“The Role of Culture in Explaining College Students’ Selection into Hookups, Dates, and Long-Term Romantic Relationships,” by Arielle Kuperberg and Joseph E. Padgett

Summary of the article

The article has examined 22454 students from 22 different colleges and universities in the US between 2005 and 2011 to examine their relationship formation patterns. Some of these students form long term relations while others may simply date for a while or hook up. More men are examined to date than women but men are less likely to go after long term relations. The way relationships are approached by different individuals may be influenced by the social norms of the societies that they have grown up in. culture, therefore, has a big role to play in relationship that are formed by keeping biological, idiosyncratic differences, personality traits and other human characteristics.

During human development, cultural scripts are formed in the human mind. These scripts are on a cognitive level and may guide in making many life decisions including forming intimate relationships. In colleges, there are more opportunities to form relationships because many people who are young and have not yet married or formed intimate relationship are available. Social networking events could also play a vital role in student getting together and forming relationships. Recent research has indicated that more people prefer to date instead of hookups. Cultural norm that influence future expectations may also be of importance in selecting who to hookup or date. For example, some cultures may have an early marriage tendency, therefore, people from such cultures might be interested in people who might be ready to marry soon after the dating starts. On the other hand, the contrary could happen and some people, belonging to cultures where people do not marry early might be looking for relationships with less possibility to materialize to a marriage in less time.

Race of people is a contributor to influencing hooking up and dating preferences. For example, white men might be more interested in other white women compared to women of color. Asian men are considered to be asexual in the US popular culture and may not be preferred to date by women of other races. Religion, same as race has also been suggested to influence who you date and not date. Campuses with Greek culture may provide more opportunities for short term relationships because people from multiple culture may join social networking activities that are Greek-sponsored.

The interviews

For this paper, I conducted two interviews. The first interview was with Mr. James (not his real name, undergraduate students. The second interview was conducted from another female student, Nabila (not her real name), who is also an undergraduate student. I talked to several people before interviewing the two people I interviewed because I wanted to select people who were more inclined to traditional thinking about human relationship. The following discussion provide a detailed overview of both of the interviews.

Interview 1

James is a white American male. Before the interview, I informed him about him about the purpose of the interview in accordance with research ethics. I asked James several questions which he politely answered. The first question was about his own sexual orientation and what kind of people, based on race and culture would he prefer to have relationship with and may be marry one day. “I am a practicing Christian, I do not know about the future but at present, I would like to have relationship with a Christian female” (James). This is the first answer that he gave me. To further explore, I inquired about why it was necessary to have a relationship with only a Christian. James was of the view that one day, he want to have kids with the women he marries. Dating is a way that could lead to a marriage. He wants to date someone who practices Christianity just like him so that his children will have no confusion about their religious identity.

The above discussion led me to my second question which was about his take on inter-faith dating and marriages. James had mixed feelings about it. He said that he personally prefers dating with a Christian female but had no issues if other people opt to date people from other religions. He said that American society has progressed a lot and has become a multicultural. You cannot stop people from dating people they want to date. About marriage, he was of the strict opinion that people must not marry people who are not from their own religions because he did not see such marriages producing children who can follow perfect social norms that are pointed out by most of the religions. According to James, “Atheism, is the product of inter-faith marriages and relations” (James). I wanted him to further elaborate. He said that children born out of inter-faith relations do not know which religion to follow, and hence, they end up confuse and start to avoid just any religion and as a result, become Atheists. I personally do not agree to this opinion but then, it’s his own opinion and I respect it.

James was open about which age he wanted students to engage in sexual relationships. He said that what only matters is the law of the state where you live. If you are allowed by the law to have sex, you should go for it. But, he believed in keeping an intimate relationship exclusive to a single person, not going around and getting hooked up. I agreed to this opinion because I think sex is a sacred and private thing and it should not be used only to have fun. It should and must mean more.

About how long should people date before they should marry, James said that it should not be a long time. He said that a few months is more than enough to know about the behavior of your dating partner. “You do not need decades” (James). I agree to this point as well. I think that dating is also not something to have intimate fun. It should be looked at as an opportunity. Many people fail to look at dating this way.

In the article it is said that “Homosexual men were more likely to engage in hookups and less likely to engage in long-term relationships compared to heterosexual men” (Kuperberg and Joseph Padgett, 1090). I therefore, wanted to know about the opinion of James about homosexual people getting marrying. I thought that, as a practicing Christian, he would oppose it. To my surprise, he did not oppose it and said that everyone should mind their own business and stop feeling bad about who you want to marry and of what sex. I think that being a homosexual is getting support in even religious circles which is not a bad sign in our movement towards a relatively open society.

Interview 2

My second interview was with Nabila. I had set a meeting with her in the café so we can have a cup of coffee and also conduct the interview.  Nabila is from India and is currently an undergraduate student based on a scholarship from the Indian Government. I started to ask Nabila about any preference in dating. She said that she does not like to date people. She said that her religion prevents her from dating anyone. She said that she would prefer to marry a Muslim who is from basically from India, and maybe, living in the USA. But, the process of getting married would most probably be controlled by her family sitting in India.

“Inter-faith marriages are not allowed in my religion” (Nabila). I inquired that if inter-faith marriage is not allowed, what people would do if they fell in love and belong to different religions. She said that one should change his/her religion and convert to the religion of the person they are marrying. I personally believe that faith is not a faith if you have to change just for a marriage to work.

When asked about appropriate age for a student to engage in a sexual relationship, Nabila was totally against any form of sex before marriage. For marriage, each religion has an age limit and you should follow it because this is what God wants for you and is good for you, said Nabila.

From the previous discussion, I knew what would be Nabila’s answer to question about same-sex marriage but I had to ask the question. Nabila was of the view that God has made everything in pairs and they should stick to the natural order and not try to alter it because this may harm the


To conclude my discussion, I must say that it was a really great experience to explore human opinions about relations in such a manner. I had not interviewed anyone before. I did not know that it could be so interesting. I may not agree to some of the opinions of the people being interviewed but I respect their opinions. We live in multicultural society in the USA and I think that people should be open to form short or long term relationships with just anyone irrespective of their race, religion or cultural background. This way, we can find harmony in the society and find common grounds to move forward as a productive society.


  1. Do you have any cultural, religious or race preference in dating? Why, if so?
  2. What is your opinion about inter-religion and inter-faith dating and marriages?
  3. What is the appropriate age for students to engage in sexual relationship?
  4. For how long your think people should date before they marry?
  5. What is you take on same sex marriages?