Miriam Hospital sexual health study reveals compelling trends of first-year female college students
According to WPRI.com, the study surveyed 483 first-year female college students and asked them to report on hookup and romantic relationship partners throughout their first two semesters as well as the following summer. Additionally, the study focused primarily on sexual behaviors including oral and vaginal sex, which have the highest likelihood for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Surprisingly, the study authors presented a few key statistics that could help colleges better manage their sexual health programs. First, 40 percent of the students surveyed reported a engaging in a sexual hookup during their first year of college, but only one in five of the respondents reported a hookup each month. According to LiveScience.com, a much bigger margin of those surveyed, about 56 percent, said that they engaged in oral or vaginal sex with a boyfriend or another committed romantic partner.
"Hooking up is one way that young adults explore intimate relationships, but it's not the most common way, and it is often exploratory," Robyn L. Fielder, a research intern at The Miriam Hospital, told the news outlet. "So while hooking up gets more attention in the media, college students continue to develop romantic relationships, which are actually the most common context for sexual behavior."
While the Miriam Hospital study shows that most college students have become a bit more careful with their sexual behavior, there could be more that university health programs can do to help. STD testing and pregnancy prevention is still a major priority, as well as advocating for proper condom use, which tends to decline over the course of college careers. Ultimately, romantic relationships haven't been replaced by the hookup culture, but there are still many risks involved with the practice that a new generation of students will have to be mindful of.