Ball’s in her court: Dates more likely to end in bed if women make the first move

LAWRENCE, Kan. — “Hookup culture” is something many people likely associate with young adults, and especially young men. Despite that perception, a new study finds dates are more likely to end in sex if the woman makes the first move.

There’s some bad news for all the frisky men out there though, as researchers from the University of Kansas say women initiate only one in 10 hookups.

What happened to dinner and a movie first?

The study of over 20,000 college students compared the traditional date night script — where a man asks a woman out, pays for their meal or entertainment, and then initiates the sexual activity — to the most recent dating experiences of each participant. Results show that college dates followed this traditional script just 36 percent of the time.

Study authors say the modern dating scene is continuing to evolve, with casual hookups becoming increasingly popular.

Hookup culture is a culture where casual sex encounters function as part of the courtship process. In hookup culture, you don’t have to go on a date or enter a relationship to have sex. The order has essentially flipped around,” says study author and doctoral student Sam Kendrick in a university release.

In a survey, the team asked participants about their dates, including who initiated it in the first place, and who had picked up the tab. They also asked students about who made the first move and what kind of sexual activity went on between them.

The vast majority of dates (89.1%) were initiated by men, even though the majority of respondents did not see any problem with women taking the first step. However, these hookups were less likely to end with sex if men were the ones to suggest going out. Of dates initiated by women, 63 percent ended in the bedroom, compared to 56 percent of those when men made the first call.

“Among those dates following a male-initiated script, men paid and initiated most of the sexual activity on approximately 36% of dates,” study authors report. “In other words, more than 60% of dates violate the traditional script — defined as men asking, paying and initiating sexual activity — some way.”

Is traditional dating ‘completely out the window’?

This suggests young peoples’ view of dating, courtship, and hookup culture is deviating from the so-called traditional script. Moreover, it turns out that if both parties are “looking for a good time,” it might help move things along if the woman on the date “swipes right” first.

“We’re only scratching the surface of understanding courtship, dating and sexual behaviors. We haven’t been looking closely enough at sex in dating scripts,” Kendrick says.

“It’s not all what people say it is. Scholarship on hookup culture has confirmed that dating is not completely out the window, and I think there are more questions to be asked about how sex is happening in dating.”

Researchers are conducting another survey with a second wave of university students which they hope will help answer more questions. The team adds that much more research is necessary on sex and dating in LGBTQ relationships, as this study only looked at heterosexual dates.

The findings appear in the journal Sexuality & Culture.

South West News Service writer Tom Campbell contributed to this report.

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