At College Insurrection, we have taken a good look at the nationwide campus “Hook-Up Culture”, covering everything from biochemistry to Facebook pages.

Slate contributor Amanda Hess recently fisked The New York Times piece on the subject, also making many excellent points in her analysis:

In the New York Times this weekend, Kate Taylor went long on the “hookup culture” at the University of Pennsylvania, interviewing 60 women over the course of the school year about their sexual experiences on campus. … And while Taylor’s story claims to move the needle an inch…her story falls into many of the same traps that have plagued this topic for years. Here’s how to advance the discussion:

Don’t just wonder what’s going to happen to women after college. Find some and ask them….Laura Sessions Stepp published her booklong investigation into hooking up on the campus of the George Washington University, Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both, in 2007. I graduated from that school the year it was published. I’m 28 now, and my college peers and I represent hookup culture all grown up. In fact, men and women have been having sex with one another in college long before we had a word for that “culture.” Instead of fanning fears about what will happen to the young men and women following in our footsteps, journalists could try giving us a call.

Stop generalizing. As Taylor notes, hookup culture is hardly compulsory on college campuses. Four out of 10 college students in America enter their senior year with zero-to-one sexual partners. Three out of 10 students said that they do not hook up. And yet we get this “the way we live now” piece.

Look outside the Ivies. Taylor quotes one study finding that “women from wealthier backgrounds were much more likely to hook up, more interested in postponing adult responsibilities and warier of serious romantic commitment than their less-affluent classmates.” Which is why the sex lives of well-off women from Princeton to Penn to GWU have been obsessively documented. It’s not clear why their romantic and professional prospects are inherently more fascinating (or universal) than those of the vast majority of young women, other than the obvious—that we care more about rich people just because they’re rich. (Taylor manages to find one financial-aid-assisted student at Penn to represent an alternative perspective.)

Talk to men. Taylor fails to quote any college men in her story, an omission typical to the hookup culture genre. But it takes two (or in the case of some campus dalliances, more!) to hook up. ..