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College Dating Has Changed

University of Rochester professor describes "hookup culture."
Dr. Marie Joelle Estrada is a professor of romance at the University of Rochester. That means her expertise can be in high demand on campus.

"I do have a very fun subject material to talk about so, yes, the classes can be popular," she said during an appearance on News 8 First at 4. "Although students don't often ask for personal advice, they have lots of 'friends' and 'roommates.'"

Estrada has studied what has been dubbed the "hookup culture" among college students nationwide.

"The hookup culture encompasses anything from kissing to sex and all activities in between," said Estrada. "In my research, it tends to vary per group. One student's hookup is not the same as another student's."

Does this mean dating is out and hooking up is in?

"It depends. You can have a regular hookup. So this is someone with whom you're friendly. You have an arrangement to hang out after the bars,. typically for some sexual activity. But you don't tend to spend social time together on campus," she said.

Is this behavior different from previous generations?

"I think the fact what's really changed is not the fact that hooking up or casual sex or 'free love' as know it from the 60s, not the fact that it occurs, but rather how central it is. Nowadays the hookup tends to be the default setting and almost exclusively what students engage in, as opposed to being an option."

Is this something to be worried about?

"It's not bad necessarily, almost like McDonald's in very small doses if you know what you're consuming," said Estrada. "I do think though the long term effects may be dangerous, if students, undergraduates are not really having the experience to learn relationship skills, they're seeing themselves as meeting their life partner later, they're going to have difficulties later when they encounter their life partner."

To watch our interview with Estrada, click on the video above.


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