Unscientific look into MIT students' sex-lives

MIT's The Tech has the results of a wide-ranging survey of the sex-lives of the university's undergraduates. It's not very scientific (the respondents were self-selected, and 60% of the student body didn't respond), but the charts and commentary are a fun read. I'm particularly taked by the idea of a taboo against "floorcest" (shagging someone whose room is on the same dorm floor as yours).

Sex@MIT: The Survey (via MeFi)


    1. Yeah, I had to actually RTFA because I looked at the chart and thought “there’s no way over 80% of them have had anal sex! Kinky geeks!”

  1. Floorcest taboo is a great idea, much like not getting involved with people at work. Simply because it then becomes much more awkward and hard to avoid the other person when things inevitably go horribly wrong. Don’t piss near your water supply.

    College students (even from MIT) are usually too callow to have figured this out, but I suppose after enough spectacular incidents anyone who’s predisposed to look for patterns will notice something.

    1. @oldtaku The floorcest taboo is actually well known around campus… I’m sure freshmen hear about it pretty quickly– I sure did. The variant I’ve heard more often is “dormcest,” though, maybe indicating an even higher level of caution. Makes sense– I’ve seen some pretty awful fallings-out even between members of different living groups each occupying half of one building, and that alone caused plenty of collateral awkwardness.

      1. There was a dormcest taboo when I was in college, too. I didn’t go to MIT, but I did live in a dorm that I gather was fairly “living group”-style — about 115 people, we all knew each other, took seminar courses together, attended dorm social events together.

        The dormcest taboo was probably honored more often in the breach, though. Personally, I got together with a guy on my floor by second semester my freshman year. We’re getting married this summer, after 9 years together, so it worked out well for us. But both of us saw some really impressive crash-and-burn breakups of dorm couples, and equally impressive drama resulting from dorm hookups. It was definitely a risk.

        And @20 — What on earth makes you think that only gay men have anal sex?

  2. You say study….I say a braniac’s way of letting people know they got laid.

    Sheesh, just knock back a few pints and loudly proclaim it to your group of friends like everyone else, you dorks.

  3. MIT would not let us have co-ed rooms, so we had two student directories for our dorm: the “official” one and the “real” one.

    What, no mention of the Purity Test?

  4. Americans never want to stop shopping just because we’ve already got something good in the shopping cart. Let us date at work and we won’t stop until we’ve tried to shag every single colleague of the preferred gender.

    Floorcest is a good rule. I broke it myself and paid the price.

  5. My question is: If only 98.9% of MIT students consider vaginal sex as sex… what the hell is supposed to be sex to those remaining 1.1% population????

    1. Might be difficult for you to grasp that not all sexual encounters involve a vagina in any way, but it’s true: some people go their whole lives having sex and never see a vagina. Surely you can come up with a reason this might be.

      1. Well, yes. It’s entirely possible that some people have never seen a vagina. And quite clearly, not all sexual encounters involve vaginas.

        However, the question wasn’t what kind of sex the respondents had had. It was whether they considered vaginal sex to be “sex.” And I’m hard pressed to think of anyone in any situation–no matter what kind of sex they have–who could rationalize not thinking vaginal sex fits the definition of sex quite definitively.

        1. “Sex” can be whatever you want it to be. If vaginal intercourse doesn’t fit into what sex is for you, why would you put that vaginal intercourse is sex?

          Alternatively, assume a heterosexual person who defines sex in terms of not only a physical act but a mental/emotional one as well. Some people categorize “sex” as being different from “hooking up”. The actual act of vaginal intercourse for this person would not necessarily imply “sex” then.

  6. They are blind, I suppose.

    More seriously, you missed the point: Why would anyone consider vaginal sex not to be sex?

    Since it’s the default method for mammalian sexual reproduction even an avid homosexual should recognize it as sex.

  7. There are women who never intend to engage in vaginal sex, so perhaps they are the ones who don’t consider it to be “sex” since it’s not something they do?

    I don’t really know for sure since, as an avid homosexual, I’ve never been on the bus to ‘Gina Heights.

  8. In the ‘what counts as “sex”‘ infographic, ‘oral sex’ only counts according to 51% of the people, and only 16% if you take the matter in hand. With enough cunning you can think of acts involving the vagina that many would not count as sex, and you can find more if you look it up in the manual.

  9. I wonder exactly how they asked these questions. For example, did they ask “Have you had sex” separately from “are you a virgin?”

    If not, I know young gay men who consider themselves virgins until they’ve had anal sex, no matter how much oral or frottage they’ve done. Some may consider themselves virgins even if they’ve had vaginal sex before coming out (I think they’re silly, but it’s possible).

    So depending on exactly how they asked the questions, they could get that strange result. If they correlated what people said they’d done with whether they considered themselves virgins, rather than asking “does this count” about everything, they could come up with a result like that.

    But would the survey have been structured that stupidly? I think not. More likely some of the students just thought “does penetrative penile/vaginal sex count as sex” was such a stupid question that it deserved a stupid answer.

  10. 80% reported anal sex? Ah, I call bullshit on that. And don’t tell me that they don’t know the difference between a vagina and the anus, they got into MIT for crying out loud. Even the most liberal estimates for gays have them at only 10% of the population so that isn’t it either. I’d say this poll was better at reporting prank responses than real data.

    1. It’s always a good idea to read the article before commenting–that’s not what the image is reporting.

  11. I’m pretty sure that value of 1.1% that doesn’t believe vaginal sex is sex is telling us the percentage of MIT students who are actively interested in screwing with the test presenter. Frankly, I’m kind of surprised that the students at MIT are so upstanding that this small of a percentage can’t resist giving a ridiculous response to such a dumb question.

    On a side note, I’ve never put much stock in those surveys you always see that come up with results like “40 Percent of American High School Students Can’t Find America on a Globe”. I think all they really tell us is that a lot of teenagers are sarcastic.

  12. To Anonymous #7: There is a long history of that at MIT. Senior House had coed doubles starting in 1976, and Bexley already had some then. The multiple phone lists were also required because some single-gender floors weren’t.

    The article doesn’t mention orgies, which probably became much less popular in the era of AIDS. Before then, however…

  13. Perhaps they consider toys not to be sex. 1.1% could be just the normal toy loving/hugging users. Is it ‘really’ sex when you use toys?

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