Students Against AddictionA submission by Students Against Addiction: Sexual Fluidity Among UCF Students.


Alcohol and Substance abuse are synonymous with high-risk college behavior. For many students college is the first place alcohol and illegal drugs are introduced. Recent studies have shown an increase in alcohol and use among college students stating that two out of five American college students were heavy drinkers and that use of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine is higher among college students as compared to those not enrolled in college (O’Malley and Johnston, 2002).  College is also a time when many experiment with their sexuality. Terms like LUG (Lesbian until graduation) and GUG (gay until graduation) show how college exists as a place of sexual freedom, but not of definition (Fahs, 2009)

Does the accessibility to such substances have any effect on how students identify in college? Do these high-risk behaviors have an impact on sexuality, or do they exist separately? The present study will look at correlations that exist between high-risk college behavior and sexual fluidity and attempt to explain any association that may exist.

Literature Review

Around the world sex, and even more so sexuality or orientation has become an obsession. In today’s society we are expected to conform, portray and adhere to strict social standards set forth to preserve our sexual identities. With research on gender, sex and sexuality becoming more prevalent, a deeper understanding can be had of how each of these exist in the human body and how each can be better understood as fluid or existing on a spectrum.  Though new research attempts to explain how a person can possess qualities of gender, sex and sexuality that are not  always conformant to the stereotype set forth by this hetero-normative society, it is still a struggle for many to identify comfortably. Andersons research on alcohol use and sex shows that many students drink in order to have sex, stating that nearly 21% of White males, compared with 20% of White females, and 15% of Black males compared with 6% of Black females had reported using alcohol to initiate some previous sexual experience (Anderson and Sorenson, 2006). The current research looks at how the two genders utilize substances, social pressures and male dominated sex to create norms.

Substance use and abuse

Research to date has shown a high correlation between substance use and sex.(Anderson and Sorenson, 2006) A correlation exists between these two variables in many distinctive ways. Anderson and Sorenson in 2006 found an increase in substance/alcohol use and an increase in sex, regardless of orientation. Due to the effects of drugs and alcohol, women and men sometimes use these substances to make it easier to have sex (Anderson and Sorenson, 2006). Anderson’s research states that females and males did not admit to using drugs or alcohol as a direct link to sexual engagement however, all acknowledged that these substances were frequently present during most sexual encounters. College and alcohol use/abuse go hand in hand. Anderson’s study assisted in an important variable formation being placed. As Anderson’s research shows living on or off campus plays a crucial role in this high risk college behavior, men who were living on campus were more likely to have four or more sexual partners in the past year (Anderson and Sorenson 2006). This correlation between sexual partners and place is one that prevailed throughout the literature.

A different approach was taken in Eliason, Burke, Olphen and Howell’s research in 2011 which studied the relationship that exist between sexual identity, sex/gender, and religious/spiritual identity as it correlates to substance use among college students. An email was sent once to all enrolled students with a link to the voluntary, anonymous survey with a sample size of 2,312. The study found a higher rate of substance use among the LGBT community as well as greater access to these substances. Students who identified as religious in this study as compared to spiritual and “other” showed to have the lowest mean drinks per week with one exception being that of religious, non-heterosexual men. This is likely due to a role conflict that exists between the two. The study solidified that LGBT men and women participated more heavily in substance/alcohol use and abuse, scoring higher than their heterosexual counterparts in nearly every category related to drug use, binge drinking and smoking (Eliason, Burke, Olphen and Howell 2011).. This research failed to look at gender/sex as related to sexual orientation and substance abuse, though the statistics show valuable information as related to sexual orientation it is impossible for one to know whether we are talking about LGBT women or men.

