The Long Awaited Tabula Rasa Sex Survey

By Julia Airey, Tsjalline Boorsma, Corstiaan van Pelt, and Lisanne Cheizoo

From kinky to cuddly, from virgin to addict: we are all different when it comes to sex. That is probably the most significant result from this year’s Sex Survey. With 427 students filling in the survey, it had a higher participation rate than last year’s Election GA. According to the last UCR Education Report (2013), the total student community counted 558 students. This means over 70% of the student population has handed in their answer to questions about opinions, hard facts, and stories about their sex life. The stories that might have been too embarrassing to share in public finally had the chance to be shared anonymously with Tabula Rasa – often yielding interesting, funny and astonishing stories.

The Sex Survey has always been one of the most popular features of Tabula Rasa, but the last time it was conducted was already two years ago. For this reason, we thought it about time to take a look at the most recent developments in student’s bedrooms (and many other places, as we will see). This year, we also wanted to give a more serious touch to the survey, by adding questions about consent, contraceptives and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. If you would like to know more about how the survey was created and conducted, feel free to send an e-mail to Tabula Rasa.

Who participated in the survey?

  • Responses per campus
Which campus location do you call home?
Answer Options Response Percent Response Count
Roggeveen 30.2% 129
Koestraat 25.1% 107
Bagijnhof 25.5% 109
Willibrord 9.8% 42
Hof van St. Peter 2.3% 10
Zusterstraat 3.0% 13
Zuidsingel 4.0% 17
answered question 427


Of the 427 students that participated in the survey, 278 identified as female (65%), 140 as male (33%) and 9 as other (2%). According to the 2013 UCR Census, 60% of students were female, while 40% were male. So there is a small bias towards the female side, but not too big to make it unrepresentative, as the majority of students at UCR are female. This survey includes 321 students who are sexually active.  Yet a relatively high amount, 25% of participants, said they were virgins (106 students). This question was included at the beginning of the survey, because the aim of this survey was to get the opinions and level of knowledge of all UCR-students about sex, even if they have no active experience with it.


Girls like boys like girls

Within the UCR student population, as anywhere else in the world, there are many people that identify with alternative sexual orientations.  From the people that filled in the Sex Survey, 334 identified as straight (78%), 17 as gay (4%), 67 as bisexual (16%) and 9 as other (2%). When we compare it to gender, we found out that 56 of the female students that filled in the survey identify as bisexual.

Do students think it is easier for straight students or gay students to find sexual partners? Half of the students answered ‘neither’, indicating either that they think it is hard for all of us, or just the same amount of easy.  40% thought it was easier for straight and 12% thought for gay.

As mentioned above, 65% of the participants identified as female, while 33% as male. Naturally, this has led to the following question: are there any differences in responses between the genders? And how do they differ? We realize that there are other genders than just ‘male’ or ‘female’ that students might identify with, but because of the low respondent rate for the “other” gender category, we have chosen to limit us to just these two for the purposes of validity.

Men are from Mars…

When we look at how male students describe their sex life in the survey, we often see insecurities about penis size and performance in bed. To the question ‘is bigger really better when it comes to penis size’ 39 percent of the respondents said it did matter. This insecurity about penis size is exemplified by a reaction from a girl who said that ‘I told him it was little and het got angry’. But male students are not only concerned about the length of their penis, also the behavior of the penis can be a reason to feel insecure. Some students mentioned they have the feeling their willy has a will of his own. Male students are also insecure about their role during the sex experience. They feel the pressure to perform and be in charge. One of the reasons for this might come from the expectation that the sex should be awesome.

…and women are from Venus

When we look at how female students describe their sex life in the survey, we see that insecurities about appearance are also very prevalent. Female students are chiefly concerned about their figure and weight: the body part they are most self-conscious about is the belly (also called ‘tummy’ or ‘stomach’ in the responses). But, girls: rejoice! For those concerned that their boobs are too big or too small: note that 80% of the students answered ‘no’ to the question, “Is bigger really better when it comes to breast size?”

No means no!

Another part of survey concerned the topic of sexual consent. Sexual consent is when all people involved freely agree on having sex with each other. For many people, their first association with consent is rape. However, a violation of consent does not need to be that extreme. It can already be the feeling that you have to have sex, because you do not want to disappoint your partner. This situation is something we found in many of the stories. One girl wrote that for her worst part of sex is  “when the penis hurts you but you don’t want to ruin the moment for him.”

Girls seem so concerned with pleasing their partner that they forget to express what their feelings about the situation are. Even when they expresses their decision not to have sex clearly, it can happen that “men don’t take no for answer”, as one girl expressed her frustrations in the survey.

Of course we should note here that male students can also feel pushed into something they do not want. It can be difficult to deal with such a situation, especially because many people express that they find talking about sex embarrassing or awkward. Another recurring problem among students is waking up after a drunken one-night stand. Was that consensual? This is a very important topic that needs to be discussed between partners, housemates, and at UCR more generally.

Better safe than sorry?

