This past Sunday's The New York Times cover story, "Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too," spent 4,000 words investigating a phenomenon among college campuses that is neither cutting-edge nor significant: that droves of college-age women are partaking in the casual sex so prominent in today's hookup culture. As the piece stated early on, it had once been assumed that men were the ones primarily responsible for propelling this hookup mentality forward and that "women were reluctant participants, more interested in romance than in casual sexual encounters."
Setting up shop at the University of Pennsylvania, the Times described how these ambitious women spend their sober hours on campus "Leaning In," constantly working, studying, and interviewing for goal-oriented classes, internships, and eventually full-time employment. In turn, their priorities shift, which the Times described as "building their résumés, not finding boyfriends (never mind husbands)." Additionally, the article referenced Elizabeth A. Armstrong, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, who found that college-age women are pursuing hookups because relationships can be "too demanding and potentially too distracting from their goals."
Yes, these young women are initiating casual, no-frills sex in college. Yes, it allows them to have complete control over their goal-oriented schedule. And yes, they are innately responsible for their safety and consequences of these actions. But this is certainly not news. We have no reason to believe that we should be even remotely concerned for this generation of women who are taking active control of their sexuality, just as men have been doing for, well, ever.
Alas, the safe-sex issue: In an anonymous MC poll, 50.83 percent of single women surveyed use condoms every single time, while 28.89 percent like the "idea" of using them every single time, but often get caught up in the moment. The remaining 21 percent don't use them at all — either because they dislike them or because they're on another form of birth control. In response to the women featured in Sunday's Times article, we have no reason to believe they're not being safe; if they're avoiding romance to focus on a future career, as it seems, it's probably safe to assume they thoroughly understand the consequences of pregnancy, STDs, and the like.
The take-away from the Times report remans unclear, but we do know this: Both women and men should be able to take the steering wheel of their relationship and sex life, just as of their academics and career, no questions asked. Period.
Photo: Courtesy of The New York Times