To form a general knowledge of high-risk behaviors associated with drug and alcohol use among college students Estaban and McCabe did research on the intersections of drug use/abuse and race/ethnicity and gender differences. The most influential statistics showed that White and Hispanic college students have higher rates of drug use and abuse relative to their African American and Asian college peers. Prescription drugs and marijuana where the most prevalent substances used and abused (McCabe et al, 2008)

Sex, Gender and Sexual Pleasure

Another theme identified in the literature was the disparity of sexual pleasure, arousal, attraction and sexual behavior that exists between men and women. First looking at sexual behavior, nearly 60% of females in a study completed using research from the National Health Statistics Report aged 15-24 reported that at some time they had given oral sex in their lifetime while an estimated 55% of males had done the same, with the opposite sex (Chandra, 2011). This difference shows a lack of reciprocation and a male dominated sex role. A section of Chandra’s the research states:

“Twice as many women aged 25–44 (12%) reported any same-sex contact in their lifetimes compared with men (5.8%).”


I am taking into account the downward societal view on male homosexuality and how the male participants may have under-reported in questions related to same sex sexual behavior. I think that sex roles and pleasure play a role in willingness and desirability to experiment.

Chandra’s research in 2011 reported that the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea were among teenagers aged 15-19 and that one half of all new cases of STI’s occur among ages 15-24 accounting for more than 6 billion dollars in treatment costs.(Chandra, 2011). These two ages groups encompass a time when most are attending college.

In an attempt to understand sex roles, sexual arousal and the sexual double standard as a precursor of bisexuality among women. Murnen and Stockton look at the relationship that exists between sexual stimuli response and gender.  Solidifying the male centered sex roles they drew on research that stated that men were more easily aroused than women, and that women are less likely to experience sexual arousal when compared to men. Murnen and Stockton claim that the cause for this lack of arousal in women is due to the male centeredness of pornographic films, films that in many cases portray women as sexual objects being dominated and psychologically as well as physically humiliated (Murnen and Stockton1997). It is important to understand this when understanding how the sexual double standard can influence the two genders differently and in turn affect sexual fluidity.

Examining the differences that exist on society’s view of sexuality and attitudes accepted in American society shows another double standard that exists between homosexual men and lesbian women. This discrepancy affords women a greater opportunity to experiment with the same sex and not be classified as strictly lesbian. The term Lesbian Until Graduation (LUG) and Gay Until Graduation (GUG) are two positions that attempt to explain a phenomenon of sexual exploration in the college years of ones life. Briefly explained, women and men are permitted to play with their sexuality in college under the pretense that it is only a temporary state, ending after graduation. Though a lot of has explained the reasoning behind LUG’s few reports describe men doing the same thing. Louderback and Whitleys 1997 analysis of 109 men and 58 women and their attitudes towards lesbian and gay men found that heterosexual men place a high value (erotically speaking) on lesbianism, however this is usually explained by the perception that the two women are not lesbian but rather bisexual, performing together sexually for the explicit pleasure of another man. The opposite can be said for heterosexual men and the attitudes they have of homosexual men. Heterosexual men in this case can sexually objectify women, seeing their sexual behaviors as less personal acts and more so as acts to benefit the overall arousal of the man, thus contributing to the double standard and male dominated sex roles. Heterosexual men view homosexual men as agents that conflict with the social norm and put the norm at risk, thus a negative attitude exist to protect these norms.

Gender and Society

The ways in which a society teaches gender shapes the way gender is controlled, viewed and expressed. Fahs states that women sometimes feel socially pressured into performing bisexual acts with other women in order to accommodate their male partners sexual fantasies (Fahs 2009). Examining this social pressure affords a new understanding of sexuality. Women in particular aren’t able to identify as bisexual or lesbian without it being exploited for the sexual arousal of a man. Fahs research in 2009 coined the term Performative Bisexuality to attempt to explain this phenomenon and how it varies by age group.


Performing sexual behaviors with someone of the same sex for the pleasure of another person creates disconnect between actual lesbianism and fetishized acts. This sexual fluidity does not help to diminish the hard lines of sexuality and the boundaries they keep, but instead strengthens these boundaries and reiterates sex as being dominated by the male.  Gerhards work  looks at the ways in which sexual orientation is taught and how it allows us to form identities of others and ourselves. Students are less likely to admit to sexual desires that do not fit societies view of “normal” for fear that they will be defined by such behaviors:

“Students continually push to make sexuality as stable an identity category as race and biological sex, and in this way, bestow analogous legitimacy to it as a subject of study, as a sturdy personal identity, or as a political strategy”(Gerhard, 2010:90)


