sex? Way to lump them all together.
    If you polled students at a Catholic college to define ‘hooking up’, you would get all sorts of answers, because Catholics believe you can hook up with someone without giving yourself away by sinning.
    It’s the secular college students who are more likely to equate a ‘hook up’ with sex. If the writer of this article was forced to replace “hook up” with “have sex” in the title, the faux scandal about Catholics would not exist, because Catholics are way less promiscuous than secular students.
    But why worry about the facts when you can bash Catholics by hiding behind a completely arbitrary term like ‘hooking up’?

  • cknuck

    trace I agree the agenda is popular, bash Catholics/Christians. One can bend polls to serve agendas.

  • trace_9r

    Further, stories that refer to polls rarely tell you what terms were defined by the pollsters, and which terms were not.
    Also, regarding the comment in the second paragraph that qualify that these so-called ‘hook ups’ “carry no anticipation of a future relationship” in the mind of the college female, at first this reads like Catholics hook up just for the heck of it, and don’t care about lasting friendships. This too, is a secular point of view.
    Most Catholics are very discerning of the opposite sex during college, and see celibate relationships as a testing ground for a future mate. In fact, these “physical encounters” may be celibate and chaste, but existing between students who are dating. A student may still very appropriately have no unrealistic expectations or anticipations for a future relationship, i.e., marriage.

  • pagansister

    As with all college students, secular or RC or “other” there are some that are discerning and some that aren’t.

  • http://equusnomveritas.blogspot.com Equus Nom Veritas

    Hm, according to the paper in which this was published,
    “A “hookup” typically involves moderate to heavy alcohol consumption (a median of four drinks for women and six for men), and carries no anticipation of a future relationship (Bogle 2008; England, Shafer, and Fogarty 2007). Approximately 38 percent of hookups involve
    sexual intercourse, 15 percent involve oral sex without intercourse, and just over 31 percent involve kissing and nongenital touching (England, Shafer, and Fogarty 2007).”
    So Trace_9r’s theory about “hook-up” meaning kissing or hugging appears to be correct.
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122582750/PDFSTART

  • Confessoressa

    Most Catholics are culturally Catholic and not morally Catholic. I attended Catholic school from preschool through college as did my brothers who also attended minor seminary. I can tell you that they are for the most part not remaining celibate and do not take the directions from their catechism seriously. I remained celibate through a six year relationship in my teens and into my early 20′s because I was devoted to my religion. All the while there was much sexual activity happening around me and much sexual deviancy among the Catholics I knew including multiple instances of incest and molestation by priests.
    Any sexual feelings outside of missionary style sex in marriage is touted to be immoral in the Catholic Church and that leads to a lot of unhealthy behaviour and confusion about the self.
    Still freeing myself from the shackles of Catholicism. It is a religion I absolutely will not burden my child with.

  • pagansister

    After reading your post, Confessoressa, my statement earlier on about this article proves my point….Not surprised with the results of this particular survey.
    I taught in an RC school (preschool through 8th) and we had a couple of our 8th graders return to “show off” their babies…that’s fine, but they were still HS students and weren’t married. So much for RC education.

  • Anonymous

    For many years, I attended a Christian Codependency meeting. Ninety percent of the members had attended Catholic school. I was “raised” Catholic; sporadic church attendance to make my communion and such. But I did learn from that small bit of exposure that God keeps track of all your deeds. He writes them down in little black (bad) and white books (good) and when I die, He will put them on a scale and that weight determines my fate! I was taught that God was punishing and you would be sorry for whatever you did or didn’t do! I have a Catholic Missal that asks if I have sinned today and lists chewing gum in church as one of these sins!!!!
    Thank You, God, that I have learned that You love me unconditionally and therefore I have learned to love myself and others that way. I have learned that my self-esteem should equal this unconditional love. PRIOR to learning this, my self-esteem equalled OTHER PEOPLES’ OPINIONS + MY PERFORMANCE. The only thing that can fill that empty hole in us is GOD. Not sex, success, drugs, alcohol, relationships, etc.

  • Confessoressa

    Absolutely Anonymous. And may you continue to honor your worth and the value in every person.
    Pagansister,
    I remember a lot of hush hush about babies and a lot of condemnation about using contraception. Sadly, I was still unsure about whether it was okay or not to use contraception after my marriage and would go back and forth about using it. My now exhusband often told me that it was making me gain weight, changing my personality, would make me prone to cancer, etc. etc. which made me doubt my burgeoning feelings about it. There is a lot of judgement happening by Christians and some of it has dangerous and lasting repercussions.

  • NDIrish

    why was the study only conducted on women???? kind of a patriarchal view that women are the culpable ones worthy of opprobrium, while men are just doing what’s natural…oh yeah – I forgot…
    also – the definition of hookup, 30% don’t involve sex, so it seems like a poorly planned study – there should have been some differentiation considering that the religious aspect was specifically of interest to the researchers, including both ‘moral’ & ‘immoral’ hook-ups in the same research question seems stupid.
    Lastly, I wonder whether Christian colleges included places like Harvard, Yale etc…which upon their foundation were Christian or only new evangelical colleges….the research is flawed & leaves lots more open questions than it answers

  • pagansister

    Confessoressa:
    Amazingly enough, the RC school I taught in had a rather comprehensive sex ed course. It was taught by the middle school (6,7,8) science teacher. She introduced them to condoms…so perhaps there is hope for the RCC after all! When I realized that, I was pleased but surprised.

