Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 149–165 | Cite as

College as Context: Influences on Interpersonal Sexual Scripts

  • Marit Ann BerntsonEmail author
  • Kristi L. Hoffman
  • Tracy L. Luff
Original Paper


Scripting theory (Gagnon and Simon in Sexual conduct: the social sources of human sexuality, Aldine, Chicago, 1973; Simon and Gagnon in Arch Sex Behav 13:97–120, 1986; Qual Sociol 26:491–497, 2003) is used to examine the impact of religion, gender, social class, and race as well as the college social environment on sexual interaction. Research has investigated how social networks and contexts shape sexual scripts. College campuses are important contexts for sexuality, locating students within peer networks and, given the emergence of a hookup culture, presenting them with multiple options for sexual behavior. Survey data collected from 614 students on two campuses revealed that many types of hooking up and sexual relationships are common. These intimate interactions are conceptualized as interpersonal scripts and classified as relational, recreational, or a combination of those scripts. Findings suggest that hooking up varies by gender, race, alcohol consumption, and perceptions of the hooking up behavior of close friends, but not by social class, Greek affiliation, religiosity, religious attendance, or perceptions of campus norms. Relationships vary only by perceptions of close friends’ participation in relationships. The implications of college as a social context for sexual scripts are discussed.


Hooking up Sexual relationships Gender differences Sexual scripts College students 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marit Ann Berntson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kristi L. Hoffman
    • 1
  • Tracy L. Luff
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyRoanoke CollegeSalemUSA
  2. 2.Division of Social SciencesConcord UniversityAthensUSA

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