Investigation: Sex in Oxford

The average Oxford student has had sex with 4.67 people since arriving at university, C+ can reveal. In an online survey of 505 students across all colleges, students were quizzed on their relationships, one night stands, masturbatory habits and sexual health. C+ found that the world of essay crises and all nighters is not enough to deter Oxonians.

Of all Oxford’s colleges, Exeter was crowned the horniest. They topped a league of eleven colleges, chosen because each had a number of respondents greater than 25, with Exeter students claiming to have had, on average, 6 sexual partners since starting Oxford. A student at Exeter told Cherwell, “It’s good to see Exeter excelling at something for a change, this is far more important than the Norrington Table.”

Trailing at the bottom of the table are Balliol, with an average of only 2.71 sexual partners per person, followed by St Hilda’s and LMH, with 2.93 and 3.7 respectively.

There was a marked variation in answers between men and women; females were on the whole more sexually satisfi ed, with 33.6% saying they were ‘very satisfi ed’ with their sex life in Oxford, with only 28% of males saying the same.

Only 7.8% of students said they were ‘very dissatisfi ed’ with their sex lives. Analysis also shows that men Oxford students masturbate more often than women, with 26% of males saying they masturbate once a day, compared to only 12% of females. In comparison, 31% of females said they masturbated ‘rarely’ or ‘never’, as opposed to 12% of males.

Despite the workload, some Oxford students still manage to be sexually adventurous. One in five claimed to have had sex in public places including Radcliff e Square, the Bridge of Sighs, and New College mound, Baby Love, punts, and college laundry rooms.

Outdoor spaces such as University Parks and Christ Church meadow were particularly popular. However, libraries were by far the most public location for sex in public. Over half of those who admitted to having had sex in a public place selected college libraries as their rendezvous of choice.

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Park End was by far the most popular location for people who wish to find a sexual partner in a nightclub. 32% of students considered it to be the best location for those looking for one night stands, rivalled by Baby Love at 20%. The Cellar trailed with a measly 2% of students citing it as a top pick-up locale.

Most students concluded that sex is easily available for thos who look for it. “Oxford is a very sexually open place. Casual sex is readily available to those who are looking for it”, as one respondent said. 61% of students said they had had at least one one-night stand.

Yet sex in Oxford is not for everyone; one student told Cherwell, “I’m not really attracted to the typical Oxford type of person.” Another wrote, “not having sex is perfectly acceptable, and probably the best option in this environment”, while a third commented, “Oxford is terrible for adventurous sex”.

Despite this assertion, another student highlighted the prevalence of Oxonian kink: “I am pretty openly kinky and regularly go to kink events around Oxford. My lack of relationships, one night stands and so on is partially due to my sexual preferences.” Another wrote, “I feel I am far more sexually liberated in terms of social barriers i.e. homosexuality.”

Worryingly, ‘college incest’ is reasonably prevalent, with 16% of those who responded to the survey admitting to having had a relationship with a member of their college family. 47% said they’d been involved with someone of a different year, while 35% said they’d shacked up with someone from a different college.

65% of those who responded to the C+ survey said they were currently in a relationship, or had been in one at some point during their time at Oxford. However, some students in relationships with people who do not attend Oxford raised practical concerns as to how long-distance relationships affect sexual satisfaction.

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One wrote, “[I] would be completely satisfied but my boyfriend doesn’t live in Oxford… Sad times”, while another said, “Can be pretty tough sometimes, my girlfriend’s at a different uni so I don’t get sex nearly as often as I want sex.” These weren’t the only practical concerns raised. One comment read, “It’s too cold to have fun sex in student houses”, while another read, “single beds are the bane of my life.” A third comment discussed the affects an Oxford lifestyle can have on energy levels: “Oxford makes me tired and gives me spots neither of which is ideal for hot regular sex…”

The last point was a common theme among respondents. Several of those who responded wrote that the frenetic Oxford term time left less time than they may have liked for sex. One student said, “Most (all) of my ‘sexual experiences’ whilst at Oxford have taken place in the breaks. There isn’t really time during term.” Another read more simply, “IM 2 TIRED 4 SEX”.

Overall, Oxford students compete well with other universities in their sex lives. In the 2013 Student Bean University Sex League, based on a survey of 6,653 undergraduates, Oxford came in at 33rd, ahead of Cambridge (41st), Durham (57th) and even so-called ‘S-Exeter’ University (79th).