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Sex and College Students

By blmullins Mar 10, 2010 3361 Words
Brent Mullins
Dr. Lageman
Research Paper
March 27,2008
Sex and College Students

The purpose of this paper is to identify the circumstances associated with casual sex encounters. I found that casual sex is

 a common occurrence related to early sexual transition, engaging in first sex with a casual sex partner, drug use, and alcohol consumption. Casual sex occurred more often between "friends" than with strangers. 

 The transition to adulthood is a time of exploration and experimentation, and behavior patterns that will impact their emotional functioning and health as adults. The journey to adulthood often includes experimentation with sexual behaviors: the majority of adolescents first engage in intercourse before they graduate high school. I found that first intercourse experiences occurred in a romance for the majority of young people. Those who begin having intercourse at younger ages are more likely to engage in sexual intercourse with casual partners. 70% of college students report having engaged in intercourse with people they did not find romantic.

 Casual sexual relationships or encounters are referred to by a variety of names in research literature. In research these relations have been referred to as "chance encounters", "one-night stands" and "casual sex." Casual sexual relationships can be sexual interludes with strangers or they can be sex with a friend. They can be brief or long in duration. 

Regardless of terminology, all are describing sexual relationships in which the partners do not define the relationship as romantic or their partner as a boyfriend or girlfriend. These meetings are often superficial, based on sexual desire or physical

 attraction, spontaneous, and often impulsive, and they frequently involve drugs or alcohol. Broadening research to examine the

 context and full spectrum of sex behaviors of adolescents is important to the development of effective education programs and clinical interventions, 

as some adolescents may use oral sex as a substitution for intercourse by defining oral sex as "not having sex". 

 There is abundant evidence that gender is an important factor in casual sex participation, as males have consistently

 been found to have significantly more casual sex partners than females. For females, however, emotional investment is far more 

important, and sexual intercourse is often rewarding in contexts that command intimacy and emotional commitment. 

Females may comply and engage in sexual behavior with a casual sex partner if they believe or want the relationship

 to evolve into a new romance. Females tend to have more restrictive attitudes toward casual sex. They are often more 

partner- or relationship-conscious and may romanticize about their partners even when they do not know them well. It is this

 perception that may lead them to engage in sexual behavior with a partner before a relationship is established. When males comply with sex

 in a casual relationship, their motivation is often to increase their sexual experience, peer status, or popularity. On the other hand, females were more likely 

to comply with sex in a casual relationship to satisfy their partner or to increase intimacy in a potential relationship. 

 Individuals appear to have a variety of styles or approaches to relationships. Lee developed a series of ethnographic 

studies to assess love relationships. Following these analyses, Lee identified several love styles or approaches to interpersonal relationships: Eros (passionate love), Ludus (game-playing love), Storge (friendship love), Pragma (practical love), Mania (neurotic love), and Agape (altruistic love). These styles or approaches to relationships may influence the likelihood or risk of engaging in casual sexual relationships. Of particular interest are the Ludic and the Eros lovers. 

