Study explains why college women abandon courtship for hook-ups

This study is from the Institute for American Values. It was done by Elizabeth Marquardt.

The PDF of study is here.

If you download the 88 page PDF, the first few pages are an executive summary.

I’d been exposed to this research before when I read Dr. Miriam Grossmann’s book “Unprotected”. (Boundless review here) I just got Dr. Miriam Grossmann’s new book “You’re Teaching My Child What?” and I also got Elizabeth Marquardt’s new book “Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce”. I don’t think either of them is conservative, but I like their research anyway.

There are a couple of things that really struck me about this IAV study on hooking-up.

First, this one from p. 15:

A notable feature of hook ups is that they almost always occur when both participants are drinking or drunk.

A Rutgers University student observed, “You always hear people say, oh my gosh, I was so drunk, I hooked up with so and so…” Perhaps not surprisingly, many noted that being drunk helped to loosen one’s inhibitions and make it easier to hook up. A number of students noted that being drunk could later serve as your excuse for the hook up. A Yale University student said, “Some people like hook up because they’re drunk or use being drunk as an excuse to hook up.” A New York University student observed, “[Alcohol is] just part of an excuse, so that you can say, oh, well, I was drinking.”

A Rutgers University student commented, “If you’re drinking a lot it’s easier to hook up with someone… [and] drugs, it’s kind of like a bonding thing… and then if you hook up with them and you don’t want to speak to them again, you can always blame it on the drinking or the drugs.”

Other women observed that being drunk gives a woman license to act sexually interested in public in ways that would not be tolerated if she were sober. For instance, a University of Michigan student said, “Girls are actually allowed to be a lot more sexual when they are drunk…”

A University of Chicago junior observed, “One of my best friends… sometimes that’s her goal when we go out. Like she wants to get drunk so I guess she doesn’t have to feel guilty about [hooking up].”

Some reported that drinking had led them to do things they later regretted. A University of Virginia student said, “My last random hook up was last October and it was bad. I was drunk and I just regretted it very much.”

And this one from p. 30 on the effects of hooking-up on their future commitments:

A few women did see an unambiguous connection between present relationships and future marriage.

[…]Many women either saw little or no connection between present and future relationships, or their understanding of this connection was curiously flat. A student at New York University said, “[The present and the future are] connected because I will still have the same values and principles that I have now, but I just won’t be single anymore.”A number of women said that the present and the future are connected because whatever heartache or confusion they experience now gives them lessons for the future.

A University of Michigan student said, “Early relationships prepare you for marriage because it’s like, oh, what type of person do I want to be with? Oh, I’ve had these bad experiences. Or, I’ve learned from this relationship that I should do this and I shouldn’t do this.”

A sophomore at Howard University said that “I am kind of learning from a lot of the mistakes that I have made.” At a further extreme, some women saw their future marriage as the reason to experiment widely in the present. A Rutgers University student said,“I think hooking up with different people and seeing what you like and don’t like is a good idea. Because eventually you’re going to have to… marry someone and I’d just like to know that I experienced everything.”

Although it is admirable to take risks and learn from one’s mistakes, these women would probably find it difficult to explain how having your heart broken a few or even many times in your early years — or trying to separate sex from feeling, as in hooking up — is good preparation for a trusting and happy marriage later on.

And on p. 42, we learn what women think marriage is and isn’t for:

For instance, in the on-campus interviews one student complained, “[With] marriage…you have to debate everything… Why do you need a piece of paper to bond a person to you? …But I know if I don’t get married I’ll probably feel like… [a] lonely old woman… If anything, I’d get married [because of] that.”

This student went on to say that she would be satisfied to live with a man, but added that, if the man was committed to her, he would offer to marry her, and that this was the kind of commitment that she wanted. A student at the University of Washington said,“I don’t want to get married right after I graduate from college. I just think that would stunt my growth in every way that there is. I would like to be in a very steady, committed relationship with a guy.”

And on p. 44, we learn that they like co-habitation, which increases the risk of divorce by about 50% (but they don’t know that):

In the national survey, 58 percent of the respondents agreed that “It is a good idea to live with someone before deciding to marry him.” This belief often coexists with a strong desire to marry, because it was embraced by 49 percent of the respondents who strongly agreed that marriage was a very important goal for them.

