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Editorial: Love is in the … where?

The topic is everywhere. The Internet is flooded with think pieces about “college hook-up culture,” and at various times during the year campus is full of talk centered on “cuffing season” or “senior scramble.” It can easily seem as though everybody around here is constantly hooking up with someone — or someones. But The Herald’s spring poll data indicate otherwise. According to our results, 24 percent of students claim to have never hooked up with anybody at Brown. For the purpose of this poll, “hooking up” was defined as making out or more intimate encounters, including those that occur within the context of a relationship.

The numbers go down as class year goes up, with 33 percent of first-years reporting that they have never hooked up with anybody here and only 13 percent of seniors reporting the same, a natural shift given the amount of time each group has been at Brown. Additionally, more international students said they had never hooked up with anybody at Brown than domestic students (32 percent versus 22), as well as more non-athletes than athletes (26 percent versus 8) and more heterosexual students than those who identify as LGBTQ (25 percent versus 18).

And yet … many students who have not hooked up with anybody feel isolated, likely because not hooking up is something we do not talk about often. People who are hooking up talk about it, and those who do not, for the most part, stay silent. Hooking up, therefore, is only discussed in the context of its prevalence, leading students who abstain to believe they are the only ones.

This tends to have a negative effect on said students’ self worth, which is why we believe it is important to remind our fellow students that whatever their romantic or sexual situation may be, it is perfectly normal. Whether you hook up with multiple people a night or have yet to hook up with anybody, that is okay, and you are definitely not alone.

Editorials are written by The Herald’s editorial page board: its editors, Emma Axelrod ’18 and Emma Jerzyk ’17, and its members, Eben Blake ’17 and Leeron Lempel ’19. Send comments to


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