 Ludic lovers are in it for the game or conquest. They generally enter their romances with no intention of commitment. They will frequently have several partners simultaneously and rarely approach their relationships seriously. They are attracted to a variety of partners and enjoy sex in the absence of deep involvement. Individuals with a Ludic style thrive on attention and are often willing to take risks. Thus, it is expected that an individual who primarily approaches relationships with a Ludic style would engage in numerous casual sex unions. Eros is often described as passionate love, being struck by Cupid's arrow, or immediately falling deeply in love at first sight. The Eros lover possesses a definite idealized preference of the physical qualities of the romantic partner. He or she will typically experience powerful physical and sexual attraction for the desired partner early in the relationship. Although sex and passion are primary, the Eros lover is sensuous rather than promiscuous. Those who endorse an Eros style would also likely engage in casual sex relationships; however, the meaning of the relationship is likely different than that of the Ludic lover. Where the Ludic lover engages in sex for physical pleasure the Eros lover does so with the expectation of emotional intimacy. Research is especially limited on examining college students' sexual behaviors in casual sex relationships. Only a few studies have investigated psychological differences in functioning among non-virgin adolescents. Those studies provide evidence of differences not only between virgin and non-virgin individuals, but also within those who are sexually active. Adolescents, who transitioned one year later to romantic sex, but not to casual sex, did not appear significantly different in terms of depressive symptoms, delinquent behaviors, and victimization from those adolescents who had maintained their virgin status. However, adolescents who transitioned to casual sexual relationships during the year reported more symptoms of depression, participated in more delinquent behaviors, and were exposed to more physical violence. This finding was especially pronounced among younger adolescents. The constellation of problem behaviors, although exacerbated following transition to sexual intercourse, existed prior to transition while the adolescents were still virgins. In other words, sexual intercourse in the context of an emotionally committed relationship was not found to be associated with problematic behavior or functioning, but casual sex was associated with problematic functioning, and the problems existed before the adolescents ever engaged in sexual intercourse. Sexual behaviors have been strongly linked with depression, especially in younger females. 

College students with a history of casual sex had lower levels of self-esteem than college students who had been involved in romantic sexual relationships or who had no sexual experiences. They also found that individuals who had participated in casual sex relationships experienced significant guilt associated with their casual sexual encounters and suggested that feelings of guilt may further exacerbate feelings of low self-esteem. It is possible that sexual experiences in a romantic context may serve as for the development of healthy sexual attitudes and relational behaviors, whereas the meaning and effects of sex in a relationship without commitment may be quite different. 

Couple members often have differing sexual histories and expectations in their relationships; therefore, research needs to address the social and psychological context in which sex occurs, not just whether or not an individual has had sex. In other words, not all sexual relationships or encounters are alike. There appear to be distinctions between casual sex and romantic sex. Further disentanglement may reveal even more differentiation. For example, sex with a stranger may be very different than sex with a friend. 

 Alcohol consumption appears to have a direct link with casual sex. The relationship seems to be that the more alcohol is consumed, the more the probability of a casual sex encounter increases. Moreover, when it comes to the risky combination of sex and alcohol, gender makes little difference; males and females are more likely to engage in casual sex behaviors when alcohol is involved. Besides lowering sexual inhibitions, consuming alcohol increases perceptions of attraction to members of the opposite sex, further strengthening the likelihood of casual sexual encounters. 

In sum, low self-esteem, intoxication, relational style, and symptoms of depression may be factors that increase the probability for some individuals to engage in casual sex. 

Adolescents and emerging adults appear to value fidelity, regardless of their own sexual experiences, and to define infidelity with a range of behaviors that include talking, kissing, and intercourse with another person outside of the partnership. Sexual betrayal can be devastating to individuals who value exclusivity because they may experience the violation of trust and loyalty in addition to the loss of the partner. The betrayed partner often experiences feelings of anger, sadness, and depression. He or she may feel inadequate and unattractive and blame him/herself for the partner's betrayal. The unfaithful partner may also experience an array of negative affect, including feelings of guilt and confusion over violating persona values that may contribute to some depressive symptoms. 

 The social upheaval of the late '60s and early '70s, along with the ready availability of birth control pills, brought about a sexual revolution, which exploded on college campuses. The changes were radical: new freedoms, new notions of right and wrong, and the disappearance of rules, both institutional and personal, that had guided the generations before. Experimentation, spontaneity, and openness became the buzzwords of this new era. In the '50s "nice girls didn't." By the '70s, women who "didn't" felt the pressure to join the sexually active mainstream. Today, premarital sex is more the rule than the exception, but clearly there is no one standard of sexual conduct. Although some students engage in casual sex, a great many are more likely to have a series of relationships that include sex. 

 According to health service personnel on many campuses, students know less about sex and birth control than most adults think they do. In spite of generally available sex education courses, students remain ignorant about the relative safety and risks of various protective methods. At one university, an RA in an all-freshmen dorm called a member of the counseling staff the second week of school, requesting a workshop on sexuality immediately, because her residents were "bed-hopping" with what seemed to be little regard for the consequences of their behavior. 

