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College Hookups: Sex At Parties More Acceptable Than Sex On First Dates, Study Reveals

08/15/2013 11:29 EDT | Updated 08/17/2013 10:57 EDT
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A new U.S. study finds that university students say hooking up at a party is more acceptable than sex on a first date.

Researchers from Middle Tennessee State University recruited 300 college students to respond to questions about sexual behaviors, Livescience reported on Tuesday.

The students were asked to explain their feelings regarding the following scenario: a couple meets a party and has sex that night, and then later they go on a date, which ends in a kiss.

Findings showed that the students viewed the party versus the date as "drastically different," with each having their own set of rules, LiveScience reported. The students said that hooking up at a party was considered acceptable, but not on a first date, even if the couple had previously had sex the night of the party.

"Our findings suggest that different behavior by the exact same people is really based on the context or the situation...not necessarily just the person, who they are, their values or their desires," said study researcher Gretchen Webber, according to the report. "It really shows the dominance of the setting for directing people's behavior."

Alcohol was also a key difference in the two scenarios, with the students assuming the sexual behaviors were influenced by alcohol at the party, while the date suggested an interest in a relationship, which requires conversation in more sober circumstances.

Webber presented her findings this week at the American Sociological Association's 108th Annual Meeting in New York.

In a separate study presented at the conference, University of Portland researchers say that college students today aren't having any more casual sex than students from 20 years ago. By comparing survey responses from students in college at some point during the years 1988-1996 with those of students who were in college at some point during 2002-2010, the researchers found few differences in sexual attitudes and behaviors.

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