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Dating Patterns Among College Students Essay, Research Paper

Jonathan Pasquinelli

Sociology 16 Gilliland

11/28/00 Research paper

Dating Patterns among College Students

Dating today differs greatly compared to dating say sixty or even eighty years ago. Dating trends today, such as cohabitation, would be considered insanity or chaos if these patterns were displayed in the 1920’s. Today the majority of persons who date are seeking the outcome of a marriage (although research does not agree with this). Eighty years ago, people dated for fun, pleasure, and recreation (Schwartz 116), and only “popular” people dated (Waller 1937), dating was a rarity, and limited to people in their late teen years or early adulthood. However, today it is quite different from eighty years ago with respect to the purpose of dating, and trends. Dating starts at earlier ages such as 13, and everyone dates, regardless of social standings. What we are going to be looking at is the patterns of dating among heterosexual college students (or non-students) ages eighteen to twenty-four, and how these trends differ from previous dating trends. The research questions as are based on geographical location, ethnicity and race, age, sex, and touches on religion. The geographical location is listed because we are in southern California. This region of the Untied States is full of the most races, including African-American, Asian, Hispanic, South American, Caucasian and many more. This will also ensures that we get a full random sample. The age is there to ensure that we are covering the college age groups, ages eighteen to twenty-four. Sex of course pretty much limits us to male and female. Religion will be mentioned, but is not a major concern as far as the research goes. There will be six major issues discussed. These issues will include: the frequency of dating; how many times one dates a month and how many dating partners one has had overall. How far the first date goes; kissing on the first date, oral sex on the first date, and intercourse on the first date, if not on the first date, how long would it take. Why we date and the outcome of dating. Time relations with respect to engagement or until marriage occur. Interracial relations; whether or not interracial dating is alright, whether or not interracial sex is alright, and whether or not interracial marriage is alright. The last research question posed is whether or not the survey participant has tried the new Carl Junior’s Southwestern Spicy Chicken Sandwich (survey question number eighteen). Current literature and scientific research is fairly consistent when relations are analyzed, “people don’t date anymore: they just get together; they just have sex, live together and then go their separate ways, also there are much fewer committed relationships than in the past (Schwartz 118). According to the research, young adults today believe that these patterns are healthier than they were in the past (Schwartz 118). One research study conducted in 1966 by James Skipper and Gilbert Nass proved that young adults dates for reasons varying from dating just to date to dating as means for a larger goal (Skipper 1966). However, my research has been very inconsistent with current literature, this will be further discussed in the field research portion of the paper. Of course this is not true is all situations; traditional patterns still exist, as they always have, and probably always will.

There are many theories that collide with this general area of research. However, the majority of these theories fall under the category of mate selection. There really are no theories that go along with the topic I have selected. Of course, there are theories of mate selection, but those do not correspond directly with my topic. If I were to choose a theory of mate selection and evaluate it, I would not be able to discuss how it corresponds with my topic. I will therefore not be typing about a theory.

