College: a time of academic growth and self-discovery. This self-discovery isn’t just getting to know yourself; it’s also getting to know your sexual being. In general, when we think of sex and college students, we think of them as being very sexually active. It may come as a surprise that this is not in fact the case.
According to Cosmopolitan, New York Magazine partnered with Survey Monkey to poll 700 college students about their sex lives. According to the poll, 74% of freshmen and sophomores believed they had far less exciting sex lives than their peers, while 64% of juniors and seniors shared that opinion. From freshmen to seniors, 41% of women and 49% of men said they are not sexually active, and 39% of participants said they were still virgins, further disproving the misconception that college students have hyperactive sex lives. “Everyone, in other words, thinks that they are the exception to a general state of wild abandon […]” wrote journalists Lauren Kern and Noreen Malone.
Love was also a hot topic in the survey. It found that love is something commonly experienced during the college years. About 70% of women and 80% of men reported that they have been in love before. Out of those responders, 87% of those people have had sex with people they loved.
We can’t talk about hookup culture and college sex without mentioning sexual assault. The data found suggested that 40% of women felt that their partner had “crossed the line,” compared to 15% of males. It also showed that rejection from a partner was a big fear shared by both men and women.
The New York Times Magazine published these findings in their current issue, which is focused on sex on campus. The piece, titled “Heirs to the Sexual Revolution”, interviewed and photographed college students around the country to document sex and relationship dynamics at different universities. The interviews are short, with titles like “Caroline blacks out, and then makes out” and “Cia and Jackson share a dorm room. They broke up after moving in”. The journalists found that students are very aware of the issue of rape and sexual assault on college campuses, but despite this, are optimistic about the ways in which they can discover themselves, personally and sexually.