Hamilton and Armstrong in 2009 continued this exploration about sexuality and how a double standard exists, whereas men can engage in sex with multiple partners and they are viewed as more manly or masculine, when women do the same they are viewed as slutty and a stigma is associated.  The study used longitudinal ethnographic and interviews of a group of women who started college in 2004 at a university in the Midwest, collecting data about their entire sexual and romantic careers (Hamilton and Armstrong, 2009) showing how this dishonor shapes women’s behaviors and sexually, they don’t want to be associated with the “slut stigma” so they refrain from certain behaviors such as making out, though they desire to do so. Hamilton also explained sex on university campuses. The walk of shame is something that women are attributed to, whereas a man walking home from a woman’s place would be congratulated and the sexual act would be considered a “score”. This game of sex has two separate and strictly enforced rules that define the way in which sexual hookups are viewed. In Greek organizations on campus many sororities prohibit party hosting and male overnight guests, whereas fraternities may collect social fees to pay for alcohol and view parties as essential. (Hamilton and Armstrong 2009)

The control of the party scene within Greek organizations is in most cases left up to the fraternity hosting the party. Hamilton and Armstrong relate that this control allows for the negative treatment and lack of respect towards women and supports this double standard.

Sex is a coming of age experience for many young adults. There is a socially constructed age in which we are believed to be ready for sexual encounters and for many that time occurs in college. It is the first time that most students are away from home and living on their own. Students experience freedom of expression, freedom to be who they are and freedom to do what they want.  Sexual exploration is a freedom that many explore in the college years. This has led many students to hold onto those prime years of college and the line between adult and adolescent is beginning to blur.

Typified this phenomenon as a larger trend toward a prolonged “adultolescence,” a failure to launch, or as a state where young people remain “betwixt and between” rather than take on traditional adult responsibility (Grossman 2005; Tyre 2002).


This hesitancy to grow up and take on the responsibilities of an adult may lead to the use of drugs or alcohol, students may feel pressured to “get the most” out of their college experience. With phrases such as “YOLO”, meaning you only live once becoming popularized students feel that they must experiment and try everything that comes their way, whether it be sex, drugs or outlandish bets students feel pressured to perform because they feel that this is the only time in their lives that it will be admissible to do so.





Theoretical Orientation

Eliason, Burke, van Olphen and Howell(2011) found that substance use among college students who identified as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual could be explained through Identity Theory, using drugs to become more comfortable during their transition into college life.  Fahs(2009) also reasons that identity theory plays a role in the explanation of “performative bisexuality” as a requirement to garner sexual validation. Gender theory is also a perfect frame to explain Fahs’ term “performative bisexuality” as her research shows how gendered and, more evidently how disproportionately male centered heterosexual intercourse and pornography really are. Fahs(2009) research has shown how bisexuality can be fetishized and thus questioned as a true identity. O’Malley and Johnston(2002) conclude that College drug and substance abuse tie into Identity Theory as the availability of such substances are prevalent in the college environment as well as a higher percentage of alcohol and drug users being present within the college environment. Gerhard(2010) speaks of students using identity theory and symbolic interactionism to produce a sexual orientation of themselves and others and thus act upon these individuals in different ways. Hamilton(2009) refers to gender theory numerous times to explain gender as a social construction, present in each individual and existing through organizational interactions.


Research Question

Does participating in high-risk college activities correlate to increased sexual fluidity among students at UCF?



  • H1 Being involved in a sorority or fraternity increases sexual fluidity.
  • H2 Alcohol consumption increases sexual fluidity.
  • H3 Living in college affiliated housing increases sexual fluidity.
  • H4 People who identify as female are more likely to report increased sexual fluidity.



The data from this survey will come from an anonymous online survey distributed via email to current UCF students. The surveying system Qualtrics will be used to collect the data and SPSS will be used to analyze the data. An IRB approved email will be sent to all current professors in the Department of Sociology as well as professors that teach specific courses in other fields directly related to sexuality and drug use. IRB approved Flyers will also be disbursed throughout campus inviting students to take the survey with a QR code and a direct link to the survey. The sample size is set at 300 UCF students and concludes at 500 students. Class standing and sex will organize the data set.



