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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The development of online dating has created a cultural shift in how emerging adults approach dating. The present study examined retrospective and event-level associations between alcohol, online dating, and sexual hookups among a sample of single, post-college women.
Participants completed baseline and 24 electronic daily diary surveys on alcohol use, sexual behavior, and method for meeting their sexual partners. We examined the influence of alcohol on sexual hookups, and how method of meeting a partner, and location prior to the hookup influenced level of intoxication during a sexual hookup. There was a within-person effect of alcohol on likelihood of engaging in a sexual hookup whereby hookups were more likely on days when women reported higher levels of intoxication relative to their average drinking.
Interventions to address alcohol use, method for meeting a partner, and location prior to hookups could be effective in decreasing potential negative consequences of alcohol-related sexual behavior in emerging adult women. Emerging adulthood ages 18—29 is a time when young adults begin a process of independence that moves them away from the regulation of their parents and toward increased autonomy Arnett, During this time there is typically an increase in experimentation with heavy alcohol use and sexual behavior, which is evidenced by the high prevalence of alcohol use disorders AUDs; Grant et al.
Given alcohol is often a catalyst for sexual behavior e. Finally, the locations of the sexual hookup may also influence the level of intoxication, with bars and parties being locations associated with heavy drinking Bellis et al. In addition to being associated with drinking, sexual hookups are also associated with behavioral risk such as sexual assault Flack, Drinking to higher levels of intoxication, in particular, appears to be a risk factor for engaging in sexual hookups.
This association is particularly strong among women. The advent of online dating has changed how individuals approach dating over the last few decades. These statistics indicate a dramatic shift from traditional dating methods to more novel, Internet-based modalities. Online dating is relatively new so there is limited research on how this modality of dating has impacted casual dating relationships. Most online dating websites and apps do not promote themselves as an avenue for sexual hookups, but rather as a way to find a serious, committed partner.
Nevertheless, colloquial knowledge challenges this portrayal. Thus, online dating may be used as frequently for casual, sexual-based relationships as for seeking a committed partner. Traditional dating typically involves meeting partners through friends, work, and family, which highlights an element of perceived familiarity, as partners are typically introduced by mutual acquaintances.
This may indicate that these dating partners have been vetted by the mutual parties, providing a possible sense of security for new dating partners. With the introduction of online dating, potential hookup partners are typically strangers, however they have often been scrutinized through perusal of online dating profiles, which could potentially contribute to a sense of perceived familiarity. Thus, an empirical question remains about how the development of online dating compares to more established methods of meeting sexual hookup partners. Not only does the method of meeting a partner likely influence drinking during sexual hookups, but the location directly prior to a sexual hookup may also influence alcohol use.
Moreover, drinking at bars is associated with greater behavioral risks. Thus, this study aimed to examine how method of meeting a hookup partner and location before the sexual hookup may influence level of intoxication during casual sex. Consequently, heavy drinking patterns often characteristic of college students are being extended past college graduation.
One study found that the modal alcohol consumption frequency increased from pre- to postgraduation Bamberger et al. Examining a large longitudinal sample, drinking quantity decreased linearly post college, while drinking frequency initially decreased but then returned to pregraduation levels after college graduation, indicating a complex progression of drinking for post-college students Arria et al.
In addition to continued engagement in casual sex, emerging adults ages 15—24 contract half of new sexually transmitted diseases each year Satterwhite et al. There is conflicting evidence about rates of sexual hookups across genders in college students, with some evidence that men reported more casual sex partners e. Despite the known associations among college women, less is known about alcohol and casual sexual hookups for somewhat older, postcollege women.
Thus, this study proposed to examine the association among alcohol intoxication, sexual hookup behavior, and method of meeting a partner. An exploratory interest was the possible relevance of the location just prior to casual sex in a postcollege, female sample. The current study aimed to determine how method of meeting a partner influenced level of intoxication prior to a hookup. First, we examined the event-level association between level of intoxication and likelihood of engaging in a sexual hookup and hypothesized that heavy drinking would be associated with greater likelihood of engaging in a hookup.
