Men were more likely than women to say they had a hookup, at 63 percent of men versus 45 percent of women.
[10 Facts about the Teen Brain]But students' perceptions of hookups were out of line with the reality.
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.
Sam Nitz knew he was gay in 6th grade, and even though he only dated and hooked up with men during his time at University of Wisconsin-Madison, he waited until his senior year to come out publicly.
“I was involved in Boy Scouts at the national level, and back then in Boy Scouts you couldn’t be gay,” he explains. C., had been an Eagle Scout and a Section Chief in the Order of the Arrow, but felt that he lost election to be National Chief of the Order of the Arrow (the top youth position in the Boy Scouts) due to a whisper campaign about his sexuality.
Experimenting is an important part of a lot of people’s development, she adds.
“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.
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.
For example, while about 45 percent of students said they'd never hooked up with anyone, only 3.7 percent believed that the "typical student" had never hooked up.
Likewise, only 37 percent of people reported having two or more hookups, but 90 percent of students believed that at least two hookups were "typical" for their peers.
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.