Study: College students lose respect for peers who hook up too muchAugust 17, 2012
"Men and women are increasingly judging each other on the same level playing field," said Rachel Allison, co-author of the study and a doctoral candidate in the University of Illinois at Chicago's Department of Sociology. "But, gender equality and sexual liberation are not synonymous. 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 relied on a subsample of more than 19,000 students from the 2011 Online College Social Life Survey (OCSLS), which includes data from 22 different colleges. Survey participants were asked to respond to the statement: "If (wo)men hook up or have sex with lots of people, I respect them less." Based on their answers to this statement and other follow-up questions, the researchers placed the respondents into one of four categories: egalitarian conservative, egalitarian libertarian, traditional double standard, and reverse double standard.
According to the study, approximately 48 percent of the college students in the survey were egalitarian conservatives-meaning they judge 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. In addition, roughly 27 percent of the students surveyed were egalitarian libertarians (i.e., they lose respect for neither men nor women regardless of how much they hook up); nearly 12 percent held a traditional double standard (i.e., they lose respect for women, but not men, for hooking up too much); and approximately 13 percent held a reverse double standard (i.e., they lose respect for men, but not women, for hooking up too much).
More specifically, women were more likely than men to have egalitarian conservative attitudes, with approximately 54 percent of college females and over 35 percent of college males in the sample falling into the egalitarian conservative category. Women were also less likely than men to hold a traditional double standard. Only six percent of women reported holding a traditional double standard, compared to nearly 25 percent of men.
While the majority of men did not hold a traditional double standard, male athletes and Greek affiliated men were more likely than men who were neither involved in campus athletics nor engaged in Greek life, 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."
Interestingly, 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.
This attitude among women who lived in Greek housing may derive from their close social and geographic proximity to Greek culture, and a resultant unfavorable reaction towards fraternity brothers' casual sexual behaviors, suggested the authors.
"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."
Other demographic factors including religious affiliation, sexual identity, and college location, were also related to people's perceptions of gender equality and hooking up.
Buddhist, Jewish, and non-affiliated students were less likely than Catholic students to lose respect for people who engage in frequent casual sexual activity. And, women who identified as evangelical or fundamentalist Christians were nearly 76 percent more likely than Catholic women to judge harshly those who they believe are hooking up too much.
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.
Additionally, students' sexual attitudes were linked to their college's geographic region. 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.
The study assessed the data within the framework of the sexual revolution-a historical trend towards the disentanglement of sex from marriage.
"You have to remember how far the sexual revolution has come," Risman said. "Before, sociologists would study stigma directed toward sexually active unmarried women. Now, we are looking at whether stigma still exists toward men and women who too often engage in purely recreational sexual activity outside the confines of a dating relationship. That's a sea change in attitudes towards sex."
American Sociological Association
Related Double Standard Current Events and Double Standard News Articles
How Poor Mental Health and Casual Sex Reinforce Each Other
A new study suggests that poor mental health and casual sex feed off each other in teens and young adults, with each one contributing to the other over time.
Women reject sexually promiscuous peers when making female friends
College-aged women judge promiscuous female peers - defined by bedding 20 sexual partners by their early 20s - more negatively than more chaste women and view them as unsuitable for friendship, finds a study by Cornell University developmental psychologists.
New study suggests that same-sex parents are judged more harshly than heterosexual parents
Is there a double standard for gay parents? A new study published this month by a Binghamton University research team suggests that gay parents are being judged more harshly than straight parents.
New potential targets discovered for treating squamous cell lung cancers
A new paper published online in Nature holds out hope that people with the second most common type of lung cancer may one day benefit from targeted therapies that have transformed treatments for other lung cancer patients.
Are good-looking people more employable? New Ben-Gurion University study
"Good looks" are only sometimes a positive factor in consideration for a job, according to new research from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).
UC Denver study finds beautiful women face discrimination in certain jobs
While many see no downside to being beautiful, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver Business School says attractive women face discrimination when it comes to landing certain kinds of jobs.
Young women and sexual guilt
Many women are made to feel guilty about their sexual feelings and desire. This is the finding of Dr Paula Nicolson, from the University of Sheffield who presents her research today, Friday 15 March 2002, at The British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Blackpool.
Alternatives to Animal Experiments - How Far Can We Go?
Mike Baker, Chief Executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection will argue that alternatives are underfunded, underused and their implementation blocked at every turn. He considers that the potential is there for ending the use of animals in harmful experiments without harming medical progress or public safety. "A double standard is being adopted in which the often dubious effectiveness of animal tests is left unchallenged while non-animal methods are put through intense scrutiny."
More Double Standard Current Events and Double Standard News Articles