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YouSpeak: Hooking Up Versus Dating

Students on the rewards of romance or just “doing it”


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A recent study by psychologists at Virginia’s James Madison University found that college students hooked up nearly twice as often as they went on real dates. While that finding might not be surprising to most students, here’s the kicker: in the same study, the majority of students (both male and female) said that given the choice, they’d prefer traditional dating.

We thought we’d put the question to BU students. So this week’s “YouSpeak” asks: “Do you prefer dating or hooking up?”

YouSpeak” appears each Monday.

If you have a suggestion for a question we should ask, post it in the comments section below.

Joseph Chan can be reached at joechan@bu.edu. Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu. John O’Rourke can be reached at orourkej@bu.edu.


10 Comments on YouSpeak: Hooking Up Versus Dating

  • Old Guy on 03.22.2011 at 7:10 am

    Pleasure tonight, sorrow for years

    Having watched the tragic dance of promiscuity in the thirty years since my own degree, I have to say the “real dating” students are on to something. That “something” is called marriage.

    The damages of sex outside of marriage aren’t visible to the young while they are incurring them. But treating another person – and your own self – like an object of pleasure hollows you out. It actually obstructs true sexual intimacy in marriage.

    And the fallacy that women are no different from men is also dangerous. It’s always the women – and eventually their children – who suffer the most.

    Late marriage, divorce, childlessness, emptiness, loneliness – these are the results, but they aren’t on the minds of 20-year-olds living in full dormitories with the intensity of college life and relative independence fresh and exciting. But you’ll see those forms of unhappiness begin unfolding after graduation.

    The human person yearns for a single meaningful lifelong bond that connects them from their parents’ time to their children’s. You want one person to whom you give yourself totally. College students may feel it, but they may not realize it internally.

    You can only give yourself once.

  • Anonymous on 03.22.2011 at 8:22 am

    I agree with the fourth interview, but strongly disagreed with the sixth. Keep it coming! Lol’s all around

  • Anonymous on 03.22.2011 at 9:36 am

    The idea that college-aged students who have sex lead lives of “sorrow” is absurd. The anti-pleasure brigade is always there but there is no need to listen to them.

    Of course you should respect yourself and your partner. Of course, a one-to-one relationship that is deep, trusting and loving is the optimal kind.

    If you want to wait before “hooking up” — then have the courage to say “no.” Otherwise, when having sex, use protection, respect each other’s limits, and try it sober — it feels better.

  • BB Leigh on 03.22.2011 at 10:02 am

    hook or high road

    save something in your life to be unique special fresh and new, most that do the hook up dance do so when they are less functional because of drugs, alcohol, or even frustration or low self esteem. Value yourself as someone special that should be respected and taken seriously. You are not children anymore, the boys will be boys excuse does not cut it any more, especially when it comes to intimacy between two human beings. Listen to the wisdom of the many who have made the mistake and traveled down the wrong path, they speak from their damaged hearts and speak because they care enough for you that they want you to prosper and not suffer the consequences of a spoiled soul. Oh, and the huge rise in infertility? Yes, those wonderful side effects of multiple partners, there really is no safe sex!

  • Anonymous on 03.22.2011 at 10:23 am

    The christian way

    Kids can’t be hooking up! Hooking up is the devil! The devillllllllll!!! hahahaaha.

  • Anonymous on 03.22.2011 at 12:27 pm

    where the gays at? The balance of “hooking up” v. “dating” would have definitely been skewed if it weren’t all hertero guys

  • Happily Engaged on 03.22.2011 at 5:35 pm

    You Have Dignity

    ABSOLUTELY. 100%. Absolutely. Thank you for your words of wisdom. You said what I would like to say better than I can.

    If you don’t respect yourself or your own body, who will? You have dignity and should treat others with dignity as well. That means not using someone’s body as means to end, that end being your own gratification. Have you ever thought about your future spouse? When you really find someone that you love, that you want to spend your life with, do you want to have to look that person in the eye and confess to them all the things that you have done with other people, who are possibly complete strangers? What if you get STD/Is? Would you want to pass those on to the one person that you love more than anyone else in the world? A condom won’t protect your heart. If you can’t say no to sex, what is your yes even worth?

  • David McBride on 03.22.2011 at 8:11 pm

    To the gentleman who thinks that “if I’m dating someone, I will pretty much know if they have an STD”…you’re really quite wrong. Some examples…one in five adults have genital herpes and most of those infected do not know that they have the infection, it is without symptoms. Despite that, it can still be spread to partners even when symptoms are not present. HPV infection most often has no symptoms. Chlamydia is asymptomatic in a most women and 50% of men and can be carried from one dating relationship into the next. HIV can be without symptoms for up to 10 years, yet still can be spread.

    SO! I’m very sex positive and think that college is a time when people discover who they are sexually. Whether you are dating or hooking up, it is crucial that you use a barrier method to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections. I have seen plenty of well groomed, intelligent, “clean looking” patients with STIs. If you choose to date and have sex (because you can date and NOT have sex) or hook up, please do your best to protect yourself.

    Remember that condoms are not the answer for everyone. If you’re a woman having oral sex with her girlfriend, for example…a condom is USELESS to you. Educate yourself on what protective equipment to use. Stay safe.

  • Anonymous on 03.22.2011 at 8:55 pm

    girls want to get some just as much as guys when they’re partying. don’t hate the player hate the game. sex on

  • Anonymous on 03.24.2011 at 1:51 am

    Totally agree with first post

    Most people don’t realize, but herpes is just as easily transmittable through oral sex, so it’s not worth hooking up with random people!

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