Dependent Variable. Sexual Fluidity will be measured in two separate questions sensitive to the participants selected sexual orientation using a modified version of the Kinsey Scale in which sexual orientation, attraction and previous sexual encounters are taken into consideration. The participants’ selection will then be scaled from 0-6, with 0 being exclusively heterosexual and 6 being exclusively homosexual. The questions also include a section for participants who lack sexual experience and thus are questioned regarding their sexual fantasies or expectations of the future.

Independent Variables. Alcohol consumption was measured in average weekly consumption from 0-10 drinks. The section on Illegal drug use was modeled after the National Institute on Drug Abuse “Commonly Abused Drugs Chart”. A follow up question with skip logic was added for those who are drug users, asking how often they use drugs in an average week with five available responses ranging from once to more than eight times as well as an option for those who have only ever tried the drug. The question related to race/ethnicity was modeled after the U.S Bureau of the Census to be as inclusive as possible. The students who have selected that they currently live in campus-affiliated housing are asked to specify a community style, among the choices are: residence hall, on campus apartment style, off campus apartment style and Greek park. Information regarding community styles was retrieved from UCF’s Department of Housing and Residence Life. The participants are also asked how often they “go out” clarified with a statement that reads, “this includes social outings, clubbing, bars, lounges etc. in order to explain that “going out” refers to a more social setting. Religiosity is also measured dichotomously using a yes/no response when asked if the respondent considers himself or herself a religious person. Students are also questioned about involvement in Greek Life in the same fashion as religiosity. Sexual experience is measured using a scale that ranges from zero to more than ten sexual partners, only asking about previous sexual experience while a student at UCF. Sexual partners are only those people who have shared sexual experience inclusive of Vaginal, Anal and Oral Sex.

Demographics Age is asked using an open field, where participants can enter their specified age, class standing is measured using six choices that include: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate Student and Doctoral Student. The question regarding Race and Ethnicity is modeled after the U.S. Census Bureau and also includes choices for Native American and Pacific Islander. Sex is measured dichotomously with only a male, female option. Heterosexual, Homosexual and Bisexual are the choices available for sexual orientation.


Data Analysis Strategy

Once the data is collected I will export the findings into SPSS and run various statistical tests. Since all of my hypotheses contain more than two groups I will run an analysis of variances (ANOVA) to see which ones are statistically significant. Multiple linear regressions will also be formulated to compare variations that exist in the data set.



Sample Demographics

More than half of my sample was female (68.8%), Heterosexual (84.4%) currently freshman students (38.1%)

james-dillon-caldwell-01 james-dillon-caldwell-02



A modified version of the Kinsey scale was utilized to gain perspective of sexual experiences, this data was then filtered to show only those who selected “heterosexual” as their orientation and then compared to the participants selected sexual experiences.



As Hypothesis 4 states there is a noticeable difference in experiences reported between heterosexually identifying males and females. Nearly 40% of the females in the sample reported a 1 on the Kinsey scale and 6% reported a 2. A mere 6% of the heterosexual male participants in the survey reported something other than “Exclusively Heterosexual” with a Pearson Chi-Square reported at .000. A significant amount of females reported “Having relations with the same sex, or fantasizing about doing so”.  I took into account the chance of any social desirability bias playing a role in reporting.

Hypothesis 2 states that alcohol consumption increases sexual fluidity. A crosstab was calculated comparing drug and alcohol use as a precursor to previous sexual and experiences, organized by sex. More than 80% of the female respondents reported using alcohol to make it easier to have sex with someone as compared to only 18% of males. As for Drugs as a precursor to sex a staggering 65% of females reported using drugs. 35% of males reported drug use as a precursor to a previous sexual experience (Pearson Chi-Square=. 038)

Looking at the current research it seems that females are in fact more sexually fluid than their male counterparts, No significant link could be made with those who identify as homosexual and previous sexual encounters with those of the opposite sex. Bisexual individuals were noted to partake in similar sexual experiences with both sexes, corresponding to their reported sexual orientation.  Hypotheses 1, 3, and 5 were not concluded upon as not enough data was collected to make any statistically significant claims.