[…]Women we interviewed on campus reflected a similar range of attitudes about cohabitation. Some women thought that cohabitation was a good way to test whether one could spend a lifetime with a potential partner. In such cases, women often cited fears of divorce as the reason for trying cohabitation first. A senior at the University of Washington said, “I kind of don’t really see marriages work ever, so I want to make sure that everything’s all right before [we get married]. I don’t see how people can get married without living together because I know like I have a best friend and I live with her and we want to kill each other, like, every few months.”

Other women felt that, in an age of divorce, cohabitation was a preferable alternative to marriage. A student at New York University said, “You see so [many] people getting divorces… I just don’t see the necessity [of marriage].” She went on to say, “I think that I don’t have to be married to [the] person that I’m with…. You know like… Goldie Hawn [and Kurt Russell]? They’re not married.”

But let’s get back to the drinking and the hook-up sex…

Once a woman abandons femininity for feminism, then sex is all that she can use to get noticed by a man. Men are like hiring managers, and courting is like a job interview for the job of marriage and mothering. If a woman tries to get the job by having sex with the interviewer, he isn’t going to hire her since sex has nothing to do with the job. There are children involved, you know – he has to think of them when he makes the hiring decision. But women have been taught to think bad things about men (they’re rapists) and marriage (it’s slavery) by feminists – so they don’t even try to understand men, or to respect men, or prepare their character for being a wife and mother. Feminists just don’t understand that hard work is needed to understand men and prepare for marriage.

In a previous post, I explained how feminists wanted to get women to drink like men, have sex like men, and to abolish courtship and marriage. Under the influence of feminism and Hollywood celebrities, women began to choose men to have sex with without any consideration of morality, religion, marriage, etc. They thought that sex was an easy way to trick a man into committing to them without having to treat him like a real person, or to take the demands of marriage and parenting seriously. (They have been taught to value education and careers over husbands and children, you understand). This results in a cycle of binge-drinking, one-night-stands, cheating, co-habitating, breaking-up, stalking, aborting, etc., until the woman’s ability to trust and love anyone but herself is completely destroyed. And yet these college women somehow believe this is “adventurous”, that it makes them feel “sexy”, and that the experience of being selfish and seeing the worst kind of men acting in the worst possible ways, point blank, somehow prepares them for marriage and motherhood.

Often, a young unmarried woman’s biological father was NOT selected by her mother based on his ability to make commitments and moral judgments. Many feminists prefer men who do not judge women morally, nor impose his religion on her. But those very things that young unmarried  women today seem to dislike most about men, because they fear rejection on moral and religious grounds, are exactly the things that make men good husbands and fathers. They don’t want to be judged or led spiritually, so they choose immoral, non-religious men. Men who are not firm on morality and religion do cannot be counted on to act morally and self-sacrificially. And when they fail, and the marriages break up, the children grow up fatherless and may develop negative views of men.

Every young unmarried woman who chooses a bad man, and then has a bad experience with him is pushing away marriage with both hands. The more she destroys her ability to trust, love and care for others, the less she is able to be happy and effective in a marriage.

6 thoughts on “Study explains why college women abandon courtship for hook-ups”

  1. A few thoughts:

    Men think that sex is very important in marriage. I’ve heard men say that they would never marry a woman who waits for marriage, because they don’t know what she’s going to be like in bed or her libido might be too low for him. It’s that whole nauseating thing about “test-driving a car before you buy it.”

    That said, the correct way to deal with this is to hold men to higher standards, not to drop down to the level of the worst of the opposite sex.

    Moreover, having had my heart broken when I did everything right – know the men before dating them, not drink at all (except, well, a glass of wine with my parents), explain my beliefs about chastity, I cannot FATHOM why anyone would want to live through that – or live through a worse version of it.

    I also can’t understand why anyone would want to give the best of herself to a bunch of horny, heartless strangers, then leave her future husband to clean up the mess.


    1. I’m right with you on this Bridget:

      “I also can’t understand why anyone would want to give the best of herself to a bunch of horny, heartless strangers, then leave her future husband to clean up the mess.”

      Excerpt it’s the men I’m thinking of. Even if sex doesn’t affect us men as much, I expect men to give the best of themselves to the woman they choose to marry.


