Sexual Behaviors on College Campus

According to the textbook, Discovering Human Sexuality, “sexual behaviors can be very diverse, but certain behaviors are the mainstay of sex for most Americans” (LeVay, 2017). Sexual behaviors in female and males has three components which are attraction, motivation and performance. All of the aspects of sexual behavior are under hormonal control. These behaviors can range from anal, vaginal intercourse, oral sex, masturbation and other physical pleasurable activities (William & Harper, 2014).

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Sexual behaviors are more common in the college/universities undergraduate settings.

These sexual behaviors are more known as “hook up” with the gender you prefer. They engage in different forms of sexual contact either in a party, a dorm room, or off campus apartment. The problem with the hookup culture is that it facilitates sexual assault and STI transmission (William & Harper, 2014). It is relevant to this course because human sexuality is the expression of sexual sensation and related intimacy between human beings (Human Sexuality, 2018). We get to learn why males and females act the way they do and if there setting, college campus, has an impact onto their behavior.

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Sexual scripting theory suggests sexual behaviors are determined by “scripts” (William & Harper, 2014). It will indicate what genders does what in a particular context. Simon’s believes that sexual behavior is socially learned and are shaped by cultural influences. “Traditionally, as sex is central to male identity, men are portrayed as active sexual agents who prefer and pursue non-relational sex, while women are portrayed as passive, sexual objects that must act as gatekeepers” (William & Harper, 2014). It makes it difficult for women to live up to the expectations when not everyone acts alike. Media is also an impact how each specific gender acts. It is a “reflection of our evolutionary penchants.” It is said to believe that the mid- 1960s had the greatest influence on the emergence of hookups because of the number of social historical trends, cultural and demographics at the time. Some of the events are the arrival and availability of contraception, the birth control pill, acceptance of premarital and non-relationship sex and the normalization of other forms of sexual behaviors (William & Harper, 2014).

Due to the acceptance of these events more people were openly about engaging in sexual activity without feeling like they’re going to be judge by it. The Women’s’ Movement advocated the liberation of women in their social behaviors. Feminists argued that women should be free to pursue men as well as negotiate their own condition of sex, in or out of marriage. Not only women where now expressing their selves but youth had followed along. Youth were exercising their personal choice and going against adult expectations. On college campuses students rallied for privacy and sexual freedom until administrators gave in and started advocating for safe sexual behaviors. The average age that sexual behaviors have started is 17 for male and females, leaving them a ten year period gap between sexual activities and marriage. Women are outnumbering men in higher education 100 to 80 men, leaving men more power to determine what the campus sexual scripts are. (William & Harper, 2014)

Sexual behaviors on college campuses is known as hooking up. Hooking up isn’t a certain behavior but variety of behaviors done. The differences of behaviors was the range of the sexual acts committed. Some students believe that hooking up is entitles to have sex while others did not involve intercourse but just kissing. What all students did agree with was that it was a casual “no string attached” sexual encounter. Three themes that hooking up are by is the absence of a committed relationship, a short term encounter, and the presence of a variety of sexual behaviors. Hook ups are usually done at a college party or a social event with an intake of alcohol, while 2 or more individuals exchange verbal or nonverbal cues of sexual interest. The hook up ends when one person leaving, passes out or climaxes, which is why hooking up rarely results in a long term relationship. Hook ups have several scripts such as random, one time encounter and regular encounters.

Which usually occur on weekends late night. When asked students what dating is they knew the concepts but college students don’t usually engage in a relationship. In Binghamton University 500 students were surveyed about the number of times they were involved in hookups. “40% did so three times or fewer, 40% did so four to nine times, and the other 20% hooked up at least ten or more times during their undergraduate years.” (William & Harper, 2014). The survey also discovered that 50% was hooking up with their most recent partner for the first time, 18% hooked up with their person two times, 33% hooked up with their person at least three times before and 16% hooked up with the same person ten times or more (William & Harper, 2014). As stated before hooking up isn’t always having sex with someone else. 38% went only as far as kissing and touching, 16% and 15% went as far as masturbation and oral sex and 38% actually engaged in sexual intercourse. In 2010, there were a decline in vaginal intercourse and an increase rate of oral or anal sex. I wonder if this is because of the prevention of pregnancy or the other form sexual behavior feels better to the person. There’s also a decline on men’s rate of performing oral sex indicated the feminization of oral sex and how male dominate the hookup script. In conclusion students are engaging more in oral sex rather than intercourse.

These behaviors are more prone to happen on college campuses because college is known to be a space of experimenting and negotiating sexual boundaries. Collin Williams observed that students perceive college as a social environment rather than an academic making it time to party and let loose just having fun. Student believe there’s plenty of time to look for a future partner and would rather experiment during their college time. They also don’t see their selves as being a full adult because they don’t have the same responsibilities. Which some are children, mortgages and full time employment. The college campus is the right setting for sexual behaviors because everyone is around the same age; giving people more options to look for and choose. College students establish an atmosphere of trust and familiarity among strangers which makes it easier for them to interact. For students who want to fit in these pressure to interact may lead them to conform the perceived social norms. Students who believe that their private attitudes, beliefs and judgement does not align with the perceived norm is called pluralistic ignorance (William & Harper, 2014). This perception is problematic because everyone has the mind set of “everyone is doing” so why don’t they too.