The Best Call You Will Ever Make

Call Now to Speak Confidentially with an admission counselor.

(877) 322-1449 



Anderson, Peter B. and William Sorensen. 2006. “Drinking more than normal to make it easier to have sex with someone”: A race, gender, class analysis of college students living on and off campus”. Race, Gender & Class 13(1), 273-281,284-287


Chandra, Ph. D., Anjani. 2011. “Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: data from the 2006-2008 national survey of family growth.” National Health Statistics Report” 36, 1-33


Eliason, M., Burke, A., Olphen, J. v., & Howell, R. 2011. “Complex Interactions of Sexual Identity, Sex/Gender, and Religious/Spiritual Identity on Substance Use among College Students”. Sexuality Research and Social Policy8, 117-125.


Fahs, Breanne. 2009. Compulsory Bisexuality?: The Challenges of Modern Sexual Fluidity. Journal of Bisexuality9(3/4), 431-449. doi:10.1080/15299710903316661


Gerhard, Jane. 2010 “Sexual disorientation: an approach to teaching the history of sexuality.”Transformations 21(2), 80-92.


Grossman, L. 2005. Grow up? Not so fast. Newsweek. Jan 16th edition.


Hamilton, Laura and Elizabeth A. Armstrong. 2009 “Gendered Sexuality in Young Adulthood” Gender and Society, Vol. 23, No. 5 pp. 589-616


Louderback, Laura A. and Bernard Whitley Jr. 1997. “Perceived Erotic Value of Homosexuality and Sex-Role Attitudes as Mediators of Sex Differences in Heterosexual College Students’ Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men”. The Journal Of Sex Research Vol. 34 No.2 pp. 175-182.

McCabe, Sean E., Michele Morales, James A. Cranford, Jorge Delva, Melnee D. McPherson and Carol J. Boyd. 2007. “Race/Ethnicity and Gender Differences in Drug use and Abuse among College Students.” Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse 6(2), 75-95


Murnen, Sarah K. and Mary Stockton 1997. “Gender and Self-Reported Sexual Arousal in Response to Sexual Stimuli: A Meta-Analytic Review” Sex Roles Vol. 37, 135-153


National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2013. National Institute of Health. Retrieved
November 18th, 2013 (
O’Malley, P.M. and Johnston, L.D. 2002. “Epidemiology of alcohol and other drug use
among American college students”. Journal of Studies on Alcohol Supplement, 2,


Torkelson, Jason. 2012. “A Queer Vision of Emerging Adulthood: Seeing Sexuality in the Transition to Adulthood.” Sexuality Research & Social Policy 9(2), 132-142


Tyre, P. (2002). “Bringing up adultolescents”. Time Magazine, March 25th edition

University of Central Florida. 2013. Department of Housing and Residence Life. Retrieved November 18th, 2013 (



Please Circle the letter that corresponds to your answer or fill in the blank where necessary.

  1. What is your Sex?
    1. Male
    2. Female
    3. Are you currently living at home?( If yes skip question three, four and five)
      1. Yes
      2. No
      3. Are you currently living in campus affiliated housing?
        1. Yes
        2. No
        3. What type of campus affiliated housing are you living in?
          1. Residence Hall (Dorm)
          2. On Campus Apartment Style
          3. Off Campus Apartment Style
          4. Greek Park (Shared House)
          5. Is this your first time living away from home?
            1. Yes
            2. No
            3. Are you currently involved in Greek Life at UCF?
              1. Yes
              2. No
              3. How often do you go out during the week?


  1. In an average week how many alcoholic beverages do you consume?
    1. 0
    2. 1-3
    3. 4-6
    4. 7-10
    5. 10 or more
    6. Have you ever used illegal drugs? (if you answered “No” to this question please skip question 10 and 11.)
      1. Yes
      2. No
      3. How often do you use illegal drugs per week?
        1. 1-4 times per week
        2. 5-8 times per week
        3. 9 or more times per week
        4. What substances have you used, tried and or experimented with? Check All That Apply
  • Marijuana
  • Hashish/Hash Oil
  • Cocaine/Crack