‘Romance is dead in the dorms’: How students navigate love and sex in college

For some students, romance and sex in the dorms are nonexistent. For others, navigating them can be uncomfortable. Photo by Max Weirauch

For Haley Waldron, a freshman psychology major, coexisting with roommates is no easy task. In her roommate agreement, everyone has to ask one another for approval every time someone wants to come into their shared space, which Waldron said that doesn’t happen often.

“Most of my friends will get with guys at parties and it doesn’t go farther than that,” Waldron said. “I’d say romance is pretty much dead in the dorms.”

Keeping romance alive in dormitories can be hard, but not impossible. Lucy Ebers, a freshman psychology major shared how she began dating her long-distance boyfriend, who attends Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. two years ago, right before going to college.

The two decided to get back together during holiday break and plan to see each other the day after Valentine’s Day. But until then, Ebers said they talk over the phone and FaceTime to make up for the physical distance. The two have managed to make their relationship work.

“We like to send each other paragraphs before bed, having those conversations every day is important so when he comes, it doesn’t feel like we’re apart,” Ebers said. “He falls asleep at 3 a.m. and sends me a sweet goodnight text telling me why he appreciates me, and I wake up to it.”

To Ebers, this is a crucial part of why they’re still together. These morning texts are more than affirmation; they’re the glue for her long-distance relationship.

While Ebers has faith in maintaining her romance, Waldron thinks hookup culture in the dorms is practically nonexistent.

“There are no attractive guys at Chapman,” she said.

Ebers feels like the dorms are not welcoming for some couples. When she tries to spend quality time with her boyfriend in the dorm lounges, she finds others may have problems with it.

“(It’s) awkward because we’ll be out trying to watch a movie, and people will walk in and feel uncomfortable because we’re a couple,” Ebers said. “There are times where I’ve had to stay outside in the cold to talk with him on the phone.”

For Ebers, her roommates’ supportiveness of her relationship has helped her feel more at ease with her long-distance relationship.

“If you’re going through a rough time, it’s not comfortable to be in your room and talk about uncomfortable topics,” she said. “But luckily I was blessed with roommates who love me and him.”