Let’s Talk About Sex: A Qualitative Study of the Casual Sex Attitudes and Behaviors of College Students Raised by Custodial Grandmothers
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Despite previous research on casual sex, this is the first study to examine casual sex attitudes and behaviors among college students raised by custodial grandmothers. Grandmothers raising their grandchildren is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the United States (Garner & Mercer, 2001; Fitzpatrick & Reeve, 2003). Additionally, casual sex has become common among college students (Allison & Risman, 2013; Grello, Welsh, & Harper, 2006; Katz & Schneider, 2013), with 35 percent of college females and 50 percent of college males reporting casual sex experiences (Katz & Schneider). Eleven college students, raised by custodial grandmothers, were interviewed about their casual sex experiences. Within the context of grounded theory, seven themes emerged from the data. These themes are as follows: (a) Peers, (b) Personal Choice, (c) Relationship Status, (d) Fear, (e) Race and Ethnicity, (f) Substance Use, and (g) Expectations. An unexpected outcome from this study was that participants’ upbringing was not as influential as anticipated, with regard to attitudes and behaviors toward casual sex. Further, these results may be beneficial among the literature on custodial grandmothers, especially when considering the long-term impact upbringing has on the grandchild’s attachment and romantic relationships.