Some spent almost every weekend night at a “downtown” (a fraternity party at a nightclub, where men paid for bottle service) or at a campus bar.
Others preferred holing up in the library or hanging out with the theater crowd.
Because they believed that talking publicly about sex could come back to haunt them — by damaging their reputations at Penn, their families’ opinions of them or their professional future — the women spoke on the condition that their full names would not be revealed.
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Instead, she’ll talk about “cost-benefit” analyses and the “low risk and low investment costs” of hooking up.
“I positioned myself in college in such a way that I can’t have a meaningful romantic relationship, because I’m always busy and the people that I am interested in are always busy, too,” she said.
Almost universally, the women said they did not plan to marry until their late 20s or early 30s.
In this context, some women, like A., seized the opportunity to have sex without relationships, preferring “hookup buddies” (regular sexual partners with little emotional commitment) to boyfriends.
They came from diverse racial backgrounds, and several were first-generation immigrants.
They were found in a wide variety of ways, from chance encounters in coffee shops to introductions from friends.
She texted her regular hookup — the guy she is sleeping with but not dating. “We don’t really like each other in person, sober,” she said, adding that “we literally can’t sit down and have coffee.” Ask her why she hasn’t had a relationship at Penn, and she won’t complain about the death of courtship or men who won’t commit.
They watched a little TV, had sex and went to sleep.
Hanna Rosin, in her recent book, “The End of Men,” argues that hooking up is a functional strategy for today’s hard-charging and ambitious young women, allowing them to have enjoyable sex lives while focusing most of their energy on academic and professional goals.