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?