Alcohol is strongly associated with sexual behaviors on campus. College students consume alcohol in order to attain the social goal and depending on it to feel comfortable enough to engage in the sexual behaviors. When being intoxicated they have a better time elongating the conversation and stops worrying about judgement from the other person. They are more confident from going from talking to touching. They have a bigger fear of rejection or embarrassment from the other person (Zalewski, 2014). Alcohol intakes doesn’t always happen at the social events. Most females take alcohol just to have courage to text their partner to meet up and hook up or to talk about their current status with each other. “Alcohol consumption was the lowest among individuals who had never hooked up and higher among students who has history of hookups with sexual intercourse” (William & Harper, 2014).

The outcomes of being intoxicated can lead to severe health outcomes such as having unprotected sex leading to get STIs and STDs. Other problems that can happen are sexual assaults and rape on campus. According to CDC college students have the highest rate of sexually transmitted disease. Two of the most known STIs are gonorrhea and chlamydia. Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by infection with the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae (LeVay, 2017). According to the chart, 97,000 college students have been victims of alcohol related sexual misconduct. Although death can also be outcome of alcohol consumption, sexual behaviors are more prevalence on college campuses due to excessive alcohol intake. Many Greek life leaders are concerned of the overuse and know how being peer pressure can make you do certain stuff you wouldn’t regularly do sober.

In this graph it shows, for example, Florida colleges and the statistics of students who have resulted positive for gonorrhea and chlamydia in the year of 2013. As you can visually see Chlamydia has a higher percentage than Gonorrhea. If each student’s claims that they have engage in sexual behavior on campus everyone is prone to exposure to the STDs.

Here is a statistic report from Ithaca College between the years of 2012 to 2016. In a four year difference chlamydia went from 21 to 69 cases. Adding on 24 new cases in a matter of four years. For gonorrhea it went from 55 to 88 giving it 33 new cases in that time gap. As we can see the percentage of new cases are only going up. Although many colleges do have health programs and variety of free condoms around campus. Alcohol consumption can make you forget out the negative outcomes that some sexual behaviors have.

According to this chart sexual violence is more prevalent at college compared to other crimes. There are 2 sexual assaults for every 1 robbery in college women. The green women present robberies and the blue present sexual assaults. “21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females and 4% of non-TGQN males” (C.S.V, 2104). Sexual violence may occur at a higher rate at certain times of the year. 50% of college sexual assaults occurs in either August, September, October or November. For college student this is the fall semester. I believe this rates are higher at this time because it yet still hot outside and not as cold. Rather than the spring

semester where there’s more winter months and people usually don’t go out to social events.

Unfortunately, many females don’t report what happened to them because of varieties reasons. The chart and the textbook, Discovering Human Sexuality, have similar reasons onto why females don’t report. What we can see in the chart are students compared to non-students are more likely to report their rape. I believe this is so because school focuses on being a safe ground/ environment and more openly willing to talk about and seek help. Rather than someone who doesn’t go to school and doesn’t have the sources to reach to. The second highest reason that both non students and students can relate to is that they believe it was a personal matter onto why it happened. Many victims are known to have this guilt with their selves blaming them onto what happened. Thankfully campus law enforcement has a significant role on addressing and responding to college sexual assaults. “86% of sworn campus law enforcement officials have legal authority to make an arrest outside of the campus ground and 86% of campuses have staff members who are responsible for rape prevention programming” (C.V.S, 2104).

Due to sexual behaviors on college campuses many colleges have giving out free condoms to students in order to promote safe sex. Now it has been controversial issue in many places because they believe when giving out free condom it’s like promoting having sex. I truly believe giving out free condoms is something positive. We have to be realistic, students are going to explore with their selves and others whether we tell them to not have sex. It’s safer for everyone to use protection and have the resource than to have unprotected sex which comes with different outcomes. I believe pregnancy rates, STDs and STIs cases will go up if students didn’t have that free resources on campus. The cost of condoms are smaller compared to the cost of the outcomes. Many condom brands such as Great American Condom Campaign have variety of deals with college. If cost is the issue they are willing to come to an agreement.

In conclusion, sexual behaviors on college campuses can come across as a negative issue. Whether it’s exploring, avoid relationships, alcohol consumptions or preventions of STDs we have to still deal the issue. One way to start off is by developing programs that teaches students how to communicate with each other without alcohol consumptions (Zalewski, 2014). I know at WCSU they have a “dating game” once a semester where students come and get to know other people on campus. I believe it’s a good idea because it teaches them how to actually get to know the person first before having any sexual contact with them. Many people have intercourse with someone because of the social pressure and ending up having nothing in common and realize sober you probably wouldn’t even talk to them. I believe all colleges even religious one should give out free condoms because at the end it’s only going to help the students and not harm them.

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Sexual Behaviors on College Campus. (2022, Jun 06). Retrieved from

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