 The whole subject of sexual practices among young people changed with the threat of aids. College administrators and students debate the format of educational campaigns - Should we dispense condoms? Should we educate about "safe sex" or should we address abstention the only responsible solution to this frightening problem? Ethical, moral, and legal questions relating to university policy have brought into the public domain questions usually reserved for private and intimate relationships. Students respond with varying degrees of anxiety. Some heterosexual students toss AIDS off as a problem for gay students, wearing the cloak of invincibility typical of their age and denying the reality of the threat to the heterosexual community. Others have made significant changes in their sexual behavior and are reevaluating this whole arena of their lives. 

As a result of the widespread media coverage, students have become increasingly aware of the dangers of other sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia, herpes, and genital warts, and these STDs are treated with regularity in college and university health services. Many students and parents are unaware that hepatitis B is a serious STD that can be prevented by a vaccination.

"Safe sex" no longer alludes simply to protection from pregnancy, but protection from disease and even death. It is difficult to assess how much influence these developments have had on the intimate relationships and bedroom behavior of college students. However, "caution," "abstention," and "monogamy" are part of the sexual idiom of many of today's students .
 
A 2001 survey by the American College Health Association indicated that approximately 60 percent of sexually active students are having unprotected sex. 

College-aged men and women agree on their top reasons for having sex: They were attracted to the person, they wanted to experience physical pleasure and "it feels good." Twenty of the top 25 reasons given for having sex were the same for men and women.

 Expressing love and showing affection were in the top 10 for both men and women, but they took a back seat to the clear No. 1: "I was attracted to the person.” past research suggests tha delinquent youths increases their likelihood of problem behavior. We test for analogous peer effects in the drug use and sexual behavior of male and female college students, using data on the characteristics of first-year roommates to whom they were randomly assigned. We find that males who reported binge drinking in high school drink much more in college if assigned a roommate who also binge drank in high school than if assigned a nonbinge-drinking roommate. No such multiplier effect is observed for females, nor are multiplier effects observed for marijuana use or sexual behavior for either males or females. Students who did not engage in these behaviors in high school do not appear to be affected by their roommate’s high school behavior. 

College students implicitly judge interracial sex and gay sex to be morally wrong. 

It turns out that courses with words like "sex" or "sexuality" in their titles are among the most popular classes offered on college campuses today. 


A study found that parents' knowledge or awareness of what's going on in their child's life at college is associated with fewer risky behaviors.

 Specifically, students who said their fathers were in the loop had a lower likelihood of doing drugs or engaging in risky sexual behaviors. When mothers were in the know, students were less likely to drink alcohol. 

The protective effect of mothers' awareness was more pronounced when the students also felt close to their mom. Under those circumstances, the researchers found that students were less likely to be involved in any of the three risk behavior categories studied: drugs, alcohol and risky sexual activity.

"For parents, the fact that closeness plays a strong role is a message to not be overbearing," Walker said. "Having a close relationship promotes the child wanting to open up and share what's going on rather than the parent having to intrusively solicit the information from the child."

By the time teenagers enter college these days, they're surprisingly sophisticated about some aspects of sex and disappointingly naive about others. They've grown up surrounded by sexual images in the media mixed with constant warnings that sex is inappropriate, immoral and quite possibly deadly.

10 things most college students already know about sex ... and 10 things they should know

1. Sex can be dangerous. College students are pretty savvy about the horrors of sex. They know sex can result in unwanted pregnancy or awful diseases. But having a keen awareness of the misery sex can cause other people does not necessarily mean that the majority of college students are safe or conscientious when it comes to making their own choices.

2. Men should wear condoms when having sex. They know this, all right - and yet knowing what one is supposed to do and actually doing it are two entirely different matters. Fewer than half of sexually active students report using condoms every time they have intercourse.

