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A study confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating.

2 Dec The essay may have been published half a century ago, but the concerns it raises continue to loom large in American culture today. TIME's fears about the long-term psychological effects of sex in popular culture (“no one can really calculate the effect this exposure is having on individual lives and. The phrase "hooking up" takes on a very specific meaning on most American college campuses. Ninety-one percent of college women say a "hook-up culture" defines their campus, and a new study reveals they are right. The report, titled " Hooking Up, Hanging Out, and Hoping for Mr. Right: College Women on Mating and. 3 Aug The study's findings mesh with the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that the number of high school students who have had sex plunged last year to percent after declining steadily from percent in and percent in Related: They're not.

In the Darwinian world of high-school dating, freshman girls and senior boys have the highest chances of successfully partnering up. Senior girls too picky! These are truisms known to anyone who has watched 10 minutes of a teen movie or spent 10 minutes in a high school cafeteria.

Females are predicted to be choosy click here their mates because they invest more in each offspring, and they stand to lose more if they make a poor reproductive choice. Sexual reproduction scrambles up genes, creating genotypes that are novel environments and forcing the parasites and pathogens to begin anew in their quest to exploit the host. In this regard, there are sex differences in cognitive processes, but one cannot necessarily presume that the sexes vary fundamentally in their behavioral potentials; rather, they vary in their decision-making, consistent with other evolutionary models. A physical encounter can be anything from kissing to intercourse. This is especially true considering that, compared to males, the relative risks of sexual behavior are higher for females:

Now, however, social scientists have examined them exhaustively and empirically. And they have found that for the most part, they're accurate. So are some other old prom-era chestnuts: Teen boys are primarily—obsessively? Young men frequently fib about their sexual experience, whereas young women tend to be more truthful. Once a student has sex, it becomes less of an issue in future relationships.

A recently released paper—called " Terms of Endearment ," but don't hold its too-cute title against it—looked at how and when high-school students choose mates and their preferences when searching for a partner. The survey first queried adolescents, from seventh graders to high-school seniors, during the school year and has followed up with them periodically. The poll link a broad range of questions about health and behavior—and the data set has become the basis of dozens of famed medical, sociological, and economic studies.

A study confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating.

For instance, James Fowler of UC-San Diego recently used data from Add Health to find that there might be a genetic foundation for an individual's political beliefs. For their paper, Arcidiacono, McElroy, and Beauchamp focused on High School Hookup Statistics In America dating and sex lives of high schoolers—a subject much-analyzed by magazine editors and romantic-comedy screenwriters, but less familiar to social scientists.

What the researchers looked for is called, in academic-speak, "matching": They looked only at opposite-sex relationships within the same school. Most academic studies on marriage and partner-matching use a technique called " assortative mating ," which looks at pre-existing couples and defines the characteristics they learn more here and do not have in common.

Humans tend to partner with mates that look and act like them. In real terms, that means couples with the same socioeconomic, racial, and religious background are common. In high-school terms, that means math nerds date math nerds, though members of the debate team may also qualify.

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Read article, McElroy, and Beauchamp used a " two-sided matching model ," which looks at what an individual says he or she seeks in a partner as well as what he or she ends up getting.

The idea is that men and women—jocks and dorks, freshman and seniors—base their search not only on the characteristics of their chosen partner, but also the expected terms of the relationship.

For year-olds, that might mean predicating a relationship on willingness to marry or have kids. For high schoolers, that might mean basing a relationship on, well, the bases. Arcidiacono notes that there's a treasure trove of statistical data on the dating preferences, rather than pairings, of adults, due to dating sites like Match.

Relatively little such data exists for teenagers, who mostly work the old-fashioned meet-someone-in-homeroom way. But in examining the Add Health data, he and his colleagues found one classic economic tenet driving the byzantine high-school dating market: Among freshman boys, what's rare, and therefore valuable, are freshman girls willing to have a relationship and, even better, willing to have sex.

Among senior girls, what's valuable and scarce are boys willing to have a relationship without having sex. High School Hookup Statistics In America

The researchers open the paper by citing a New York Times article on dating at the University of North Carolina, where for every three women there are only two men. One coed argues that the gender imbalance has engendered a culture where men routinely cheat on their female partners.

A tamer version of that observation is borne out in the economists' work among high schoolers. Unsurprisingly, the majority of high school girls do not though Over the course of four years, the power shifts from the freshman girls who don't want to have sex to the senior boys who do.

Though high-school girls don't really want to have sex, many more of them end up doing so in order to "match" with a high-school boy. For them, a relationship at some point becomes more important than purity. Because of that phenomenon, in schools with more boys than girls, the girls hold more cards and have less sex.

The Truth About College Students and Casual Sex Revealed

Where there are more girls, the male preference for sex tends to win out. In high school, how exactly does one define a "relationship"?

High School Hookup Statistics In America

Rather sweetly, the Add Health study considers two a pair when they hold hands, kiss, and say "I love you. And when does that happen? Boys and girls in the same grade account for about 42 percent of relationships, while older boys dating younger girls make up 40 percent of high-school relationships, and older girls dating younger boys make up 18 percent.

And who does the high-school dating system disadvantage most, statistically?

Alcohol use was more common prior to hookups than prior to romantic interactions. The previous spring, Betty Friedan had published The Feminine Mystiquegiving voice to the languor of middle-class housewives and kick-starting second-wave feminism in the process. Adolescents, sex, and the media: The cost of mating.

Senior girls, at least according to the skew between stated sexual preferences and actual sexual activity. Though that will undoubtedly come as cold comfort to those legions of lonely year-old boys. Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Slate logo Sign In Sign Up.

High School Hookup Statistics In America