Hooking up: A survey

by Dave Roberts

Each fall, like the changing and shedding of the leaves, waves of bright-eyed freshmen detach from their mother trees and are carried off by the winds of their individual destinies. Every generation carries with it shifts, whether large or small, in social mores and attitudes. Each one’s attitudes about sex are shaped by the culture that was created by the previous generations in the new one’s formative years. So what attitudes have been shaped in this one? Are freshmen more or less horny and/or promiscuous than 10 years ago? A series of interviews on the UNCG campus were conducted to find out.

While completely unscientific in methodology, they nonetheless yielded some interesting results. Human biology being what it is, general levels of horniness appear unchanged. On the question of promiscuity – one-night stands, anonymous hook-ups, etc. – there was a surprising level of aversion towards random encounters. While most were not dead set against the concept, they saw it as more of a necessary evil, scratching an itch that can’t be scratched any other way.

“One night stands are a scary thing,” said WG (to promote candor, no names were taken, only initials) just starting his sophomore year. “All I’m thinking about is performance and what she’s going to tell her friends, especially in high school or a small college where everyone knows each other. She tells her friends and they’ll tell their friends and on and on like a pyramid. I’m so much more focused on what she’s getting out of it.”

“I don’t see it as smart,” said KP, one of a group of three freshmen boys, two of whom were virgins. “There’s STDs and pregnancy and stuff. Sometimes you don’t think with your brain.”

“One night stands are good and bad,” said KT, a petite freshwoman in modest punk attire. “They’re good if you need self-esteem or to not feel lonely, but bad if no one’s supposed to know.” On the question of kink, most were relatively vanilla. Women tended to be more experimental – and more experienced in general – though the kinkier ones almost all had older boyfriends in their mid-twenties. A small segment reported engaging in light bondage, mostly involving restraint with scarves and toy handcuffs, as well as the occasional spanking. One male reported having received oral sex from a girl as she alternated between a popsicle and his penis, and “that was pretty cool.” GH, one of the more precocious respondents, reported engaging in asphyxiation until a friend of hers died while hanging himself and masturbating and his father discovered him that way.

Almost none had engaged in sex with multiple partners, though almost all male respondents indicated that they would like to, with the strict proviso that it be with two women only (they were similarly emphatic in denying homosexual experiences). Of those who did not, the main reason given was a concern for screwing up the relationship with the person, though one quite candidly stated it would be too much effort. Female respondents were much less amenable to the idea.

“I’d have a threesome, but only with two other girls,” said KT. “I think I’d be too jealous.”

Very few had engaged in anal sex (several needed the term explained) and most that hadn’t did not intend to. Reasons given mostly went along the lines of “It’s an exit, not an entrance” and “That’s where poop comes out.” Those who had described it as “nothing special.”

“I’ve done it,” said GH. “It hurts. The only guys I know that really like it are like frat boys and those who like to dominate women.”

While actual physical acts tended to be fairly straightforward, the location where those acts were performed showed the greatest variety, largely due to the necessities of high school life. Locations reported included: a three-legged table, a playground, grandma’s bed (broke it), a graveyard, a picnic table while parents were in the house, cars in a variety of locations (“Oral sex while driving causes car crashes”), under an electrical tower and on a dock by a river.

When asked whether their generation is more promiscuous than previous ones, most indicated that it was. An interesting trend that emerged, however, was that the more sexually experienced a respondent was, the more likely they were to indicate that it was not.

“While there’s a lot more sex on TV and movies than before,” said GH. “The culture is going back more towards ‘wait until marriage’ because of AIDS.”

“Lust and love are two different things,” said BT. “Sex ain’t that great unless you love her. It’s not as exciting as people say it is.”

Talk dirty to Dave Roberts at Seriously.