3. You always need to use birth control when having sex. Again, students know they ought to do this, but that doesn't mean they're consistent about protecting themselves.

4. Sex is fun; it feels good.

5. Alcohol can make sex easier. This is a distinctly male impression. But it goes beyond the erroneous (and possibly felonious) idea that if a guy gets a girl drunk, she'll more readily agree to have sex with him. It also speaks to the fact that when a guy is intoxicated, he feels bolder and braver, so asking for sex gets easier.

6. Sex absolutely must be consensual. College students do realize that no means no.

7. It isn't difficult to satisfy a man.

8. Women's sexuality is different from men's. Most students have a vague sense that women respond to extended foreplay, and that they're often more orgasmic through methods other than intercourse.

9. There's more kink out there than most people think. College students today are familiar with all kinds of sexual diversity: homosexuality, bisexuality, threesomes, S&M, bondage, the works. 

10. One-night stands can have major repercussions. 

 College students know that in one way or another they'll have to deal with whatever fallout a brief sexual episode stirs up in their partner or themselves. They know the idea of "free love" never really worked for their parents because sex can almost never be inconsequential. 

 What they should know: 

1. Anyone can get an STD. Despite all the warnings, students still think that sexually transmitted diseases happen only to other people. Based on their behavior, students apparently do not know that they need to use barrier protection for oral sex; very few ever do. They don't know that you can't tell if someone has a disease by how "clean" they seem. They don't know that a guy needs to use a condom and a girl needs to use spermicide every single time they have sex. Even when they do use condoms, students don't always know the right way to put them on or, just as important, take them off. They especially don't like to think about the fact that, as one student put it, "There are so many people who have slept with so many other people on campus that you never know what someone might have. You've got to be careful. You can't tell by looking who has what."

2. Preventing pregnancy requires thought and effort.

3. Sex and alcohol make poor bedfellows. The "just say no to sex" campaign has had one unintended side effect: the marriage of alcohol and sex among college-age men and women who find they're too inhibited to do it sober.

4. Choosing a partner shouldn't be a simple thing.

5. It takes skill to please a woman.

6. Men need to pace themselves. Women seem to agree that men rush everything. They try to hustle their dates into bed too soon, and once there, they hurry to get down to the "real business" at hand: intercourse and orgasm.

7. Everybody has different sexual needs. Beyond all the sweeping generalizations about men, women and sex lies another deeper truth: We're all a little different. Our individual desires, preferences, fantasies and physical responses are complex. We each have a sexual "fingerprint" that's unique and is constantly evolving over time.

8. You have to communicate your desires. Telling a partner what really gets you going means taking responsibility for your full-blown sexuality.

9. Sex has a big emotional impact. No matter how cavalier students want to be about sex, there's no getting around the fact that when two people open their bodies to each other, they become vulnerable in unexpected and unimaginable ways. Our sexuality is tied inexorably to our emotional life. Women seem to know this instinctively, while some men prefer to think they won't feel any more of an emotional attachment to their sexual partners than they do to their school's football team. Yet, sexual involvement always triggers our fears, hopes, angers, yearnings.

10. Sex is about relationships. Sex doesn't happen in a vacuum. It occurs between two people in the context of a relationship, whether that relationship lasts two hours, two years or a lifetime. And since every relationship is forever changing. Each relationship, each odd coupling of two special individuals, produces its own surprises. If you understand that, you'll have learned your lessons well. 

After compiling a list of the 237 reasons why people have sex, researchers found that young men and women get intimate for mostly the same motivations. It's more about lust in the body than a love connection in the heart. College-aged men and women agree on their top reasons for having sex -- they were attracted to the person, they wanted to experience physical pleasure and "it feels good.” twenty of the top 25 reasons given for having sex were the same for men and women in college.   Expressing love and showing affection were in the top 10 for both men and women, but they did take a back seat to the clear No. 1: "I was attracted to the person."


March 25 2008 .

March 25 2008 .

(2008) March 25 2008 .

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