Sex After College

Chapter 7 of Kathleen Bogle’s book, Hooking Up, discusses how after college, most individuals stop hooking up with people and instead return back to dating, as many did in high school. She claims that once individuals leave the college atmosphere, most realize that hooking up is no longer the thing for them to do. Many still drink socially at bars with friends, but instead of going home with someone that night, they exchange numbers with someone they may be interested in and perhaps go on a date.

Bogle suggests that there are numerous reasons that the sexual script changes from hooking up to dating post-college. For one, it is no longer as easy to hook up with someone randomly. At college, individuals all at least have one thing in common, they’re students. In college, it is easier to trust someone you meet randomly at a party, because most likely you have at least an acquaintance or two in common. Also, when individuals are not all living within walking distance to one another, or even in the same dorm building, hooking up with a random individual becomes more dangerous. Individuals that meet in a bar may not always feel comfortable going to someone’s house that they just met, or inviting them back to their place. Therefore many like to go on dates with someone before having sex to ensure that they will be entering a safe situation. College generally makes hooking up feel safer.

Even though many men rejected the idea of dating in college, after they graduate they are more likely to enter into a committed relationship according to Bogle’s study. One of the participants claimed that he most likely wouldn’t find a wife through hooking up, so he should date instead. Many men believe that a girl that hooks up with them most likely isn’t a potential wife.

Following college, women and men have different sexual expectations when they are dating someone. Based on Bogle’s findings, she suggests that after a first date most people only think a kiss is acceptable and anything more is too much. When dating, her study suggests that people want to get to know a person before deciding to have sex with them. The sexual double standard occurs even after college. Some men claimed that if a woman seemed too eager to go further sexually while on a date, then she wasn’t worth a second date.

While Bogle suggests that after college, many individuals leave hooking up behind, I disagree. Although many men and women may no longer hook up with individuals as frequently as they did in college, hooking up still occurs once individuals graduate. College students typically graduate when they are around 22, most are not looking to get married right away, so why would they jump headfirst into dating? Sometimes individuals have sex, just to have sex. As seen in Justin Luc Hoy’s article on the down-low brotherhood, often people engage in sexual acts outside of committed relationships. Although this situation is slightly different than just hooking up, these individuals are hooking up with other men because they cannot confront their sexuality because it conflicts with their other identities. His article also goes against Bogle’s suggestion that sex after college typically only occurs within relationships. Bogle suggests that casual sex typically disappears after college, but based on my own experiences, movies, and television, this definitely does not seem to be the case overall.


Two very similar films that both came out in 2011, Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached, both focus on individuals who are out of college. Both films focus on individuals who meet and get to know each other and then have sex, but not date each other. The relationships in both films revolve around the idea that they will not develop feelings for the other person, but are simply just going to have sex. They are not entering these relationships with the idea that this person could be their potential spouse, but instead are doing it to seek pleasure. Although both movies end with the couples being in a romantic relationship, this isn’t always the case. Numerous films (Iron Man, That Awkward Moment, What’s Your Number?) and television (Grey’s Anatomy, Sex and the City, Supernatural, The Mindy Project) present characters that are out of college and continue to hook up and have casual sex, but also may date. These representations of post-college life seem much more realistic than what Bogle presents in her book, it really isn’t an either/or situation. Sometimes, people post-college just want to have sex when they are not in a relationship and therefore hooking up gives them an option. Bogle and her study appear to reject the idea that sex can lead to a relationship. Although it may not often be the case, it can happen.

Saying that post-college, individuals no longer hook up is just wrong. Bogle presents the notion that most, if not all, people decide to just date after college. Through this suggestion, Bogle presents the idea that once individuals leave college, then sex should only happen when you are in a relationship with someone. Although individuals may not have sex as frequently with random people as they did in college, it will most likely still happen. Individuals may desire to be in a relationship, but that will not necessarily deter them from hooking up with someone.

Does Bogle’s assumption and study seem to be questionable? Or is the representation of post-college relationships presented by movies and television skewed? Do non-college graduates influence how college graduates may participate in dating or hooking up after college?

5 thoughts on “Sex After College

  1. I agree with you that many people do not quickly abandon the culture of hooking up after college. Many people still continue to hook but not as often and not as meaningless as a drunken hook up was in college. Bogle mentions hook up is very prevalent because of the environment and suddenly vanishes when graduation happens however these seems to not be very accurate. These films do a great job at showing that post grad adults still participate in this culture. What we see in the media results in Bogle’s information to be incorrect but it makes one question whether what we see in the media is appropriately depicting post graduate adults today.


  2. Bogles assumption and study do seem questionable. I feel that most people do not settle into dating post college. I think that college might contain more hook up experiences, but the dating scene does not necessarily happen immediately after college. I think that it would be interesting to see when this study came into play. When did Bogle suggest that this became a thing? Has dating always been a post college norm? I think that people that have not graduated from a college do not effect the results of the study.


  3. I agree with you that Bogle’s analysis is wrong. College graduates don’t just abandon sexual desire because they still enjoy sex! However, I also feel that movies and television portrayals of intimacy are a little skewed as well. I don’t know anyone older than 22 who has a friends with benefits and from my knowledge, these sexual relationships usually end poorly. Perhaps Bogle thinks that hooking up ends after college because the stigmatization of sex comes back once college is over. In “Purity and Pollution” Nancy Fischer states that “Calling someone a ‘slut’… suggests sexual immorality” (Fischer 41). College graduates are expected to be sexually moral. Why is sex often stigmatized? Who is more likely to still hook up after college?


  4. I agree with you when you say that college graduates don’t jump right into dating after graduation. I don’t think there’s a clear cut time where graduates think “oh i’m done with hooking up, I’m moving on to dating”. Sometimes, people are just not into dating and oppositely some people are not into hooking up. I think it’s just a personal choice what people choose to do during and even after college. I have an uncle who is close to 40 now and I can’t even remember when the last time he had a solid girlfriend was, but I know that he hasn’t been celibate all these years. I think dating is a preference people have, just like getting married or having kids is a preference. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. I think the media does a pretty bad job of representing the spectrum of dating after college. Most of the movies or television shows either show people falling in love and settling down immediately, or going crazy and hooking up with someone new everyday. They rarely show the people in the middle ground who date here and there and sometimes go through hookup periods, and I believe that these people who are seen in the real world need to be represented more than the extremes.


  5. I disagree. In our society, people will do what they want when they want to. I feel as though people will continue to hook-up after college. Relationships will be the similar after college as it is during college. The only thing that will change is the seriousness of these relationships. As we get older, we start to learn ourselves and learn others. We begin to understand what we like and what we don’t like. There are just as many Friends with Benefits before and during college as there are after college.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s