Second, using baseline, retrospective reports and event-level assessments, we investigated whether meeting a partner through online dating was protective against alcohol use during a sexual hookup relative to meeting through other methods. We predicted that those who met their partner online would report lower levels of intoxication prior to a sexual hookup relative to meeting through other means because of the level of perceived familiarity between partners.
Finally, for our exploratory interests in location just prior to the hookup, we also conducted analyses in which we examined how the location i. Participants were recruited within a progressive city in the Southwest through print advertising in local establishments and online websites.
Interested participants were screened for eligibility based on several inclusion criteria: being female, aged 22—29, heterosexual, moderate drinkers defined as two or more drinks at least twice during an average week , not in a monogamous relationship, sexually active or interested in being sexually active, college graduate of a 4-year college, and reporting at least one sexual hookup during the past 12 months. Only college graduates were included because there is evidence of differential rates of drinking between college graduates and non-college graduates e.
Thus, history of CSA could have skewed our findings regarding the overall frequency of sexual hookups. All study procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Texas at Austin: — Census Bureau, Participants had an average age of Following the baseline survey, participants were sent electronic daily surveys to be completed Thursday-Sunday mornings for six consecutive weeks i. Reminders to complete missing surveys were sent via and phone calls daily.
Participants could complete reports for 7 days after the original survey was sent in an effort to minimize missing data. Using an open-ended format, participants reported their frequency of binge drinking i. Participants reported the of standard drinks defined as 12 oz. Typical weekly drinking frequency was calculated as the of days when alcohol was consumed in a typical week. The average of beverages consumed on a drinking day was used to calculate weekly drinking quantity.
Participants answered three questions about the frequency of past 12 month sexual hookups i. These questions were asked separately for partners they met online, partners they met at bars or parties, and partners whom they met through other means. Participants answered questions about whether they used online dating and which online dating website s they used during the past 12 months. Participants indicated whether they consumed alcohol the day. If they did drink, they provided their weight in pounds, the of standard drinks consumed, and the duration of the heaviest drinking occasion from the day.
Participants reported whether they engaged in sexual activity the day. If they did engage in sexual activity, they completed a series of questions about their behavior. The method variable was dichotomized such that each location was compared to online dating. The first objective of this study tested whether alcohol intoxication was associated with likelihood of engaging in a sexual hookup. We analyzed the sexual hookup outcome using a logit model to estimate the log odds ratio for each participant, which was converted to a probability.
Next, using paired sample t-tests we examined differences in past 12 month of hookup partners and frequency of sex where alcohol was consumed across different methods of meeting a partner i. Next, using our daily monitoring surveys, we used HLM in four separate models to test the Level 1 within-person effect of method of meeting a partner i. This model tested whether meeting partner through other means i. For the event-level analyses we asked about several of meeting a sexual hookup partner to capture how online dating compared to diverse methods of meeting partners.
Finally, to address our exploratory interest in context prior to the hook up in our daily monitoring surveys, we conducted analyses, using HLM in four separate models to test the Level 1 within-person effect of method of meeting a partner i. The eBAC data were skewed so all models used a poisson distribution to for a non-normal distribution and used event-rate ratios ERR , which are used as a standardized effect size. During the past 12 months, participants reported an average of In addition, during the past 12 months, participants reported engaging in an average of Outliers were removed that were affecting the skewness and kurtosis of our baseline sexual hookup and binge drinking variables.
The majority of participants The most commonly used online dating websites were Tinder There were no differences in frequency of drinking before a sexual hookup between those met online and those met through other means. There were participants who completed the daily monitoring surveys. These participants completed 3, daily monitoring surveys and 1, of these surveys included use of alcohol. In the daily monitoring surveys, there were sex events reported across the entire sample, of which were sexual hookups.
