That definition was used to ask students about their own participation in hookup culture.
Slightly more than half of the students, 54 percent, said they had hooked up with someone else during the school year.
Yet she still wasn’t sure how to describe herself when coming out to her parents.
“I told my dad and my stepmom that I was ‘mostly gay,’” says Stayman-London, now a writer living in L. “And I told my mom I was bisexual, and none of it felt like the right thing to say.”But Kuperberg says there's a fourth group of college students in her data set: those who self-identify as conservative or have strong religious backgrounds, who may face additional social pressures to identify as heterosexual or struggle with internalized homophobia.
People do have freedom to experiment, and they shouldn’t feel confined to labels, says Alicia Walker, Ph.
D., co-author of the study and an assistant professor of sociology at Missouri State University.
The term can include anything from making out to sexual intercourse, Holman said, but the most common meaning among the students she studied was nonrelationship sex that was spontaneous and alcohol-driven.Today, people looking to experiment with same-sex relationships have more options than he did, says Nitz, and more acceptance too.And of course, the Boy Scouts have since reversed their position too.“There was a big disconnect between what people said their sexual orientation was and what their actions were.”College is the time when sexual evolutions and experiments are likely to take place because students have often reached their sexual maturity, but not their emotional and economic maturity (as evidenced by the fact that many college students are in debt and making plenty of foolish decisions).“Hooking up is one way some young people try to get through the long period between their sexual coming of age and their achievement of educational, professional, and relationship success,” says Stephanie Coontz, head of the Council on Contemporary Families, which has published Kuperberg’s previous research on hookups.Safe sex Talking about hooking up, however, was common, with 84 percent of students reporting they'd talked with their friends at school about hookups.People who talked about hooking up were more likely to approve of and take part in hookups, Holman found.Kuperberg found that most people who identify as straight but have same-sex hookups are “experimenters:” students in college who want to try something new, without considering the experience something that changes their sexual identity.Others are part of a “performative bisexuality” group (primarily women, typically a low-level hookup, like kissing, in a public place), and a third set was made up of those whose sexual identity is in its early stages of evolving.But chatter about hookups can increase acceptance of the encounters, said study researcher Amanda Holman, a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.That's troubling, Holman said, because hookups are often spontaneous and involve alcohol, making it less likely that students will protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy."The more that [students] talked to their peers about it, the more likely that they're going to be accepting of the risky behavior," Holman told Live Science.