Many students express in their stories that they fear pregnancies and STD’s.

While not infallible, the most common way that reliably prevents STD or pregnancy is using condoms. However, many people say they do not like condoms. They say they find it hard to “put the condom on” and report that the condom sometimes slips off during the sex.

Not liking condoms is OK, because there are other forms of protection for STDs or pregnancy available.  But choosing to use no protection at all is a problem – and it was a problem was demonstrated in some of the survey responses.  Five female students and two male reported that they, or their partner, has had an abortion. Shockingly, only 46% of the students say they always use protection when actually having sex, even though 75% of the students said they would be able to pick the right contraceptive method for a friend. So perhaps students do not know as much about STDs or pregnancy as they think.  Furthermore, with regard to using protection, 23% says they use it ‘very often’, 10% ‘moderately often’, another 10% slightly often and 12% says ‘never’. Of course there is always the possibility that people have misunderstood the question – ‘protection’ in the survey meant protection against unwanted pregnancies and STDs.

Cooties…Or STD’s

In the final discussion on ‘how safe is sex’ at the end of the survey, many people discussed their worries about the amount of STD’s on campus.  However, according this survey, this worry is unfounded because only 13 cases (out of 427) were reported. It may not be that simple, though.

For instance, the portion of the student population who did not take this survey (approximately 173 people) could account for way more STD’s.  It could also be that respondents lied, misunderstood the question, or did not really know what an  STD is. Alternatively, rumors (also a major reported worry for people at UCR) could inflate a small number of cases to seem much bigger than it is.

In any case, considering the amount of talk over STDs, 13 cases seems very low – especially when there were 40 respondents who reported that they never used any protection in sex.  Those who identified as being gay had the highest representation in this group of people engaging in unprotected sex. Then again, this number 40 could be wrong because someone misunderstood the question, or virgins answered the question accidentally. Further surveys might want to investigate the ‘real’ number of STD instances, as well as how they are distributed through different sexual communities.

Rumor has it

Many students report that they fear rumors about their sexual life. In the survey, 26% of students reported that they know there are rumors about their sexual behavior, and others seem to report that rumors about STDs are not unusual among UCR students, even going as far as stating that UCR is also known as ‘STD-UC’ to the other UCs.

To the Hard Facts (no pun intended)

  • How much sex do students at UCR have?
  • How often would students like to have sex?
  • How often do students masturbate?
  • How often do students watch porn?
  • “ Erotic literature?

Most Kinky = Koestraat (Willibrord is honorable mention)

  1. Most Masturbate = Roggeveen (Willibrord is honorable mention)
  2. Most often have sex = Koestraat (Willibrord)
  3. Most often would want sex = Zuidsingel (Willibrord)


  1. Porn winner = male
  2. Contraceptive knowledge winner = Total tie! 70% said confident
  3. Rumours winner = male > female
  4. Drunk sex winner = Total tie 21% Yes, 78% No.


Top 5 strange places where people have had sex at UCR

  1. In the Burgerzaal
  2. In the last toilet of the female toilets in Eleanor
  3. In the silent study room in Franklin
  4. In the RASA board room
  5. On the piano in Franklin 15


What is the worst part about having sex?

  1. Cleaning up afterwards.
  2. Trouble with condoms
  3. The neighbors hearing you
  4. Rumors about your sex life
  5. Risk of pregnancy/STD’s
  6. Post-sex awkwardness
  7. It is exhausting
  8. The awkwardness that comes with talking about it
  9. Not being able to get an orgasm
  10. Pain during sex


10 Stories that show sex is not perfect:

  1. “I had sex with this guy once and I didn’t even notice when he entered. He was done after 10 seconds. Turns out I apparently took his virginity.”
  2. “It honestly took me about two years to learn how to give a decent hand job.”
  3. “I fainted from taking too long to orgasm and literally overheating.”
  4. “Left the door open on accident and somebody walked down the hallway.”
  5. “Farted whilst my boyfriend went down on me. But hey, we had a laugh about it.”
  6. “I just couldn’t finish so I simply went limp and told her I came.”
  7. “I once sneezed when sitting on top and then got a nose bleed. “
  8. “Just not remembering the sex at all because of alcohol… You feel horrible the morning after!”
  9. “I have been in 69 and all of a sudden I was on my period.”
  10. “When Villex comes in your room with their own key, after you ignored the doorbell.”



The Final Judgement

After examining all your juicy stories and hard facts, we can conclude that UCR definitively has a very sexy campus. However, what has also become clear is that there is definitely still room for improvement with regards to safe sex. In the survey, many students mentioned that handing out free condoms would be a great idea.

Ultimately, we hope that this sexy survey will inspire you to talk freely about sex with your friends and partners. Open the conversation with your housemates. Let them know what you like, what your insecurities are and ask them to share their thoughts about sex with you. We are not perfect. And sometimes those drunken one-night stands can be very meaningful too. It is your student life; know that you make the choices.

A selection of the questions students asked in the Sex Survey will be answered on a special episode of UCRadio. So stay tuned!


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