In such a list of prices, we must count our gains carefully, not to be discouraged.
Is there any truth to the notion that more casual sex encounters happen around the holidays than during any other time of year?
In 1925, when American anthropologist Margaret Mead was 23 years old, she travelled to the volcanic island of Tau, in eastern Samoa, to study a group of “primitive” teenage girls. Entertainment was scarce (unless you like weaving fish baskets, I wouldn’t recommend it).
What she discovers in interviews and anonymous surveys of more than 2,500 college students across the United States is that dating is in fact dead—she couldn’t find “a single student who cited a long-term, committed romantic relationship that emerged from a traditional dating trajectory”—and young people don’t like casual sex nearly as much as they pretend to.
A measly four per cent of those she surveyed agreed that the “the best kind of sex is with no strings attached,” and a massive 59 per cent agreed that “to engage in sex they needed to be in a committed relationship.” The numbers, however, and feelings behind them don’t mirror students’ actions on campus, where binge drinking and sexual posturing reign supreme.
“Although many students talked at length about having had sex,” writes Freitas, “few mentioned whether or not they had enjoyed any of it.
Having interviewed over a thousand people and spoken to various dating services, Sacco would, “if I were a betting person,” place his money on Valentine’s Day as the time for casual encounters, “but it could be close,” he said.
After all, “there are a lot of lonely people around the holidays” and “sexuality and physical intimacy is often misconstrued as acceptance or being wanted.” “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical hookup,” he added, observing that many unhappy people, whether in a relationship or not, may become “addicted to dating sites” during the holiday season as a way to “vicariously live through someone else.”Asked, which age group is most likely to become bed companions for a night, Sacco guesses, “it’s more prone to be somebody under 55,” but not real young, either.