Hookup Culture Statistics – New Survey Data On One Night Stands, Casual Sex and Hooking Up

By Benjamin Jorgensen / September 05, 2022

Hookup culture was popularized as a term for primarily casual sex and hooking up among college students.

This article is result of more than 34,440 survey answers from college students on their opinions on and experiences with hookup culture.

Key Takeaways

  • 86% of college students have hooked up in college.
  • The average college student report to have casual sex on average once every semester.
  • 61.9% of college students reported that the last time they had sex was during a hookup.
  • The average number of reported hookups fell from 8.8 in 2000 to 8.0 in 2020.
  • College students report that they believe 96% of their classmates actively take part in the hookup culture, while only 66% believe they themselves participate.
  • The chances of a date ending in a hookup are 7 times higher when the girl invites on the date.
  • 82% of men and only 57% of women are glad they had a hookup afterwards.
  • 92% of men and only 66% of women have told friends about their most recent hookup.
  • 67% of all hookups happen at parties.
  • 8% of hookups happens with complete strangers while 53% of hookups happen between friends (rest is exes and acquaintances).
  • 12% hooked up with someone because they felt motivated by others or because of peer pressure
  • 63% of current college relationships started as a casual hookup.
  • The Frequency of hookups have increased 10-fold over the last 100 years.
  • 29% reported a desire to feel attractive or desirable as a reason for hooking up, while only 2% reported having those feelings after a hookup.
  • Only 11.2% of women had an orgasm during their last hookup, while 88.1% of men had one.
  • The three most sexually active college campuses are 1) James Madison University, 2) University of Buffalo, and 3) University of Kansas.

How many college students have hooked up?

The survey showed that…

  • 86% of college students report that they have hooked up in college.
  • 93% of college students believe their college is dominated by a hookup culture.
  • 8% leave college a virgin.

That is of course slightly different if we look at how that is reported in the surveys by each gender:

  • 91.3% of male college students report to have hooked up in college.
  • 82.1% of female college students report to have hooked up in college.

When asked more specifically about their own participation in the hookup culture and the participation of their classmates the answers show a bias against participation:

  • College students on average report, that 96% of their classmates actively take part in the hookup culture.
  • Only 66% of college students believe that they themselves participate in the hookup culture.

In sum, college students are much more likely to beleive that their classmates are part of the hookup culture statistics than themselves.

How often do college students hookup?

  • The average college student report to have casual sex on average once every semester.
  • College students on average have 8 hookups during college.

Despite this statistic, it was surprising to find that…

  • 80% of college students hookup less than once per semester (every 6 months) during college.

So, the high average frequency really comes down to the last 20% of college students.

  • 61.9% of college students reported that the last time they had sex was during a hookup.

That is almost 2/3 of every college student where their last sexual encounter was “casual sex”.

But how has that changed over time?

The statistics shows that…

  • Male college students report to have had 34% more hookups compared to female college students (1910-2020).
CenturyAvg. male hookups reportedAvg. female hookups reportedPercentage more hookups
19101.10.190.9%
19202.00.290.0%
19301.70.664.7%
19402.91.258.6%
19506.02.361.7%
19605.64.126.8%
19706.24.920.9%
19806.85.125.0%
19907.26.411.1%
20009.18.56.6%
20108.98.18.9%
20208.17.92.5%
  • In 2020 the discrepancy between how many hookups male versus female college students report are at +2.5%, which is the lowest point (only 0.2 hookups more reported by male students compared to female students).
  • The average number of hookups in college have risen from 0.6 per student in 1910 to 8.8 in 2000.
  • The average number of reported hookups fell from 8.8 in 2000 to 8.0 in 2020.

However, the number of hookups that men and woman report are not the only difference.

Another interesting look into the dataset revealed that…

  • The chances of a date ending in a hookup are 7 times higher when the girl invites on the date.
  • 82% of men and only 57% of women are glad they had a hookup afterwards.
  • 92% of men and only 66% of women have told friends about their most recent hookup.

Where do hookups happen?

  • 67% of all hookups happen at parties.
  • 51% of hookups take place in a dormitory.
  • 10% of hookups take place in bars and clubs.
  • 4% of hookups happen in private vehicles.
  • 35% of hookups happen in any other available place.

Note, that we allowed multiple answers, and “parties” overlap with locations.

Motivations behind hooking up

To figure out the motivations of why hookup happens we asked respondents to report the reasons they engaged in their most recent hookup.

  • 89% reported that physical pleasure was a reason they hooked up.
  • 54% reported that emotional reasons and connections motivated them to hookup.
  • 8% reported that they felt motivated by others hooking up as well.
  • 4% report that they hooked up with someone because of peer pressure.

Who do hookups happen with?

When asked about their most recent hookup, and who that person was…

  • 8.3% hooked up with a stranger.
  • 24.0% hooked up with somone they were acquainted with.
  • 53.8% hooked up with a friend.
  • 13.8% hooked up with an ex-girlfriend or -boyfriend.

Hookups and relationships

We also touched upon the interplay between hookups and relationships. At first they might seem like opposites. Data will tell you otherwise.

  • 63% of college students report that their current relationships started as a casual hookup.

