(RNS) A new study of college women and dating finds that casual sexual encounters are prevalent, but close to a third of women on campus are virgins. "What is most surprising, perhaps, is that the college women in our study are not the libertines that many media portrayals of unmarried young adults would lead us to believe," reads a report conducted for the Independent Women's Forum by the Institute for American Values. The national survey, released Thursday (July 26), found that 39 percent of all college women said they had never had sexual intercourse. Nearly one-third -- 31 percent -- of seniors said they were virgins. Thirty-six percent of nonvirgins surveyed said they had not had sexual intercourse in the past month.

The study investigated women's feelings about "hooking up," described as a physical encounter between uncommitted couples that can range from kissing to having intercourse. Often these encounters take place when both participants have been drinking, the study said.

Forty percent of those surveyed nationwide said they had experienced a hook-up and 10 percent said they had had such an experience more than six times.

Researchers also delved into college women's views about marriage.

Eighty-three percent of respondents agreed with the statement "Being married is a very important goal for me." Sixty-three percent agreed that "I would like to meet my future husband in college."

The Independent Women's Forum is an Arlington, Va.-based organization that conducts research on policy issues concerning women. The Institute for American Values is a New York-based organization focused on the renewal of marriage and family life.

The 18-month study involved telephone interviews of 1,000 college women across the country and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The study also included in-depth interviews with 62 women on 11 college campuses.

more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad