Oxford: the big gay truth

Ever had homosexual fantasies? How far have you gone with a member of the same sex? Is heterosexuality really the “norm”? The truth “comes out” in an anonymous survey on sexual orientation, even if you won’t.

Over 1 in 5 men at Oxford have had gay sex, according to a Cherwell survey of the sexual orientation of over 400 students.

57.2% of the respondents said that they had had homosexual fantasies. 54.2% of men also said that they had had fantasied about gay sex, with a slightly higher proportion of women claiming to have had such fantasies.
One in ten students said they were fully homosexual and only 35.7% of students claimed to be completely heterosexual.

Even though there was no significant difference between males and females said they had had homosexual fantasies, men appeared to be less likely than women to conclude they were bisexual when asked to describe their sexual orientation on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 = homosexual and 7 = heterosexual).

A greater proportion of men placed themselves at either extreme of sexual orientation. Significantly more men than women (14.8 % as opposed to 3.0%) said they considered themselves at all homosexual.

Again, men proved to be more extreme when it came to experimenting with the same sex. While slightly more women said they had kissed other women, twice as many men (31.2%) said they had performed or received oral sex with another man than women said they had had with other women.
Similarly, only 15.2% of women said they had had sex with a member of the same sex, compared with the 22.8% of men.
65.1% of women said they had watched heterosexual porn. 49.5% of men had watched gay porn, followed closely by the 40.4% of women who ticked the box for watching lesbian porn.

Homosexual tendencies are common in Oxford. Yet students still seem to feel unable to “come out” – only 50.0% of homosexual and bisexual individuals said they had come out to both family members and friends. 13.1% of these students said they hadn’t told anyone.

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Hardly anyone who came out claimed they had faced any hostility from their friends, but quite a number revealed that their parents had not taken the news well. One student said that that his parents had initially told him that they “wouldn’t have been more upset if I had been diagnosed with a terminal illness”.

Many admitted that they wouldn’t come out because they feared their family’s reaction. One female student wrote, “My family are orthodox Roman Catholics, they therefore see homosexuality as unquestionably wrong”.
The figures from the survey point to the fact that the majority of people are to some extent attracted to both sexes – 62% of female respondents and 46.9% of male. Bisexual individuals often said they wouldn’t come out, not from a fear of hostility, but rather because they felt that bisexuality was not understood or taken seriously.

One male student said that when he told his parents he was bisexual they “denied bisexuality existed and said I was just ‘confused’ and ‘wrong'”. A couple of students said that they didn’t see the point of coming out as they were “happy with living a heterosexual life”.

28.6% of those who identified themselves homosexuals said that they realised they were homosexual before the age of ten.

Environmental factors such as single-sex schooling seemed to have no significant effect on sexual orientation.
Strangely, 34.5% of those who believe that homosexuality is unnatural admitted to having homosexual fantasies, and a further 43.1% said they were not completely heterosexual.

One female student, who admitted to having homosexual fantasies while also believing such tendencies were unnatural, confessed, “I hate myself, but it’s how I am. Very confusing”.

Of those who ‘strongly believe homosexuality is unnatural’ 39.1% use derogatory names for homosexuals “all the time”.

Another quirk of the survey has shown that a greater proportion of homosexuals admit to using derogatory terms for homosexuals or bisexuals than everyone else. “Faggot” was considered to be the most offensive word. The word “gay” as synonymous for “rubbish” was disliked nearly just as much as “fudge packer” or “dyke”.

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One student writes, “Using ‘gay’ as a synonym for ‘lame’ really bothers me, as it shows how engrained homophobic mindsets can be, even if the person is generally tolerant and accepting.”

On the other hand, the vast majority of Oxford students claimed that they wouldn’t be bothered if a member of their family was homosexual or bisexual, or if a homosexual couple kissed in front of a child under the age of eight.

93.6% of students believed you should be taught about homosexuality in schools, with over half advocating that you should learn about it during Infant school or Junior school. 67.0% believed that a homosexual couple should be able to adopt as easily as a heterosexual one.