A closer look at the hook-up culture at the University of Pennsylvania

Stuart Schneiderman linked to a balanced article from the New York Times Magazine which offers scary insights into the hook-up culture at one of our elite universities.

First, feminism is definitely a driver of the hook-up culture, and women are voluntarily choosing it:

At 11 on a weeknight earlier this year, her work finished, a slim, pretty junior at the University of Pennsylvania did what she often does when she has a little free time. She texted her regular hookup — the guy she is sleeping with but not dating. What was he up to? He texted back: Come over. So she did. They watched a little TV, had sex and went to sleep.

Their relationship, she noted, is not about the meeting of two souls.

“We don’t really like each other in person, sober,” she said, adding that “we literally can’t sit down and have coffee.”

Ask her why she hasn’t had a relationship at Penn, and she won’t complain about the death of courtship or men who won’t commit. Instead, she’ll talk about “cost-benefit” analyses and the “low risk and low investment costs” of hooking up.

“I positioned myself in college in such a way that I can’t have a meaningful romantic relationship, because I’m always busy and the people that I am interested in are always busy, too,” she said.

“And I know everyone says, ‘Make time, make time,’ ” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity but agreed to be identified by her middle initial, which is A. “But there are so many other things going on in my life that I find so important that I just, like, can’t make time, and I don’t want to make time.”

It is by now pretty well understood that traditional dating in college has mostly gone the way of the landline, replaced by “hooking up” — an ambiguous term that can signify anything from making out to oral sex to intercourse — without the emotional entanglement of a relationship.

Until recently, those who studied the rise of hookup culture had generally assumed that it was driven by men, and that women were reluctant participants, more interested in romance than in casual sexual encounters. But there is an increasing realization that young women are propelling it, too.

Hanna Rosin, in her recent book, “The End of Men,” argues that hooking up is a functional strategy for today’s hard-charging and ambitious young women, allowing them to have enjoyable sex lives while focusing most of their energy on academic and professional goals.

And a bit more about “A”:

For A., college is an endless series of competitions: to get into student clubs, some of which demand multiple rounds of interviews; to be selected for special research projects and the choicest internships; and, in the end, to land the most elite job offers.

As A. explained her schedule, “If I’m sober, I’m working.”

In such an overburdened college life, she said, it was rare for her and her friends to find a relationship worth investing time in, and many people avoided commitment because they assumed that someone better would always come along.

“We are very aware of cost-benefit issues and trading up and trading down, so no one wants to be too tied to someone that, you know, may not be the person they want to be with in a couple of months,” she said.

Instead, she enjoyed casual sex on her terms — often late at night, after a few drinks, and never at her place, she noted, because then she would have to wash the sheets.

[…]“‘I’ve always heard this phrase, ‘Oh, marriage is great, or relationships are great — you get to go on this journey of change together,’ ” she said. “That sounds terrible.

“I don’t want to go through those changes with you. I want you to have changed and become enough of your own person so that when you meet me, we can have a stable life and be very happy.”

In the meantime, from A.’s perspective, she was in charge of her own sexuality.

“I definitely wouldn’t say I’ve regretted any of my one-night stands,” she said.

“I’m a true feminist,” she added. “I’m a strong woman. I know what I want.”

At the same time, she didn’t want the number of people she had slept with printed, and she said it was important to her to keep her sexual life separate from her image as a leader at Penn.

“Ten years from now, no one will remember — I will not remember — who I have slept with,” A. said. “But I will remember, like, my transcript, because it’s still there. I will remember what I did. I will remember my accomplishments and places my name is hung on campus.”

These high-powered feminist students are having sex with strangers because they are “hot”, not because they are in love or because the man is marriage-enabled.

I think the key point about this is that these women think that they are actually on a path to marriage by focusing on themselves and their careers. Their alcohol abuse is a path to marriage. Their promiscuity with bad boy men who have no interest in marriage is a path to marriage. Their career and selfishness is a path to marriage. This despite the fact that research clearly shows that the number of sexual partners that a woman has before marrying directly impacts her ability to perform in a relationship. It raises her expectations of who she thinks she is entitled to while diminishing her ability to perform marriage obligations for a marriage-minded man.

Nothing that these women are doing is preparation for actual commitment and support. They can’t even converse with men, much less do the duties of a wife. Their ability to choose a man who can perform actual husband/father duties is not being formed by study or courtship. There is no wisdom. There is no self-sacrifice. There is no chastity. There is no support. There is no communication. These women are pro-abortion – that’s their view of  the rights and dignity of children. They are pro-gay marriage – that’s their view of providing for children’s relationship needs. These are literally the worst women in the world to marry. Their ignorance of what they must do to be good wives and mothers, and their messed up criteria for choosing men who can be husband and fathers makes them the worst women in the world to marry.

Read this carefully:

Some women went to college wanting a relationship, but when that seemed unlikely, they embraced hooking up as the best alternative. M., an athletic freshman with long legs and a button nose, arrived at college a virgin and planned to wait to have sex until she had her first boyfriend, something she expected to happen in college. But over the course of the fall, as she saw very few students forming relationships, she began to lose hope about finding a boyfriend and to see her virginity as a hindrance.