The field research portion of my paper is the majority of my paper. It contains the most information and is where I learned about my topic the most. My research was conducted through out strip malls and on Mt. San Antonio College campus. Fifty surveys were made which each had eighteen questions. The questions asked were: Age? Sex? Ethnic background? Religion? How many times you date per month? How many overall dating partners you have had? Do you kiss on the first date? Do you or would you perform or receive oral sex on the first date? Do you have intercourse on the first date? If you do not do any of these things on the first date, how many dates until you would? Why do you date, and what do you think the outcome of dating should be? Do you practice safe sex? How long would you date until an engagement or marriage occurs? Is interracial dating, marriage, or sex okay? Education level? And, whether or not the participant has tried the Carl Junior’s Southwestern Spicy Chicken Sandwich? The purpose of these questions is to determine whether the ethnicity or persons of different ethnic backgrounds have different ideas of dating. Culture is not taken into consideration; the only culture I want analyzed is the American culture. I divided the completed surveys into five categories based on ethnicity: Hispanic/Mexican, African/Black, Asian, white, and other. I then evaluated the different styles of dating patterns based on one’s ethnicity. My hypothesis going into the research was that Asians refrained from sexual activity more than the other races evaluated. I thought that blacks would be the most active in sexual conduct. I thought that whites and Mexicans would be about equal as far as sexual activity was a concern being about equal in number of participants in sexual activity. As for interracial relations, I hypothesized that the white would be the only group that would decide against interracial relations. My research results are as follows: Asians, on average do not date as frequently as the other groups, are very okay with interracial relations, and like to wait for multiple dates to occur before engaging in sexual activity. Africans/blacks, the research sample was too small to determine any solid results. However, research studies have shown in the past that African-Americans have more different dating patterns than other groups. For example, their dating and mate selection is more centered on their neighborhood, church, or school (Staples 1991). One research showed that blacks in comparison to whites are more flexible and less traditional when it comes to dating role patterns, for example, having the male pay for the date (Ross and Davis 1996). Hispanics/Mexicans: Males are more likely to engage in sexual activity sooner and date more frequently than most of the other groups. Hispanic females are likely to kiss on the first date, but not go much farther than that. Hispanic females date the most frequently. Both sexes believe that interracial relations are okay. Caucasian: Males date a lot (several times per month), and are the most likely to go further into sexual relations than any of the other groups sooner. Approximately half of the white males feel that interracial relations are not okay. Females: white females date more than the females of the other groups (several times per month). More white females are not okay with interracial dating than females from other groups. More white females date for sexual purposes than females from the other groups. Current research on this topic says that the majority of the relationships today among young adults are mostly for sexual relations, not for finding a mate and a marriage. The groups in the “other” category were entirely too random to conclude a solid opinion. What I have found from my research is that about eighty-five percent do date to find a spouse. The others that date for other reasons are dating for, but have the ultimate motive to date for purposes of finding a spouse. This research that I conduct, goes totally against what current literature says. As far as religion is concerned, in the earlier half of the 1900’s religion was practiced and followed. However today it seems that religion is practiced, but not followed. For example, of fifty surveys taken, between ninety and ninety-five percent answered some type of religion along the lines of Christianity. This religion believes that sex should not be performed unless the two are married. However in my survey, when I asked if the participants practice safe sex (which is asking them in a polite way if they are sexually active) a good majority answer “yes”, or “not always”, or “no”, which are answers of a sexually active person. This is just of many trend changes since the earlier years of dating. Unfortunately I learned that about two fifths of my survey participants have not tried the Carl Junior’s Southwestern Spicy Chicken Sandwich. I love this sandwich, and it is only a promotional sandwich, which means that if not enough people purchase it, Carl Junior’s will not make this sandwich any longer. I incorporated it into my survey so if a participant answered “no”, I could tell them about the sandwich. What I really learned from this research is not to stereotype. I always thought that because one is black, he/she is going to be hornier than the next guy is. I was surprised when I learned that more people have more morals than I had previously thought. I assumed that the majority of the men would be looking for sex, especially in the Mexican/Hispanic ethnicity. My research did however prove me wrong. I suppose I learned a more valuable lesson than I thought I would on this paper.


Dion, K.K., and K.L. Dion. 1998. “Individualistic and Collectivistic Perspectives on

Gender and the Cultural Context of Love and Intimacy.” In D.L. Anselmi and A.L. Law, eds., Questions of Gender: Perspectives and Paradoxes, 520-31. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Ross, L.E. and A.C. Davis. 1996. “Black-White College student Attitudes and Expectations in Paying for Dates.” Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. (July): 35, 1-2: 43-56

Skipper, J.K., Jr., and G. Nass 1966. “Dating behavior: A framework for Analysis and an illustration.” Journal of Marriage and Family 28: 412-28

Waller, W. 1937 “The Rating and Dating Complex.” American Sociological Review 2:727-35

Schwartz, M.A. and Scott, B.M., Marriages and Families: Diversity and Change Third Edition. 2000. Prentice Hall: 116-121.

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