Do college women experiment with each other?
By Scott IjazPosted Apr 5, 2011
College is a time of exploration, a unique time of your life when you are exposed to new ideas and discover yourself. For many, this change is sexual.
A common perception exists that men are aroused by lesbians more than women are attracted to homosexual men. De facto, men love college because they evoke images of girl-on-girl action depicted in movies like "American Pie" and "Van Wilder."
New data indicates these kinds of men may have better luck looking elsewhere because college deters lesbian interactions.
The study, published by the Center for Disease Control Prevention, claims that a woman with a bachelors degree is 5 percent less likely to have a same-sex encounter than a woman without a high school or college diploma. Of the 13,500 college educated women who were interviewed, 10 percent claimed to have at least one homosexual experience whereas 15 percent of women with no high school or college degree said to have done the same.
Tamar Lewin, a journalist from The New York Times, construed the data to read that there is an inverse relationship between the level of education and the amount of lesbian experimentation, a conclusion which many people find surprising.
Lewin interviewed prominent figures in the field of sexuality studies in search of answers to the shattered perception. Their support lends credibility to the conclusion and offers various explanations for the correlation.
Barbara Risman, an officer of the Council on Contemporary Families, told The New York Times there is a higher chance of finding a suitable male life partner in college than anywhere else.
“The new findings may reflect class dynamics, with high school dropouts living in surroundings with few desirable and available male partners,” she said.
Lisa Diamond, a professor of gender studies at University of Utah, explained to Lewin that society has as a whole caught up to colleges in terms of tolerance. “College campuses may have lost their status as the 'privileged site' for women’s exposure to different kinds of sexuality,” she said.
She went on to explain that homosexuality isn’t a right reserved for upper-middle-class women like Ellen and Rosie. Working class lesbians are often underrepresented in the media.
Other factions disagree with The New York Times’ conclusion.
Debra Moddelmog, director of the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at OSU (DISCO), asserted that the author’s interpretation is fundamentally flawed.
“The writer of the (New York Times) article did not take into account evidence that complicates the conclusion,” said Moddelmog.
There are multiple extraneous factors which need to be taken into account that weren’t considered in the Lewin’s conclusion, said Janice Pogoda, a biostatistics consultant from the University of Southern California. She cross-referenced the study’s findings.
“The next step in interpreting the evidence would be to examine the effect of education on same-sex sexual experience within levels of overall sexual encounters,” Moddelmog said. “For example, among women who have had 30 sexual encounters, how does education level affect the number of same-sex sexual encounters they have?”
The spotlighted portion of the study was limited to sexual engagements and did not take into account long-term romantic relationships and non-physical lesbian experiences.
Similar to blood donation, the clause "even once" was emphasized.
Claire, a junior studying art education, contends that the results contradict the raw exposure of ideas that college provides.
"The college environment is more accepting to diversity, including homosexuality,” she said. “People in general, not just girls, feel more comfortable trying new things that maybe weren't considered normal in a community where they grew up."
Like Jamie Foxx and T-Paine, Eddie, a junior studying Arabic, blames it on the alcohol. He thinks the high prevalence of university drinking gives many girls the liquid courage to realize their erotic fantasies.
“College is the place where binge drinking most often occurs,” he said. “This increase in alcohol consumption leads many to do things they would otherwise be unwilling or afraid to try.”
Claire also went on to say there is an aspect of playful fun when exploring deep seeded curiosities. Experimentation doesn’t necessarily imply homosexuality, just a feisty spirit of inquiry.
“A close friend of mine has been experimenting with girls on a regular basis, but has told me she knows she will end up with a guy,” she said.
Jimmer, a student of civil engineering, summarizes the college experience with the transitive property.
“College means change, change means new things, new things led to experimentation,” he said.
Location and social atmosphere play a weighty role in deciding where sexual identification is the most fluid. The question remains has society, college or neither changed?
The researchers of the study asked three questions:
• Have you ever performed oral sex on another female? • Has another female ever performed oral sex on you? • Have you ever had any sexual experience of any kind with another female?