    2. “I’ve heard men say that they would never marry a woman who waits for marriage, because they don’t know what she’s going to be like in bed or her libido might be too low for him. It’s that whole nauseating thing about “test-driving a car before you buy it.”

      Yes, that’s a nauseating viewpoint. We women are NOT cars or property to be tested out before buying. Yes, men should be careful of who they marry (as should women), but they should be checking worldview, not sexual experience.

      If a man wants a woman who is loose and immoral and will give herself away without commitment, then that is exactly what they will get with a philosophy like that. But if they want a faithful and loving wife and good mother for their children, they will want a woman who has demonstrated that she can control herself and hold out for commitment.

      Besides, sexual ability grows with practice within a loving and committed marriage relationship. How a woman (or a man, for that matter) performs in bed initially tells you next to nothing about her sex drive or how she will perform in bed over the long term. Research has shown that the best and most satisfying sex is had by those who have been married 10 or more years to each other. I would say that the best predictor of how a woman will perform in bed during a lifelong marriage is how healthy (i.e. Biblical) her view of sex and marriage is and how well she understands (or is willing to learn about) male sexuality.

      Also, this whole idea that a woman who waits for marriage to have sex must have low libido is ridiculous. Whoever thinks that must think that those with a normal libido cannot control themselves. The only way to control yourself must be to have no desire for sex. That is absolutely not true. Those of us who saved ourselves for our husbands are usually not cold fish (and we have happy husbands who will attest to that).


  2. The article does a good job of identifying the effects of hook-up culture, but it doesn’t do a good job of understanding why it exists and what to do about it. Their recommendations reveal this.

    They write:

    “1. Recognize that older adults, including parents, college administrators, and other social leaders, should have important roles in guiding the courting and mating practices of the young. The virtual disappearance of adult participation in, or even awareness of, how today’s young people find and marry one another should be seen as a major social problem, and should end.”

    Problem: many adults think that sex won’t affect you negatively, and therefore they don’t worry about this behavior. Besides, given sexual moral relativism and the equality of all lifestyles, who are they to say that a behavior is wrong?

    “2. Recognize that college women typically do not yearn for a series of “close relationships,” but instead the majority seek long-term commitment and marriage.”

    Problem: Sure, that’s what they say, but their behavior belies their statements. If they valued what they say, then they wouldn’t hook-up. Women have moral agency, and they are the gatekeepers of sex.

    “3. There appears to have been a reduction in male initiative in dating on college campuses. Recognize that the burden of dating and mating should not fall on women alone, and that there is a need for greater male initiative.”

    Problem: Women are the gatekeepers of sex. Men are responding to a changing market. They don’t need to ask women on dates to get what they want. Again, it is women who opened these gates. And men respond.

    “4. Support the creation of socially prescribed rules and norms that are relevant to and appropriate for this generation, and that can guide young people with much more sensitivity and support toward the marriages they seek.”

    Problem: This will never happen, since you can’t create rules and norms out of thin air without some justification. Unless the price of sex goes up, there won’t be a change. The market for sex is set by sellers and buyers. Imposing on artificial won’t do anything.

    But this leaves the question: why is access to sex so easy? Why does this culture exist? The feminist Hanna Rosin thinks that easy-sex is required by feminism. If the sex weren’t easy, and women focused on families and marriage, then they wouldn’t be able to push as hard in their careers. Therefore, it’s a necessary consequence of feminism. Without feminism, to get sex, they would require marriage. Thus, it’s just a finely balanced market, given the desires and goals of the participants.


  3. It is a shame to see this culture in action and all the myths being swallowed up by students (ie. you need to have sex before marrying to make sure you’re “compatible”). I grew up with conservative moral values, but surrounded by female friends who didn’t share these values. One of them tried sleeping around a lot for the experience. Another, despite becoming a Christian, entered an “open marriage” that later went south.

    It’s depressing even among youth crowds of Christian young women you can tell that most have had less than pure love lives but they don’t have anyone to talk to about it because they feel they are being measured against an impossible standard of perfection and so they shy away from talking and just let the one “pure” person in the group tell them the requisite dogma about saving sex until marriage. But they don’t identify and nobody is talking to them where they’re at. It is possible to get out of the rat race of promiscuity, but it’s tough and requires a force of will that only God can give us.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s