Hook ups…do they happen as often as you think?

by Stephanie Brooks, Health Writer

College students talk a big game ⎼ but do they actually have as many hook-ups as they say? A new study in the August 2011 edition of Health Communication says no, they don’t.

In the study, researchers looked at the way college students talk about sex ⎼ especially casual sex or hooking up ⎼ and what that means for the way their classmates think about sex.

So, what did the researchers find?

While college students talk the talk, it seems that they don’t walk the walk…at least as much as they say. According to the study, students tended to have fewer casual sex encounters than their discussions indicated.

But there’s an extra note of caution here, too. The types of sex college students were most likely to talk about were high-risk situations, like having unplanned and drunken sex with someone they didn’t know. And talking about that kind of sex made their friends more likely to perceive high-risk sex as normal.

That’s a problem.

When people think high-risk sex is normal, they’re more likely to go for it. And, unfortunately, people who have drunken sex with strangers are more likely to catch an STD or have an unintended pregnancy.

To prevent STDs and unintended pregnancy, it’s important to use condoms. And it also helps to know the STD status of your sexual partner. Better yet, couples can get tested for STDs together before they have sex (including oral and anal sex, too). Remember, STDs don’t always caused obvious symptoms…testing is the only way to know if you or a potential sex partner has an STD.

So the next time you hear about a hook-up…take it with a grain of salt. And if you’re sexually active, take control of your sexual health by using protection and getting tested for STDs.

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