A total of participants reported at least one sexual hookup and among these women they had an average of 3. Among the sexual hookup events, In addition, Further, of the sexual hookup events, Among the daily monitoring sample on drinking days participants reported an average eBAC of 0. Using hierarchical linear modeling HLM , we tested the influence of between and within-person level of intoxication on the likelihood of engaging in a sexual hookup across the six weeks of daily monitoring.
Predicted probability of reporting a sexual hookup as a function of event-level estimated blood alcohol concentration eBAC. Among hookup events and using HLM, we tested whether the method for meeting the sexual partner influenced the level of intoxication for that event. There were no differences in level of intoxication when meeting a partner through other means relative to online dating. To examine the location of the hookup, we ran exploratory analyses that included location of sexual hookup in addition to the method of meeting a sexual hookup partner as predictors of level of intoxication during a sexual hookup.
Note: Method of meeting in reference to online dating. Location in reference to nonbar party locations. This novel study used retrospective and event-level measures to examine the association between alcohol, method of meeting a partner, and sexual hookups among a sample of postcollege women. Similar to research, from our daily monitoring surveys indicated that within-person level of intoxication increased the odds of engaging in a sexual hookup LaBrie et al. This may be a result of the disinhibiting effects of alcohol that contribute to comfort engaging in sex outside the bounds of a monogamous relationship.
Our findings indicate that even among postcollege women, heavier drinking may be used to facilitate sexual behavior with a casual partner. Surprisingly, there was not a ificant between-person effect of eBAC on sexual hookups. Yet our findings indicated that women who, on average, drank to higher levels of intoxication were not more likely to engage in a hookup relative to women with lower average levels of intoxication.
One potential explanation for this null finding could be the gender and age of our sample. There is variability across research studies on sexual hookups with one sample reporting Consequently, in our sample it may be reasonable to see a weaker association between drinking and hookups relative to other samples of emerging adult men.
Our hypotheses for online dating were partially supported by our 12 month retrospective and six week event-level analyses, whereby meeting a hookup partner through online dating was associated with consuming alcohol less often and in lower quantities prior to a sexual hookup relative to meeting through other means. Although not all online dating sites advertise the possibility of finding a life partner, women who use online dating websites may have hopes that a sexual hookup partner will eventually turn into a monogamous partner. An important caveat, however, is that online dating profiles may create a false illusion of compatibility based on deceptive profile information.
Thus, women may engage in additional protective behaviors when using online dating, like moderating their drinking, to avoid sexual risk. Overall, online dating could contribute to drinking less during a hookup as a way to potentially develop a long-term relationship. These analyses suggest that location prior to a sexual hookup may be a more robust predictor of intoxication during a sexual hookup than method of initially meeting the partner. Future research could explore how method of meeting a partner and of prior contacts influences time to sexual hookup.
These findings are among the first to explore the influence of method of meeting a partner on sexual hookups and concurrent alcohol use. These could inform brochures and online postings that include normative feedback on sexual behavior and alcohol use of age-matched peers. These brochures and postings could highlight the importance of method of meeting partners and location of hookups on levels of intoxication during hookups and provide normative feedback on rates of utilization of online dating among peers.
These findings have valuable dating implications for young adult women. Although the present study was novel and used event-level associations, should be interpreted in light of several limitations. Third, daily surveys were administered the morning after the drinking event, which should minimize problems with recall, but may be influenced by heavy drinking or alcohol-related blackouts.
Finally, participants were given seven days to complete daily monitoring surveys, which could have affected the validity of the data. Subsequent studies using ecological momentary assessment might be used to assess the effects of drinking and sexual hookups in real time. Nevertheless, the combination of baseline retrospective reports and event-level de of the study is a considerable strength, as we could follow the same individuals over several weeks.
In summary, the present findings highlight the importance of both method of meeting a partner and proximal location for alcohol-related sexual hookups. First, our findings provided additional support for alcohol being associated with greater odds of engaging in casual sex.Adult searching online dating Austin
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Swiping Right: Alcohol, Online Dating, and Sexual Hookups in Post-College Women