Back in the ’80s, a casual sex study came out that revealed 70 percent of men would agree to have sex with a stranger when propositioned, compared to zero percent of women. This further etches in stone the stereotype that women only want sex for love and became the black cloud over every woman who enjoys the occasional, no-strings-attached romp in the sack — until now.
A recent study published in Sociological Perspectives revealed the reasons behind casual hookups for both men and women are strikingly similar. Researchers at Oakland University interviewed a random sample of 700 men and women between the ages of 18 and 22. Among the 36 percent who had casual sex over the last two years, the top two reasons for both sexes were, “Because I was horny,” and, “I thought it would be fun.”
Their reasons for casual hookups were also the same: Both sexes were equally motivated by drinking/drugs and being too young to be tied down. Very few men and women said they wanted to become an item with the person they hooked up with, and the percentages between those that did were neck and neck (34 percent of women and 28 percent of men).
This study is one of several that’s been cropping up over the years: A 2008 study of 500 undergrads found the numbers behind why women and men hook up to be practically identical. Sexual pleasure was chosen by 90 percent of participants, while 50 percent of both men and women said they hooked up for emotional gratification or to start a relationship.
Another study out this year found male and female college students were neck and neck when it came to their motives behind hooking up. They didn’t differ in how much they were driven by positive (fun, exploration, experience) or negative (peer pressure, relationship hopes, material gain) motives — and for both sexes, the good motives outweighed the bad.
Now, the million-dollar question: How many of us are going to hand this study out like we’re on the campaign trail? Or leave it on our pillow for the-guy-formerly-known-as-our-fling to read after we’ve gone home the next morning?
In my experience, it’s never seemed to matter how upfront I’ve been with the guy before or after the fact — the “bunny boiler” stigma stayed in the air. I couldn’t even include them in a forward (you know, back when forwarding was cool) without them thinking I wanted to get married. Before leaving the scene of the crime, I once asked the guy to skip the awkward, post-hookup bulls*** so we could just move on with our lives. I was so relieved when he agreed… until you know, I moved on and he didn’t. Hopeless.
The stereotypes go both ways: Just like it’s assumed we’re going to want more from our hookups, it’s assumed men won’t. A new Zoosk survey of 3,300 people kiboshed that theory when they discovered men are quicker to push relationship milestones than women (like making it official, saying “I love you,” planning a vacation and suggesting to move in together). Sidenote: We’ll have to write a follow-up on where to find these precious unicorns, am I right ladies?
Let’s hope this means these stereotypes can finally hit the road — they’ve been putting a damper on our mojo for far too long. I look forward to the day when I can talk openly about my Chandler Bing-sized commitment issues and (for once) have the guy I’m hooking up with believe me. In the meantime, I’ll be on the campaign trail.