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College Students Have Less Respect for Peers Who Frequently Hook Up

Update Date: Aug 17, 2012 09:28 AM EDT

You might want to be careful of who you hookup with or how many you hookup with - your peers might lose respect for you.

Researchers found that nearly 50 percent of college students judge men and women with similar sexual histories by the same standard and hold equally negative attitudes towards both their male and female peers who they believe hook up "too much."

The research will be presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Rachel Allison, co-author of the study, said men and women are increasingly judging each other on the same level playing field.

"But, gender equality and sexual liberation are not synonymous," Allison said. "While we've come a long way in terms of gender equality, it seems that a large portion of both college men and women lose respect for individuals who they believe participate in too frequent casual sexual activity."

The study surveyed more than 19,000 students from 22 different colleges. 

The students were asked to respond to the statement: "If (wo)men hook up or have sex with lots of people, I respect them less." 

Egalitarian Conservatives - Researchers said approximately 48 percent of the college students in the survey judged men and women with similar sexual histories by the same standard and lose equal respect for members of both genders who they believe hook up too much. 

Egalitarian Libertarians - About 27 percent of the students surveyed lost respect for neither men nor women regardless of how much they hook up. 

Traditional Double Standard - Nearly 12 percent held lost respect for women, but not men, for hooking up too much.

Reverse Double Standard - Around 13 percent lost respect for men, but not women, for hooking up too much.

About 54 percent of college females and over 35 percent of college males in the sample were egalitarian conservatives. Only six percent of women reported holding a traditional double standard, compared to nearly 25 percent of men.

Researchers noted that male athletes and Greek affiliated men were more likely to negatively evaluate women, but not men, for frequent hooking up. 

Thirty-eight percent of male athletes and 37 percent of Greek affiliated men in the study held a traditional double standard. 

The authors suggested that Greek culture tended to permeate university culture, leading many to erroneously believe that the traditional double standard was the most common view of hooking up on campus.

"Because Greek brothers and athletes tend to be at the top of the social stratification ladder-the big guys on campus-we see this adversarial double standard infused in people's perceptions of college and hook up culture," said Barbara Risman, co-author of the study and a sociology professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "These men, who are in fact the minority, end up holding a great deal of social power on campus."

On the other hand, Greek affiliated women who lived in Greek housing were more likely than other female undergraduates to hold a reverse double standard.

Sorority sisters living in Greek housing were also 42 percent more likely to hold a reverse double standard than an egalitarian libertarian view of hooking up.

"Women who hold to this reverse double standard are invoking a kind of gender justice," Risman said. "They are critical of men who treat women badly and they do not accept a 'boys will be boys' view of male sexuality."

Sexual orientation was also tied to individuals' perceptions of hooking up. 

Non-heterosexual men and women were less likely than heterosexual students to lose respect for anyone's casual sexual activity. The majority of non-heterosexual young adults were egalitarian libertarians.

Men and women from West Coast colleges tended to be more liberal in their sexual attitudes, while students from Midwest colleges were more likely to hold conservative sexual views. Students from East Coast colleges fell somewhere in between.

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