Sex or study: Do we need to sacrifice one for the other?

Students at York should not feel ashamed, or even take notice, of the outcome of the student sex survey, it may even mean we are studying more

Apparently we are students at a university nicknamed “the University of Dork”, so it is hardly surprising we’re at the bottom of a recently released survey ranking the most ‘sexually active’ universities. According to their data, York University students have an average of 3.4 sexual partners during their time at university, or roughly one per academic year. Compared to Glamorgan University, who appear to be sleeping with around ten people during their time at university, we’re positively old-fashioned.

Given the survey approached just under 3,000 students, and as there are over 700,000 higher education qualifications achieved each year, the survey is hardly conclusive. Very roughly speaking they used data from around 35 students per university. York has 13,263 students, including postgraduates. This makes me wonder, who were the golden 35? And where did they take the survey? I am sure a survey taken in the Tokyo toilets would reap massively different results to a survey taken at 8am in the library.

So we shouldn’t take the survey as representative. But even if it is, what’s the big deal? Why should we care how many people the average university student sleeps with? I’d suspect the average student is often far less than truthful when talking about previous conquests, especially as one participating individual claimed to have had sex in the Oval Office.

A survey like this does little to dispel the negative image of the stereotypical student. Concerned with little but drinking, having sex, and generally doing everything humanly possible to avoid the responsibility of the real world; it is hardly surprising the local population of university towns are not overly fond of their student neighbours.

Objections to the reasoning behind the commissioning of this survey aside, a closer look at the results reveals a trend. Of the top ten universities (in the sex survey) only UCL is rated amongst the top in academic league tables. So whilst the academic universities might be sitting smug at the top of the education league the reality that their sexual encounters are minimal may wipe that smile off their faces.

I’d like to suggest that Glamorgan students obviously have too much time and aren’t stretched by their degrees and that, here at York, we are so busy studying at the library we haven’t noticed the attractive student on the opposite desk. But that isn’t true, if the creator of the survey had been to York University library and seen the amount of kissing that goes on in there they might have doubted their results.

The results of the survey arguably could be celebrated as an example of the intelligence of the average York student. By choosing not to sleep with someone who looks like the back end of a camel, (never mind a lovely personality and imminent first), are we not demonstrating the kind of critical thinking which has placed us among the top institutions of the country?

This argument falters only when considering another facet of the survey. It seems that the average student is unconcerned with what the other person actually looks like: only three per cent worried about the appearance of their sexual partner. I can’t imagine how 97 per cent of people don’t care how the other person looks… however important personality undoubtedly is. Does that statistic suggest students are less superficial or downright desperate?

So what is responsible for our low score? The cold and windy weather? The lack of decent clubs? Our status as a “dork” university? Personally, I really don’t care. The appearance of a survey such as this is of little interest beyond offering a confirmation of the continued stereotyped image of what it apparently means to be a student today.

6 comments

  1. You are, of course, right in saying the size of the sample is inadequate, however another reason this survey is unrepresentative is that the questions are inadequate. It asks the number of partners, not the frequency of actually having sex. This means people in relationships (who aren’t cheating) would be counted as sexually inactive for having only one partner, when the opposite may be true.
    That said, I don’t have a problem with our low ranking. It’s better than being nicknamed the University of Whores.

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  2. 3 Jun ’11 at 2:07 pm

    Gillian Love

    And obviously the correlation between number of sexual partners and fulfilled sexual life is…precisely zero.

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  3. Who the hell cares? What sort of loser
    a) is interested in the results of this survey, or
    b) actually thought of and implemented this survey?

    These people need to find something worthwhile to do with their time. I certainly hope no money from any university or taxpayers has gone into conducting this worthless piece of crap.

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  4. But we’re forgetting, I think, that sexual deviance has a definite, incontravertable correlation to happiness, success, popularity, and fulfillment. Always.

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  5. There are a lot ugly people at our university who are socially challenged and so don’t get any sex.

    fact.

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