We also asked college students about how hooking up with someone might have been an act of infedelity:

  • 39% of college students report that they have hooked up with someone other than their partner (at the time).

Only 2% of college students report that their infedelity wasn’t with a hookup.

Age and hookups

So, we also wanted to know what age groups are hooking up the most

  • 25-29 year olds hookup on average 2.7 times in the past year, making it the most active age-group.
  • Men generally report hooking up more, despite for young men compared to young women (<24 years old).
  • Hookups are most frequent at the age of 25-29, from where the number of hookups drops by -11% per year until the age of 60.

A culture revolution – Hookups have become more frequent

Using an aggregate dataset of multiple surveys with comparatively question formulations we were able to identify – over time – the relative amount of college students who have had a hookup experience.

Det data was only available for certain years but show a visible trend:

  • Hookups have increased 10-fold over the last 100 years.
  • In the last 2 centuries the average number of hookups have declined.
  • The biggest increase (+300%) in the average number of reported hookups during college was from 1920 to 1950.

Sex under the influence – Alcohol and drugs

It is maybe not surprising to most, that being under the influence and casual sex often goes hand in hand. But we set out to uncover the exact numbers and facts of sex under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

  • 93% of hookups with strangers involved some alcohol or marijuana.
  • 31% of hookups that happens between Exes involve alcohol or marijuana.
  • Hookups involving Marijuana are most likely to happen between Exes.

Top hookup college

We asked respondents to answer if they were looking primarly for love or hookups at the moment. Then we ranked each university by the proportion of students looking for love versus hookups.

Top ranking ‘Hookup colleges’ (% looking for hookups):

  1. James Madison University (65%)
  2. University at Buffalo (65%)
  3. University of Kansas (64%)
  4. University of Oregon (62%)
  5. University of Maryland (62%)
  6. Appalachian State University (61%)
  7. Radford University (58%)
  8. Boston University (58%)
  9. Colorado State University (57%)
  10. Vanderbilt University (56%)

Top ranking ‘Love colleges’ (% looking for love):

  1. Western Kentucky University (71%)
  2. Florida State University (68%)
  3. Columbia University (66%)
  4. Central Michigan University (66%)
  5. Bowling Green State University (66%)
  6. Eastern Kentucky University (65%)
  7. Virginia Commonwealth University (62%)
  8. Harvard University (61%)
  9. University of California, UCLA (60%)
  10. Temple University (60%)

Feelings before – The motivation before hooking up

Surprisingly, when respondents were asked about their motivations for hooking up we did NOT find any significant differences between genders, albeit differences have been present for almost all other aspects of hookup culture.

We asked respondents to cite all the reasons for hooking up that they felt were important, and the same motivations was reported by both men and female.

  • 89% of college students reported physical satisfaction as a reason for wanting to hookup.
  • 54% of college students reported emotional satisfaction as a reason for wanting to hookup.
  • 51% of college students reported a desire for a romantic relationship as a reason for wanting to hookup.

However, we also asked respondents to report what immediate feelings they acted on the last time they hooked up. The answers reveal some new motivations:

  • 80% reported that a sexual desire as a reason they hooked up in the moment.
  • 58% reported a spontaneous urge as a reason they hooked up in the moment.
  • 56% reported to feel attracted to the partner as a reason they hooked up in the moment.
  • 51% reported intoxication as a reason they hooked up in the moment.
  • 33% reported the willingness of the other person as a reason they hooked up in the moment.
  • 29% reported a desire to feel attractive or desirable as a reason they hooked up in the moment.

Note: In both survey answers respondents was allowed to choose all answers they felt was part of the reason they wanted to hookup or as the reason they did it.

After hooking up – Feelings and psychological effects

In general the dataset show that…

  • 82% of men felt glad they engaged in a casual hookup.
  • 57% of women felt glad they engaged in a casual hookup.

Of other feelings the data shows that…

  • 35% reported feelings of regret and dissappointment.
  • 27% reported feelings of happiness.
  • 20% reported felling satisfied and fulfilled.
  • 11% reported being confused.
  • 9% reported feeling proud.
  • 7% reported feeling excited or nervous (still after it had happened).
  • 2% reported feeling attractive or desirable

Even though the very last bullet point is maybe the least noticeable (that only 2% feel desirable or wanted after a hookup) it is especially interesting when compared to the motivation reported by respondents for hooking up:

  • 29% reported a desire to feel attractive or desirable as a reason for hooking up, while only 2% reported having those feelings after a hookup.

Benifits of hookups

The most common benefits identified were sexual satisfaction (23%), general positive emotions (21%), increased confidence (11%), and clarification of feelings (11%).

Overall, 71% reported at least one benefit, but 29% reported no benefits.

When only 23% report top be sexually satisfied it is a natural thing to have a look at orgasms.

Orgasms during hookups

  • Only 11.2% of women report having an orgasm during their last hookup.
  • 88.1% of men achieved orgasm during their last hookup.

Obviously the orgasm gap exists in hookups as well, and it is actually even more present here than in any other instance.

If you take a look at the percentage of orgasms by gender and sexuality when people are sexually intimate the numbers are vastly different:

  • Women are 6 times less likely to achieve an orgasm during a hookup compared to with a partner.
  • Men are 8 times more likely to achieve orgasms during hookups compared to women.

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