The prerequisite of Valentine’s day is that all important gift. Will it be flowers, chocolates, a teddy bear with a heart that says ‘I luv you’? Or, maybe, a light bondage kit, a couple’s buzz set, a cock ring? Call it whatever you want: bumping uglies, nookie, doing the dirty, rolling in the hay, buttering the muffin, bonking, shagging, even ‘riding the beef bus to tuna town’, sex is Oxford’s favourite recreation, so Cherwell decided to do a little sleuthing just for your pleasure into Oxford’s sex life.
Our recent survey told us that 71.4% of students have visited a sex shop, and but for the majority this had only been once or twice and only 12% had done so in Oxford. Of those who had gone to a sex shop, the main reasons were ‘for a joke’, ‘to buy a present’, or ‘a friend made me’.

For those who hadn’t ever visited a sex-shop, ‘seediness’ was given as the most common explanation for their avoidance, along with the free and unlimited availability of porn on the internet. ‘The Private Shop’ on Cowley road is part of the biggest chain of sex shops in the UK and one of three adult stores that line the street. Cherwell took a trip and talked to one of the staff to dispel any myths and misgivings.

With darkened windows and ‘PRIVATE SHOP’ plastered over the top, it’s easy to see why one of these shops can seem like a far cry from the lace and lingerie of an Ann Summers. Inside it’s like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but instead of a chocolate bar, it’s a dildo, and instead of an Oompa-Loompa, it’s their male best-seller, the ‘love box’ – a ‘realistic, vibrating pussy and ass’. Despite the obvious hesitation as you duck into a sex shop alone, the Private Shop prides itself on offering nothing but the best products you can buy and none of the seaminess that stop a lot of people from uncovering the goodies within. There isn’t a typical customer that stops at these shops: ‘We get police officers, doctors, lawyers, the lot, but not enough students. Women feel more comfortable in places like Ann Summers where there are just female staff, so we do get more men coming in. Although the most outrageous thing I’ve heard since working here was when a girl came in and asked for my advice on how her girlfriend could stretch her anus, but that’s nothing compared to the offers I get – single people, threesomes, sex parties…’ Without all that lace and lingerie, these sex shops tend to be a lot cheaper than you find on your average high street. The favourite buys for women are ‘definitely the Rampant Rabbit or Bullet, and you can find them about 15-25% cheaper in a sex shop like ours than at Ann Summers and other high street shops’. But Oxford is clearly willing to experiment, with solo sex toys, couples’ sets and lingerie all popular at the Union’s Ann Summers’ party and the Safe Sex party last term.

Cherwell got some tips on where curious singles and couples can begin: ‘Porn DVDs are great for couples to enjoy together, and here you can return a DVD for store credit so it’s almost like a porn library! Small vibrators are great for beginners and for the more adventurous we have ‘Contact’ magazine where people advertise sex events and look for people to join in. Some people have misconceptions about sex shops and porn because we’ve got these massive dildos and there are some big penises in porn, but the reality for penis size is between 5″ and 7″, and there really is something here for every appetite’.
After all this research into the sexual shenanigans of Oxford, Cherwell decided it was time to get hands on. We sent (without much persuasion, after a hard night on the Kukui punch) one of our best men to the front line to experience Oxford’s hotly-debated stripping and lap dancing club, Thirst Lodge, to report back. For the sake of his rep, he’s requested we keep him anonymous. He said, ‘I was a young and naive fresher, corrupted by my college father. When, after another cracking night in Kukui, he said “let’s go to the lodge”, I thought he was referring to the porter’s lodge and so I agreed (it was 2am and well past my bedtime). I did not realise that he was in fact talking about the seedy dungeon of clunge that is the Thirst Lodge… As I joined the queue of fellow sad and lonely sex-pests, I felt an overwhelming sense of shame- what on earth would my mother say!? – but this was all soon forgotten as I walked inside and was confronted by what can only be described as heaven on earth. Bikini-clad women span and slid upside-down on a pole using no hands- if I hadn’t been busy trying to find a seat to hide my erection I might have taken a moment to appreciate the sheer athleticism involved. The place essentially strips away all standard social practices and lets nature take its course. Men like women, and women like men, especially fat, sweaty, balding loners who are happy to pay £20 to sit on their hands and watch the no pants dance. My dancer looked like Beyonce, but spoke like Plan B. She had three kids and apparently worked as a child-minder during the day (no lie). After three minutes of staring at her boobs and admiring how neat and tidy everything was ‘down there’, she asked if I wanted to “come into the V.I.P area”; I couldn’t work out whether this was an innuendo or not, nevertheless I declined after she called me “a very naughty boy”. I have not been back since. Apart from once. But that is another story for another time…’

When Cherwell contacted Thirst Lodge, we were told that students aren’t their typical clientele. So with the lack of students in sex shops and strip clubs, the question remains, where is it that Oxford students are getting their rocks off? Cherwell looked once again to our survey to find out exactly where we were indulging our naughty side. The most adventurous

places people had had sex ranged from cars to cliffs, from the parents’ bed to the back of the top deck of the Oxford Tube (oo-er). Only one of our students questioned had joined the mile high club, but over a third had indulged in a little outdoor action. The library was a firm favourite for extra-bedroom relations, and even University parks had a few fans. The subject that students thought got the most sex were history or geography students (it obviously helps to have a ‘flexible’ schedule), while English and PPE students were most likely to be in a relationship. 19% of students in Oxford weren’t having sex, while 24% were only getting laid once a week. The majority of those surveyed were having sex two to three times a week, and one lascivious student claimed to be doing the dirty 15 times. There was a varied attitude towards one-night-stands; 19% said they had none, 38% said they had between 1 and 2, 29% had 3-5, and 14% had over 5 one-night-stands a term. Nine was the highest number of one-night-stands had in a term. 10% of students had revelled in anal and rimming. Some of our answers were a little disturbing: one voyeurism-fan got a kick out of watching someone get fingered during a ‘Junior Apprentice’ episode.

This Valentine’s day, whether it’s dinner for two or tissues for one, head down to one of Cowley’s sex shops. Maybe you just haven’t yet discovered your love for a bit of whi

p and tickle, but if you need any extra incentive, it’s 20% off for students…