February 1, 2023

SEX ON THURSDAY | To Screw or Not To Screw (In the Stacks)

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Today I write with a confession of my own naivety, willing to admit that despite my self-proclaimed breadth of knowledge regarding Cornell’s sexscape, there is one element of our campus’ sensual situation that I have critically overlooked: I did not realize that people were actually fucking in the stacks.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let me unravel the series of unfortunate (yet admittedly entertaining) events which led me to this realization.

Some Cornellians are lucky enough to celebrate “syllabus week,” and are able to avoid the campus library grind until the second or third week of classes. Unfortunately, my friends and I do not fall in that lucky category and found ourselves trudging through the snow to the basement stacks in Olin last Friday night. 

Now, I could probably compose an entire article on PDA etiquette, specifically in academic settings, but that is a mountain to climb another day. All you need to know is that, amidst an entire room of students grinding in the academic sense, my friends and I walked past two students (stereotypical Cornell engineers), grinding in the sexual sense on one of the single-person lounge chairs. Get a room.

If you’re familiar with the basement layout in Olin, you know that there is a large open room full of study tables and chairs (the scene of the PDA crime), surrounded on two sides by stacks. At the risk of exposing one of my favorite study spots, for the sake of the story I will tell you that there are two hidden tables tucked away from the stacks that can fit around six people. After exchanging wide-eyed glances at one another at the public chair routine, my friends and I made our way back to the secret tables.

We quickly forgot the scene and became absorbed in our work until the couple in question walked past our apparently not-so-secret spot and disappeared into the stacks silently while holding hands. My friends knew from experience that there is no way out of the stacks besides walking past our tables again, so when we didn’t see the couple for a suspicious amount of time, we knew something was up… Talk about lack of subtlety.

I will spare you the details, but in an act of misguided curiosity, one of my study partners was a firsthand witness to a lucky (or unlucky depending on your perspective) pair checking the #1 item off of “161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do.”

This got me wondering — did we witness an anomaly, or are students regularly turning to the stacks for a quick study break? I turned once again to the reliable masses of Cornell Sidechat, and the results are in:

Survey: Are people actually making love in the stacks? (318 total votes)

  • Yes, you’re living under a rock — 53 percent (170 votes)
  • No, that is unsanitary — 47 percent (148 votes)

Honorary Mentions: Post Responses

  • “Fucking, maybe. Making love, definitely not.”
  • “Bro this did not answer the question at all, it is still 50-50.”

Touché, commenter #2, touché. While the post responses were entertaining, I didn’t think the results would be nearly as divided as they were. But alas, my survey was less than informative. It would seem that our campus is split on whether or not intimacy in the stacks is a desirable activity.

All thoughts aired, next time you’re thinking about wandering into the sensual land of Asian Studies Manuscripts for a little hanky-panky, I urge you to to consider two things: (1) Half of Cornell is judging you, and (2) you are not being as subtle as you might think.

Annie Position is a student at Cornell University. Comments can be sent to [email protected]. The Sin Series runs during alternate Sex on Thursdays this semester.