Valentine’s Day has descended upon the Hill, bringing with it chocolate, flowers and a hot pink clock tower. Despite the bitter cold and a barrage of snow, Cornellians’ hearts seem to be warm: 45 percent of student respondents reported that they are in love.
To find out whether students truly “work hard, play hard,” The Sun conducted a survey asking students all about their relationship statuses, dating in the digital age and their sexual habits.
The survey was shared over Facebook posts, Tweets, emails, text messages and GroupMe chats over the course of two weeks in February. While the survey was anonymous, it collected some demographic information, including gender identity and academic year.
The majority of the 515 survey respondents self-identified as female — 74.76 percent — with 22.72 percent of respondents being male. The remainder identified as non-binary, genderqueer or something else.
The sophomore class represented the most respondents with 33.2 percent. Juniors followed at 26.8 percent, seniors at 26.6 percent, first-years at 9.3 percent and grad students at 4.1 percent.
The second installation of the survey offered the following insights into the more intimate side of student life.
Relationships: It’s Complicated
Forty-eight percent of respondents said they’ve made it official, with 59 percent of those students reporting having been in a relationship for a year or longer. Five students — one first-year, one sophomore, one junior and two graduate students — are married and one sophomore is engaged.
The breakdown of relationship status by gender is more balanced this year, with just 47 percent of women reporting being in relationships and 49 percent of men (last year, 45 percent of women and 38 percent of men said they were cuffed).
Juniors are the undergraduate class dating the most — the survey found 57 percent of respondents are in a relationship. 62 percent of graduate students, 49 percent of seniors and 40 percent of sophomores are also in committed relationships.
First-years are in the fewest relationships, but at 31 percent, they seem to be pretty productive. Even though they’ve been on campus for just over a semester, 53 percent of them met at Cornell.
“When you come to Cornell, you might want to pair up because people are pairing up,” Prof. Vivian Zayas, psychology, told The Sun. “The benefits of pairing up might outweigh the issues of compatibility,” she continued.
For students looking for love, the survey suggests joining clubs or going to parties to meet potential matches — with 22 percent and 17 percent of respondents meeting there, respectively — offering a wide array of places to scope out future partners.
It’s important to note, for all the results, that the title “Relationships and Love Survey” likely had an effect on the demographic of respondents — skewing to favor students in relationships rather than not.
Swiping in the Right Direction
Ten percent of respondents in relationships also reported swiping on their significant others on dating apps, though half of respondents “never” use them.
It’s a man’s world on apps like Tinder and Bumble, with guys reporting more usage than ladies. But Zayas was surprised to learn that students reported meeting their partner in person more frequently than via dating apps.
“Through a dating app, you’re more in the mindset of looking for someone and sometimes when you’re in that mindset, you can view other people more as objects, like you’re going shopping,” she said.
Dating apps, some including Zayas speculate, have caused an increase in hookup culture because of the sheer volume of prospective dates they allow users to access.
Let’s Talk About Sex
“I think the number of people having sex seems low,” Zayas said, despite the increase in numbers. This year, 81 percent of respondents — versus last year’s 71 percent — reported bumping uglies at least a few times a year.
Women reported having slightly more sex than men; with 82 percent reporting that they have sex at least “a couple times a year” versus men’s 80 percent.
Out of five students, only one would fess up to having casual sex with different partners regularly, but 24 percent of students reported feeling social pressure to have an active social life.
Zayas also noted the unique challenges that college-aged students face, namely phenomenons like climate change that provoke feelings of uncertainty that “can make us turn to other people and strengthen the desire to want relationships.”
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Zayas remarked about the data.