Recent book sparks premarital sex discussion

In January, “Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying” by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker was published, and found the common perception of a hyper-sexually active college campus is mythical by distinguishing collegians from their non-degree seeking counterparts to show that young adults not enrolled in college participated in sexual activities far more than college students.

Tiffany Acosta, a sophomore psychology major, agrees with the theory.

“College students have less time on their hands than that of people who did not attend college, giving them more free time to engage in sex,” Acosta said.

Andreamaria Favero, a sophomore biology major, thought the study should have been more specific.

“There are more likely to be hookups with college students in the dorms than commuters,” Favero said. “Casual sex is definitely not the norm, but it does happen.”

The authors added that casual sex is “more prevalent at private universities, especially those in the northeast” and is more likely where there is a greater ratio of female to male students.

According to Seton Hall’s ‘Fast Facts’ webpage, 58 percent of students are female while 42 percent are male.

“It’s true that a university with more females would have higher sex rates because males tend to be the ones who are more interested in these kinds of relationships and with more females on campus they have a greater opportunity of succeeding,” Favero said.

According to Regnerus and Uecker, only 30 percent of relationships reported by men and 18 percent reported by women were considered “non-romantic.” Most students are having sex within romantic relationships.

“I cannot lie, but I myself have had casual sex with someone I’ve known or perhaps a good friend,” Ivan Crego, a sophomore biology major, said. “But I much rather be in a relationship if there was a choice.”

According to the book, several behaviors are most commonly associated with virginal young adults: being religious, enrollment in a four year college, hesitance to get drunk as compared to peers and one’s self-perception of their own popularity.

“I disagree with this because most college students have more freedom and are exposed to a lot more sexually related things, not just academics,” Acosta said. “Also, just because one does not get drunk does not mean they still do not have the same desires to have sex.”

According to the book, between 90 and 95 percent of Americans participate in premarital sex. Favero felt the percentage may be lower, approximating it at 80 percent.

Dr. C. Lynn Carr, an associate professor within the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, has studied sexual behaviors. According to Carr, premarital sex is a norm in today’s society.

“Sociologists of sexuality note that premarital sex and cohabitation have become norms in the U.S. today,” Carr said. “It is only in certain traditional and religious subcultures today that U.S. folks tend to require marriage before engaging in sexual behaviors.”

Msgr. James Cafone declined to comment on premarital sexual relations among college students but provided a pamphlet on Catholic sexual morality.

Fr. John Ranieri, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Rev. Donald Blumenfeld, director of Pastoral Formation, declined to comment.

Jessica Card can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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