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Terrace Talks: W&M Knows Sex

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at WM chapter.

Let’s be honest. William and Mary is not known for a killer party scene, easy A’s, or the most hottie-filled student population. Grades, involvement on campus, and getting that impressive summer internship tend to take precedence in our daily lives. All things considered, we ARE still in college. We go out, we drink, we socialize, we hook up with people. Yeah, he or she may not be a model, and you might meet in a less-than-glamorous location (the units, for example), but hey, we work with what we have.

Last semester, I studied abroad at the University of Exeter in England. English “uni” life is significantly different than life in Williamsburg: the accents are hotter, the drinking age is lower, and the academic structure is more flexible. But the greatest difference I saw (besides the large amount of Hollister® people tended to wear) was the general attitude towards sex and sexual activities. A random make-out in a club is rarely, if ever, questioned or judged. Going home with someone you just met? Not the end of the world.

This “casual” attitude got me thinking. Sure, William & Mary tends to get a bad rap for being prudish, tight-lipped, and even a little judgmental towards the sexual activity (or lack thereof) on campus, but is that just a cliché of a nerdy school? Is this “English” attitude present at our school? Or are we true to our stereotype?

We all have our own opinions and perceptions, based personal experience, our friends experiences, and the gossip that we hear. As just one student, I certainly have no authority in defining an accurate definition of how William & Mary views sex. So I decided to talk to several female students and find out their opinions on how our student population feels about this touchy subject.

The attitude towards sex on the William & Mary campus is: JUDGEMENTAL

“Girls at William & Mary hold other girls to a higher standard than they hold themselves, and are very quick to say whatever they want about other girls, especially because it’s a pretty small community of people. Girls find out that someone else hooked up with some boy who they hooked up with last semester, and then assume she is a slut. It’s a double-standard within the same gender.” – Marisa W. ‘14

“It’s more of a big deal for girls at William & Mary to talk about having sex, especially with multiple people, than it is for guys. Guys tend to brag about it, while girls with multiple sexual partners tend to be viewed negatively.”- Lucy C. ‘16

“I feel that the atmosphere around sex and sexuality on our campus is based on a lot of fear. People want to explore their sexuality, but they are also scared of what other people will think; it’s kind of a double-edged sword. They want to do this, but they criticize other people for the same thing, and in turn, judge their themselves for it.” – Rose D. ‘15

The attitude towards sex on the William & Mary campus is: CONSTRUCTIVE

“Our campus is extremely progressive in terms of its views on sex, just by virtue of the fact that they offer condoms and free STI testing at the health center. I think that there is a lot of improving we can do, but I think our campus is in a good place.” – Elizabeth S. ‘14

“I think for the most part our campus views sexuality positively, and people are pretty open about it; there doesn’t seem to be any violence or negative views.” – Gina F. ‘15

The attitude towards sex on the William & Mary campus is: VARIED

“I think the sexual view on campus is a lot of times geared towards Greek life and the athletic teams. I participate in a few activities and groups that deal with sex on campus, which makes me  believe that the William & Mary campus is pretty open towards sex, but I’m not sure how inclusive other people are about it.” – Tess C. ‘14

 “The topic of sex on our campus is kind of an awkward thing. It’s weird, I’m not going to lie. However, I do think it depends on the individual. Some people are chill and vocal about sex, and others aren’t as open. I mean, we’re in college, sex happens. But I do think that the double-standard definitely occurs at William & Mary.” – Nicole C. ‘14

“There is a tendency of a hookup culture within the Greek community, so we only get each other’s opinions. There is kind of a lot of overlap, because we’re always with the same people. Since I was a freshman, in general, the view on sex has gotten a lot more open. There is more dialogue about sexuality in general, including sexuality outside of heterosexuality. I think there is a comfort level that is growing, but I believe that also comes with maturity, which could be true on any college campus. Although, I do think sex might have little more of a taboo on our campus,  because of an overall higher level of awkwardness.” Anonymous, ‘13

“There is no one accepted opinion of sex on our campus. Everyone has really different opinions on what is and what isn’t normal. It’s hard to gage define.” – Kim M. ‘14

Want to know how William & Mary’s student population feels on another topic? Send in ideas to lydiamansel@hercampus.com!


Lydia is a senior at the College of William & Mary. She is an American Studies major with a Psychology minor.  Lydia is the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus: William & Mary, maintains an active role in her sorority, and works at a frozen yogurt shop. This summer Lydia was an editorial intern at The Daily Meal in New York City. 
Harper is a junior at the College of William and Mary, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Marketing. A DC-Area native, she serves as Co-President at Her Campus William and Mary. She spends her summers interning in Marketing. This past summer was spent in New York City working at OppenheimerFunds as a Digital Strategy Intern, and the year before at Gannett working as a Marketing and Promotions Intern in the Social Commerce Division. She hopes to slowly accomplish a few things on her list of ridiculous dreams including hugging a walrus and voicing a named Disney character in a movie.Blog || LinkedIn || Twitter