(The Conversation) Daniel is “free-spirited and open-minded” about hooking up. As one of the 70 percent of students who do so each year on U.S. college campuses, he embraces hookups and their culture of students having sexual encounters without expectations of any feelings, much less relationships. Hooking up, according to Daniel, is all about “fun,” “gratification,” “curiosity,” “party culture” and “hormones.”
As Catholicism teaches abstinence before marriages, there is a common perception that Catholic schools would be places without hookup culture.
But, are they?
Different types of Catholic cultures
In fact, all of the previous research indicated students on Catholic campuses hooked up just as frequently as their peers on other campuses, and maybe a bit more often.
Daniel was one of the students who spoke to me as I surveyed 1,000 students on 26 Catholic campuses between 2013 and 2015. As I started my research in 2013, I greatly increased the number of students and campuses being studied.
My first finding was there wasn’t any one type of Catholic campus – but three.
Some students described their campus as “very Catholic.” Mason, a sophomore, described his strongly Catholic campus by saying, “People identify with it and are drawn to it… . The Catholicism resonates through all the campus.”
Campuses that students described as “very” Catholic had similar characteristics. Approximately 80 percent of the students identified as Catholic; everyone was required to take three classes in theology; and residence halls were segregated by gender.
Then there were the “mostly Catholic” campuses. On average, 75 percent of students on these campuses were Catholic, and everyone was required to take two classes in theology. Their dorms were mostly were coed. Students described this culture as Catholic because it was “very nice” and “very hospitable.”