The study described in this article found that among the residential college students queried, “egalitarian sexual conservatism” was the modal position. Fully 48% of the respondents disapproved equally of men and women who engaged in the collegiate “hook-up” culture. By contrast, only 27% were “egalitarian sexual libertarians.” Another 25% held some version of a double standard, with 12% losing more respect for women who frequently hooked up and 13% losing more respect for men who did so. The last bastions of the traditional double standard are male athletes and fraternity brothers, but even there only 38% winked at the guys and frowned at the girls. The libertarian avant garde can be found among gay and lesbian students.

The authors seem to be more interested in the erosion of the double standard, of which they (as feminists) disapprove. As a father of two teenagers, I’m hoping and praying that the ranks of egalitarian sexual conservatives are growing. I realize that this isn’t the same as “fidelity in marriage, chastity in singlehood” that a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a mainline Protestant denomination held as a standard for ordination, but it’s better than many contemporary alternatives.

Articles by Joseph Knippenberg


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