“I could be here for four years and not date anyone,” she said she realized. “Sometimes you are out, and there’s a guy you really are attracted to, and you kind of want to go back home with him, but you kind of have that underlying, ‘I can’t, because I can’t just lose my V-card to some random guy.’ ”

At a party in the spring semester, she was taking a break from dancing when she ran into a guy she had had a class with in the fall. They started talking, then danced until the party was over. M. went back to his room, where they talked some more and then started making out.

By this time, she said, “I wasn’t very drunk — I was close to sober,” which made her believe she could make a considered decision.

“I’m like, ‘O.K., I could do this now,’ ” she recalled thinking. “ ‘He’s superhot, I like him, he’s nice. But I’m not going to expect anything out of it, either.’ ”

The alternative, she said, was that “I could take the chance that one night I get really drunk and sleep with someone that I don’t want to sleep with, which probably is what would have ended up happening.”

So she had sex with him. In the morning, he walked her home.

“Honestly, all of my friends, they’re super envious, because I came back with the biggest smile on my face,” M. said. As she had expected, she and the guy remained friendly but nothing more. Yet she was still happy with her decision.

“All of my friends are jealous, because I had such a great first experience,” she added. Over spring break, she slept with someone else.

In general, she said, she thought that guys at Penn controlled the hookup culture. But women played a role as well.

“It’s kind of like a spiral,” she said. “The girls adapt a little bit, because they stop expecting that they’re going to get a boyfriend — because if that’s all you’re trying to do, you’re going to be miserable. But at the same time, they want to, like, have contact with guys.” So they hook up and “try not to get attached.”

Now, she said, she and her best friend had changed their romantic goals, from finding boyfriends to finding “hookup buddies,” which she described as “a guy that we don’t actually really like his personality, but we think is really attractive and hot and good in bed.”

I think I would really like everyone reading this to just read that over a few times, and let that sink in. You have a minority of good looking athletic men having sex with most of the women on campus, while the majority of men who opt-out of the hook-up culture and want to court and marry are left wondering where all the women went. And many of those will reinvent themselves as “bad boys” in order to at least get some contact with women, so that there are even fewer chaste, marriage-enabled men.

So, what are we seeing? We are seeing that women think of extra-marital sex as a form of recreation. When I was a student, I completed a Bachelor degree and Masters degree, both in computer science, and this is what I saw women doing. There was no interest in courting or marriage whatsoever, and no concern about preserving chastity or courting effectively with the goal of marriage. They did not want to hear about moral values, moral obligations, theological debates or apologetics. They were all into feeling good and being popular – a popularity facilitated by “hooking up” with good-looking promiscuous athletes.

I really recommend reading some of Dr. Schneiderman’s comments on this article. He is really not happy about it, and he puts the blame squarely on feminists. As do I. Radical feminism is the ideology that gave us abortion, fatherlessness and divorce come from. We should call it what it is: selfish and destructive.

Update: Nancy P. posted a link to this rebuttal to the NYT article on Facebook to talk me down from the ledge.


The article somehow overlooked a recent survey of 3,907 students that found only 1 in 10 people in college said they had had casual sex in college, with men being twice as likely as women to have such an encounter. Or that at a comparable Ivy League school, Harvard University, two-thirds of the class of 2013 said in a survey they had two or fewer sexual partners during college.

That’s good data that does calm me down a little.

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13 thoughts on “A closer look at the hook-up culture at the University of Pennsylvania”

  1. I think that the way these young women view sex is even worse than seeing it as recreation. These young women view sex and relationships as business transactions. I was astounded at the way “A” describes being “very aware of cost-benefit issues and trading up and trading down.” She’s not describing stocks; she’s describing sex and relationships. The divorce of emotion from sex has resulted in young women who view sex as a transaction, not a component of a loving union between a man and a woman, because that would get in the way of her pursuing a career which she views as significantly more important to her future than marriage.

    I also find her comment about her promiscuity painfully revealing: “Ten years from now, no one will remember — I will not remember — who I have slept with,” A. said. “But I will remember, like, my transcript, because it’s still there. I will remember what I did. I will remember my accomplishments and places my name is hung on campus.” This is so disturbing, to think that she wouldn’t remember who she has had sex with because the person is absent. To her, it’s like it never happened if the proof isn’t there so, in her mind, she’s absolved. Tellingly, she refused to have the number of sexual partners printed but I don’t think it’s for the reasons that she stated. I think she hopes to be able to remain in denial of her sexual past. I mean, she more or less admitted that she has to be drunk to do this and that doesn’t seem like a person who is as in charge as she likes to think.

    Unfortunately she will probably never change because to do so would require an honest examination of her past and her actions. That would be too painful for her so she’ll never do it. Like all liberals, she will insist on society validating her choices so that she never has to feel bad about her decisions. She has no idea how broken and dangerous she is.