  • Your Name

    Just thought, were you not taught the “natural” RC birth control method, or as I call it..Russian Roulette?

  • Confessoressa

    My understanding is that the natural method is somewhat reliable (for married couples) if you use it correctly. My brother and his wife did although they now have a baby (not sure if that was planned).
    BUT, think about this?
    If the purpose of intercourse is procreation then why is natural family planning permissible when other forms of contraceptive aren’t?
    Would like a valid argument for that.
    And PS, I received NO sex education unless you want to count comments made to me such as, “A guy putting his tongue in your mouth is like satan (the snake) going in there”. ~ quote from my beloved mom. LOL

  • pagansister

    Good question, Confessoressa. If you don’t want to get pregnant, what difference does it make how you prevent it? It is still a chance with the “natural” method, because there is no “artificial” method involved and the egg and sperm COULD get together (because GOD wanted you too…a gift from the boss). Heck, I’ve known more than a few folks (RC) who have that OOPS kids because they WERE using the RC method.
    ALL this is most certainly advice for MARRIED couples! No messing about if not married. :o)
    Your Beloved Mom’s advise? I think if I were young enough that would be a scary thought! :o) My Mom told me never to “sit in a boy’s lap” but never told me WHY!!

  • Henrietta22

    O.k. here’s another funny from my 6th grade in L.I.. A little girl of ten like me ran up to me one morning and said so and so are in the Principal’s office because he was trying to p– p– in her panties! I thought that was the most disgusting thing I ever heard of and that never happened in N.J.! Someone should write a book of how they were introduced to sex in America.

  • pagansister

    Henrietta, I expect we all have stories about our (or other’s ) intro into that facinating world of “sex”. :o) I also have a feeling that somewhere someone has already written that book….which didn’t make the best seller list!

  • MP

    Confessoressa,
    Regarding Natural Family Planning, it is not meant to be a means of contraception, per se, but a means for a couple to determine whether *now* is an acceptable time for them to have a child, and how best to either avoid or achieve pregnancy. According to Catholic teaching, a couple must never prevent conception without grave reason to do so, but should be open to the gift of life any time they engage in sexual relations. This does not mean that they must *try* to conceive, but that they should be willing to accept a child if God gives them one.
    If there is grave reason to avoid conception, such as serious health concerns, grave financial burden, etc., then NFP gives a couple the means to determine when the woman is fertile by reading the natural signs of her body, and therefore determine when they should abstain from having sexual relations. I stress the importance here of *grave reasons*… To use NFP as a means to avoid pregnancy without grave reason is to use it as contraception, which is not its fundamental purpose, and is not approved by the teachings of the Church. This is also why NFP is most effective when used by married couples; it was designed for couples in a stable relationship who are willing to honestly evaluate where they stand in their readiness to build a family. It takes communication, planning, and a serious commitment to honor the signs of the woman’s fertility cycle. When these signs are carefully followed, NFP is about 97-99% effective in helping couples avoid pregnancy, depending on how liberal or conservative a couple is in abstaining during the fertile time.
    Please bear in mind that when Catholics give consent to marry, they promise before God and witnesses that they will be open to having children if God should give them. That is perhaps one difference between Catholic marriage and non-Catholic marriage. I don’t know if any other churches require that promise.
    I hope that clarifies things a little bit for you. NFP isn’t about having sex without having children, as contraception is; rather, it’s about reserving sex only for the times when a couple can freely accept children.
    Peace to you and yours.

  • pagansister

    MP, that was a clear explanation of the NFP. Have heard that before, but had forgotten the details. As I have mentioned above, I’ve known many RC families, having taught in an RC school for 10 years. Many of those families only had 2-3 children. In fact the teachers I worked with (all RC but 1) had at the most 4. Somehow I don’t think they were counting on that method to stop the size of their family. The RC method can be totally unreliable if a woman’s periods aren’t regular…that could make for a really strained sexual relationship. All this to say…if a RC couple wants to live dangerously when it comes to having or not having children…they have to feed and clothe the ones who were not planned. The RC doesn’t have to do that. Babies are not always “gifts” . Just my opinion, but the RC is saying women are basicly to continue producing children as long as they are able. My adopted son and his wife were married in an RC church (she was Catholic). She did the vows about reproducing (be fruitful etc.) but found that was unacceptable to her, so she left the RC and is now raising their 2 children in a non-denominational Christian church. They only want 2 children so they can provide for them. Her mother totally understands and has no problem with it. Her mom is still a practicing Catholic. So that method certainly isn’t acceptable to all RC. Some leave the church because of it. Leaving baby making to chance or nature, just doesn’t cut it.

  • Your Name

    MP,
    With all due respect to your thorough explanation on NFP, I am already educated in what you said and it did not answer my post:
    “If the purpose of intercourse is procreation then why is natural family planning permissible when other forms of contraceptive aren’t”
    And as for funny stories…when my six year old asked me how pregnancy happens, I told him that generally a man puts his *****(not sure I can say that here?) in a woman and semen may come out of it, then her body does the rest. I figured that was the simplest answer to give. He was quiet for a few minutes and then exclaimed, “Mom, WHY would a woman want a ***** in her mouth like that!!!”
    Oh my, I had forgotten to tell him where it is put.

  • pagansister

    YN:
    Thanks for the story…very good! :o)

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