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Gendered jocks or equal players? Athletic affiliation and hooking up among college students

Previous research has found sex-specific effects of athletic participation on young adult sexuality, with male athletes reporting increased sexual activity and female athletes reporting lower levels of sexual activity relative to non-athlete peers. Yet research has not examined sexual activity by athletic affiliation beyond quantity, nor considered the normative landscape of non-relational college sexual culture. The current paper examines the relationships between sex, athletic affiliation, and hooking up among students at 14 U.S. universities with Division I and II athletics programs. Findings show that, controlling for demographics and background characteristics, 1) male and female athletes participate in hooking up at higher rates than non-athletes, and 2) male athletes have less male dominated hookups in terms of sexual initiation. Results are discussed in terms of the increasing value similarity of men and women’s collegiate sports programs.