News Release: How many university students does it take to screw in a light bulb?

September 29th, 2009 · No Comments · News Release, Research, Students

Nobody knows. They’re too busy screwing each other.

Or so the popular belief goes. According to the media and popular culture, teens and university students are engaging in random group sex and casual oral sex more frequently than 70s porn stars. Apparently, sex has become the new hello, requiring as little commitment as accepting a new Facebook friend.

But is it really happening? Or are questionable surveys, biased polls and sensationalistic media – not to mention youth-focused movies and television shows -  presenting an exaggerated view of the sexual adventures of young people?

University of Manitoba psychologist Bob Altemeyer thinks so. For over 20 years, he has been studying the sex lives of his first-year university students, and his research is a little surprising.

Here are some findings from the study, which focuses on 19-year-old, first-year psych students:

·      Of the thousands of U. of Manitoba students who served in the study over the past 28 years, at least one-quarter were still virgins.

·      Less than 1% of all intercourse among sexually active students occurred during a ‘one-night stand’. Almost all intercourse occurs in long-term, romantic relationships.

·      Most students had never “hooked up.” The women who had did so twice on the average, and the men three times.

·      Missionary is still a popular sex position.

·      Oral-genital sex is a very common feature of sex among these students. But like intercourse, almost all of it occurred in romantic relationships. Most students consider oral sex a “major sex act.”

·      The number one factor that women chose as the thing that would make them ‘supremely sexually satisfied’ is to have a partner they were ‘deeply in love with’. Men, meanwhile, wanted a woman to take the initiative and be sexually aggressive.

Dr. Altemeyer has laid out the findings of his study in a very readable and often funny book, aptly titled Sex and Youth.

If you would like to get in touch with Dr. Altemeyer, please contact Michael Marshall, communications officer, Public Affairs, University of Manitoba, 204-474-7962, or at

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