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    How Hot Is Stony Brook?

    By Michael Kimmel and Rachel Kalish

    Watch any movie or TV show about college life and you’ll get the impression that pretty much everyone is having sloppy, drunken sex with pretty much everyone else.  Few people date in conventional ways.  Everyone just hooks up.  Long term relationships are more likely to be friends with benefits and booty calls.  Hooking up is the new collegiate norm.

    Or is it?  Along with a few of colleagues around the country, we decided to find out.  The Online College Social Life Survey has collected online survey data from about 14,600 students at 20 colleges and universities about their sexual activity.  This was not a random sample of students.  Instead, we sampled schools to make sure we had large and small, public and private, urban and rural, and elite and non-elite.  We compared our data to other surveys, and feel confident that the data that we have are pretty close to what’s happening nationwide.

    Who was surveyed?  Here’s a chart comparing the national sample with the Stony Brook sample:

    So, what are they actually doing?

    We found that what people call “hooking up” covers many different behaviors, including kissing, 61 percent, and non-genital touching, 51 percent, oral sex, but not intercourse, 24 percent, manual stimulation of the genitals, 38 percent, and intercourse, 23 percent.   It can mean “going all the way.” Or it can mean “everything but.”

    Nationally, we found that by their senior year students had averaged nearly seven hook-ups during their college careers.  A little less than half, 42 percent, say they have never hooked up, while slightly less than a third, 28 percent, have hooked up ten times or more.

    So, hooking up is pretty common, but still, two out of five college students don’t hook up at all.

    When we asked those who had hooked up what happened, here is what they said:

    96.3% kissed

    (94.7% of men, 97.2% of women)

    82% touched the other’s genitals

    (86.3% men, 79.9% women)

    37.3% received oral sex

    (47% of men, 32.4% of women)

    36.9% had intercourse

    (37.9% and 36.4% of women)

    2.5% had anal sex

    (4.9% of men, 1.2% of women)

    42.7% had an orgasm

    (49.3% of men, 39.4% of women)

    So, how does Stony Brook compare?    Nearly half of all males, 48 percent, have never hooked up.  Fewer than one in twelve, 7.4 percent, have hooked up 15 times or more.  And more then three-fifths of the females, 62.7 percent, have never hooked up. Just 1.7 percent have hooked up 15 times or more.

    And what happened when they did hook up?  Just over two-fifths, 40.6 percent, have vaginal sex; 40.1 percent have oral sex.  At their last hook up, 44.4 percent of the men and 22.9 percent of the women had orgasms.  So there is a slight orgasm gap.

    One interesting finding is that 37.9 percent of the women thought their partner had an orgasm at last hook up – pretty close to the percentage of men who did.  This means the women can tell.  On the other hand, the men dramatically over-estimated the orgasms of their female partners – by nearly 200 percent!  Though 22.9 percent of women had an orgasm; 43.7 percent of the men think their partner had one.  Are the women faking it, or are the men just awful judges of female sexuality?

    In most respects, then, Stony Brook naked looks pretty similar to everywhere else.  We’re more diverse racially and ethnically, but fewer Stony Brook students hook up.  When they do, they do what everyone else does – and with similar “results.”

    College students are not nearly as hot as the media seem to suggest, whether at Stony Brook or elsewhere.  So if someone tells you that they hooked up, with like, three different people last week, the data suggest that they’re probably lying.

    The authors are in the Department of Sociology and have conducted the largest sex survey of college students in American History.

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