    1. Thank you for this comment. I really appreciate your reaction to this. I literally cannot believe that the women who are putting the most effort into their educations can be so naive about the damage that they are doing to themselves with respect to being prepared for men and marriage and with respect to their ability to choose a good man for marriage and parenting. can they really not understand how seeing men art their worst like this, and their repeated experience of selfishness is a good preparation for an intimate relationship that requires communication and self-sacrifice?


  2. It’s really not all that surprising that this is happening at top universities, bastions of liberalism that they are. These are young, impressionable and intelligent young women who have been misled by their professors and their parents. I mean, what parent would want this for their child, male or female? This is horrible. And speaking from personal experience, my parents made no attempt to counter the liberal world-view even though they were self-professed Christian conservatives. Parents cannot say they are one thing while living a life that affirms the other. I think that expecting young women to compete with men in education and careers is a terrible mistake, one that well-intentioned fathers support just as much as feminist-indoctrinated mothers. So many people accept the status quo as correct and unchangeable they never question their actions: they are right by everyone else’s standards so they must be right.

    I agree with you that feminism is to blame. What an ideology of selfishness. This quote from “A” really takes the cake:

    […]“‘I’ve always heard this phrase, ‘Oh, marriage is great, or relationships are great — you get to go on this journey of change together,’ ” she said. “That sounds terrible.

    “I don’t want to go through those changes with you. I want you to have changed and become enough of your own person so that when you meet me, we can have a stable life and be very happy.”

    She is so important and selfish that she can’t be bothered to deal with the messiness that is inherent in relationships, namely because they involve people and she’d rather view everything as an object she can control — herself included.

    (P.S. I’m a new reader and I’ve really been enjoying your posts. Keep up the good work!)


    1. Yes, I think that parents really seem to be standing back and handing their children over to the university professors these days. My parents, for example, seemed to be very focused on their own lives – making money and entertaining themselves. My parents were moderate politically and non-Christian (nominally Muslim and Hindu). I got no guidance at all about what was happening to me in school and college – my parents didn’t even know what was going on.

      I became an evangelical Christian at a young age and embraced chastity before anything bad happened to me. I went into computer science so that I could avoid the ideologies that are everywhere in the non-quantitative fields. The humanities are generally hostile to conservatism and Christianity.


  3. All parties involved men & women are casualties as well as their future children and so on.
    It will be impossible to bond in marriage. Any children that come out of the marriage will result in “damage goods”.
    In terms of geo politics / geo morality this is a fantastic way to reduce the population as well as destroy a nation.


  4. ewwwww Shame – that’s what these women lack. And common sense too. Otherwise, they wouldn’t think that showing yourself naked to someone you just met was ok. And they would realize that they shouldn’t have to be drunk to do something they liked and new to be sensible.

    Reading this has taught me the true meaning of the word ‘slut’. It refers to a kind of woman so devoid of self worth that she’s willing to offer her body to the nearest person in return for nothing – not even pleasure. I will never use that word lightly again.


  5. We are seeing the slutification of our culture. No real man in his right mind would want to marry one of these skanks. Certainly not any of the guys who are bonking them every weekend. They are sitting around at the gym the next day, literally laughing their butts off with their friends at these fools, as they describe for each other the previous night’s conquest. I personally know someone like this who is now almost 40, never married but with children who have no father figure in their lives, and she constantly wonders why she can’t find anyone who wants to marry her. But she still hooks up whenever she feels like it.

    Fortunately there are many young men and women who do not buy into this way of life. I know many of them too.


  6. I’ve been following pro-life news items and comment threads relating to the Texas legislature demonstrations, and it is appalling how hardened, vulgar and vitriolic the young girls and women in the pro-abort camp are. One thing they are not is ladies – more like shrews. Do they have any hope of ever being good wives and mothers? Oops, sorry – that’s a big no-no for them, equated with slavery..:/.


    1. It’s due to the secular, liberal, modernist, anti-God, unrealistic this world utopia, worshiping the state, no afterlife agenda crammed down the throats of all children in government schools, from kindergarten through graduate school.


  7. And the men who aren’t participating, either because of principle or because they’re simply left out, who later on find these women coming crawling up to them, tired of badboys and wanting dependables instead, get yelled at by the Mark Driscolls of the world, told to ‘Man up!’ and marry the single moms who slutted around and got pregnant, as will happen.

    Men are wising up, and won’t be manipulated by such rhetoric.


  8. Nancy P. posted a link to this rebuttal to the NYT article on Facebook to talk me down from the ledge:


    The article somehow overlooked a recent survey of 3,907 students that found only 1 in 10 people in college said they had had casual sex in college, with men being twice as likely as women to have such an encounter. Or that at a comparable Ivy League school, Harvard University, two-thirds of the class of 2013 said in a survey they had two or fewer sexual partners during college.


  9. The NYT article is describing a small section of women at Penn State. It is important to realize this. The female author of the article most likely believes this is the correct behavior for young women and wants to promote it as the new normal for young university women. So the female author, I believe, has an agenda. She chose to write about the sexual behavior of a small section of young women at a 4 year school to convince the general public that this type of sexual behavior is now normal. The only problem is that it isn’t normal for many young women, in general, in the USA. At least not yet.

    I read somewhere that the Penn State student newspaper also printed a rebuttal.


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