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DeLamater & HasdayPage 11

adult relationships will require.  

There is evidence that the context of teen sexual behavior has shifted, in the last decade and a half, to relationships as opposed to casual sexual contexts (Risman and Schwartz, 2002). Most adult sexual behavior occurs in the context of marriage (Hyde and DeLamater, 2006). Thus, casual sex is most commonly the province of young adults ages 19-25. There is good reason to believe that practices such as “hooking up” have now become normative in college settings (Lambert et al., 2003).

Pluralistic ignorance significantly affects the practice of casual sex (Lambert, Kahn, and Apple, 2003). Pluralistic ignorance “exists when, within a group of individuals, each person believes his or her private attitudes, beliefs, or judgments are discrepant from the norm displayed by the public behavior of others” (Lambert et al., 2003: 129). Specifically, Lambert et al. report that college women and men (though especially women) were less comfortable with many casual sexual behaviors than they thought their same-sex friends were, and that women and men both believed that members of the opposite sex were more comfortable with such behaviors than they really were. Lambert et al. conclude that, “It is likely that most students believe others engage in these hooking-up behaviors primarily because they enjoy doing so, while they see themselves engaging in these behaviors primarily due to peer pressure” (132). In their article on sexual compliance (which is agreeing to have sex with someone when it is not genuinely desired), Impett and Peplau (2003) offer another explanation for why women specifically may engage in casual sex, citing a 1999 study by Regan and Dreyer that found 44% of their sample of female college students compared to only 9% of their sample of male college students “engaged in [casual] sex to increase the probability of a long-term commitment from their sexual partners” (Impett and Peplau, 2003: 97).

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