There is no getting around it: For many, sexual activity is a prominent part of the college experience.
Years before new students first step foot on what will be their home for the next four years, they are conditioned to associate their college years with sex, often thanks to various forms of media such as movies and television shows like “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and “Blue Mountain State.” The clean-slate mentality and added element of personal freedom that come with moving to a community of people one’s own age is bound to lead young adults to explore their sexuality — what better place than the land of no parents or curfews?
So with all of that expectancy put on the role sexuality plays in the college years, what do Hokies’ sexual lives really look like, and how do their expectations match up with reality? In a recent survey conducted by the Collegiate Times, 129 participants (41 male, 88 female) responded to a set of questions regarding their own perceptions and experiences involving sexuality during their time at Virginia Tech.
At the time of taking the survey, 63 percent of participants said they considered themselves to be sexually active, coming close to a statistic given by Psychology Today stating that two-thirds of college students in 2017 were sexually active. Of that 63 percent, 54 percent said they became sexually active before they began college; 30 percent reported becoming sexually active during their freshman year of college, while 16 percent did not become sexually active until later in their academic careers.
When asked if they believed students’ expectations of sexual activity while in college to be generally realistic or unrealistic, only 18 percent said realistic, while 60 percent said unrealistic. However, when asked what percentage of college students they would estimate are sexually active, the majority of respondents — 52 percent — guessed 50–75 percent of college students, correct according to the results of statistics presented by both the Collegiate Times and Psychology Today; 37 percent underestimated by guessing that 25–50 percent of college students are sexually active, while 7 percent overestimated by guessing more than 75 percent are sexually active.
Further, of those surveyed, 34 percent consider themselves to be just as sexually active as the average college student; 59 percent — including those who do not consider themselves to be sexually active — believe they are below the average, while only 7 percent believe they are more sexually active than the average student.
Of course, it is important to note that sexual activity can be defined many different ways; accordingly, Tech students’ definitions of “hooking up” vary greatly. 94 percent of those surveyed believe that sexual intercourse is not required for one to qualify as having hooked up with someone; in fact, 30 percent believe that a hookup can even be limited to kissing or making out.
If there is anything to take away from these reports, it’s that there is no one normal way to view or engage in sex while at college. Every Hokie thinks of and practices sex in a unique way, and some don’t even practice it at all. Whether in the statistic majority or not, a Hokie’s sex life is that Hokie’s business alone.