Would You Live in a Co-Ed Dorm Room? January 24, 2009

Would You Live in a Co-Ed Dorm Room?

Conservative Christians can’t deal with the notion that more colleges are now allowing co-ed dorm rooms:

Bryan Fischer of the Idaho Values Alliance says the exposure of a co-ed housing plan is touching nerves.

“[B]ecause a 20- or 21-year-old female student can contract sexually transmitted disease[s] or get pregnant just as easily as an 18- or 19-year-old student,” he says. “And we just think that a taxpayer-funded institution like the University of Idaho simply should not be in the business of fostering environments that encourage this kind of sexual experimentation.”

Fischer says besides the risk of sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy, young women will be subject to an increased risk of date rape and other violent domestic crimes.

He makes it sound as if women are forced into these living arrangements against their will.

My closest friends in college were female — strictly platonic relationships. If we had the option to live together, I’m sure we would’ve taken that opportunity.

Why is it so hard for Fischer and others like him to understand that it’s possible for guys and girls to have a close relationship without wanting to jump each other at all times?

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  • Cindy

    I lived in co-ed dorms over 20 years ago. It’s not new. It was no big deal…except it was weird to use the communal bathrooms together. No one (or maybe only girls?) likes to “poo” while someone of the opposite sex is in the next stall.

  • Elsa

    Seriously? My college didn`t have any dorms that weren`t co-ed. Sure, people had sex. There was also a basket of free condoms in the health center. It`s part of learning–about human relationships, emotions, your own body, etc.

  • Luther Weeks

    Also notice that they never mention the danger to boys. Perhaps we should send them all to Seminary and let the Church protect them from associating with women.

  • I lived in a co-ed dorm for two years, at a fairly conservative Christian college. Girls and boys were on separate floors and weren’t allowed in each other’s living spaces past a certain time, but the dorm itself had both boys and girls living in it at the same time.

    I was a resident assistant, and a sexual assault educator, and I never heard of this living arrangement resulting in any cases of STDs, unwanted pregnancies, or date rape. Not that I necessarily would have known about these things, especially if they weren’t reported, but I think I would have been more likely than most people to know of them.

    In general, I think there’s just a large stigma among conservative Christians against members of the opposite sex being in “inappropriate” situations. Some even take this as far as saying that one-on-one dating, or riding alone in a car with a member of the opposite sex, is inappropriate. It’s not necessarily rational or well thought-out, but I think it attempts to err well on the side of caution. I appreciate the sentiment, but it can be taken too far.

  • ungullible

    Why is it so hard for Fischer and others like him to understand that it’s possible for guys and girls to have a close relationship without wanting to jump each other at all times?

    Because they are sexually repressed and therefore DO want to jump each other at all times. They believe that even *thinking* about sex is the sin of fornication, so they are constantly trying to suppress those thoughts, which (ironically) causes them to think about it that much more.

  • Dan C.

    Everyone knows that it’s impossible for any male and any female to enter an enclosed area without immediately engaging in sinful behavior.

  • Actually, co-ed dorms might be workable if all the students could be convinced to take a “purity pledge” prior to moving in.

  • John

    Umm…don’t 20 or 21-year old girls who don’t go to college live in “co-ed” apartment buildings?

  • Nixxy

    HA! My school is overwhelmingly male. It’d be impossible to not have co-ed dorms.

  • GullWatcher

    If you read the article, it’s not co-ed dorms they are getting bent out of shape about, but co-ed rooms. Still not anything to get upset over, as long as it’s voluntary, but exactly the sort of thing you expect them to get all freaked out about.

    If I were a parent, I might get a bit angsty about who my kid was rooming with, too. I’ve had nightmare room-mates and it doesn’t add to the college experience, but gender would not be my top concern or even close.

  • TK

    If you want to see what they expect out of all schools, go find the “moral standards” of “‘Liberty’ ‘University'”(extra quotes for extra implications of falsity in the “school’s” name!!!). They punish students for simply being alone with members of the opposite sex.

    Part of going to college is learning to survive on your own. If kept away from sexual tension, there’s no way to learn how to act when you’re thrust into the real world. The people who advocate such nonsense are getting increasingly ridiculous.

  • scott

    i DID live in a co-ed dorm during college, and the people i met there were and are STILL the best friends of my life. after leaving toe dorm to live off-campus, i had 2 girl roommates. we never hooked up. only people with small minds think men and women cannot just be friends. it’s sad. if a man and a woman want to have sex, they’ll find a way whether they live in co-ed dorms or not!

  • Eric

    As a current college student I am in a co-ed dorm. But does anybody want to mention to these people that it’s conservative Christians who have the highest rate of teen pregnancy.

  • Kate

    I too, am a current college student residing in a co-ed dorm. Since my building is an “L” shape, boys are in one wing, girls the other. And seeing as how in dorms, the thin walls allow you to hear everything, added to the constant security patrols and such at night and in the evenings, It’s very secure. I think I actually feel a bit safer here, than I do at my parents home.

    However, co-ed rooms are not permitted. Which actually, is sort a problem for many of the LGBT community, who sometimes wish to room with other members of the community that happen to be of the opposite sex. Also, the fact that there are designated “Boys” and “Girls” bathrooms, makes it difficult for transgendered students in my building.

  • Harknights

    Wait 20 year old men and women want to have sex?!? Does the media know?

  • Eric

    Kate, my university is not even that restrictive. The rooms themselves are for one sex, but the room across the hall could have the opposite sex just like the room on the other side of the wall could have the opposite sex. We do have a bathroom for each room, but there is also a co-ed public bathroom in each dorm. I actually wonder how they handle transgendered students because I just don’t know.

  • Gee, my school had single sex only rooms and people still managed to sexually experiment with their roommates. In fact there was a long running joke that if someone signs up for a room with their girlfriend they would inevitably break up over summer and thus have to spend the entire first month of the next year living in a tiny room together before the room change freeze was lifted. So, not only can opposite sex roommates perhaps avoid jumping each other late in the night, same sex roommates perhaps can not. Clearly all college girls need to live in private rooms that they are locked into shortly after say, ten lest those sweet innocents with no will of their own lose their “virtue” to some slobbering dude.

  • Miko

    He makes it sound as if women are forced into these living arrangements against their will.

    No, he doesn’t care whether they make the choice themselves. He just thinks that people are unable to make decisions for themselves and thus that they should be controlled by a wise, benevolent dictator such as him.

    This belief is actually the motivation for most modern politics. No, you can’t decide whether to have an abortion, because your moral values may differ from mine. No, we can’t privatize social security, because some people might choose to invest in ways that I don’t like. No, we can’t let people dying of cancer try an experimental medication, because I don’t know if it’s safe. No, we can’t let people own handguns, because I don’t trust them to use them responsibly. And so on.

  • Badger3k

    I lived in a fraternity, and with the women who stayed in our all-male dorm, it practically was co-ed. It wasn’t rare to go to the bathroom, or shower, and have women there. No big deal. Does this maroon actually think that there is no sex (or rape and assault) in non-co-ed dorms? Maybe where there are guards to ensure that nobody of the “wrong” sex goes there, but where does that happen (other than some religious schools)?

  • Are we talking about co-ed dorms or about co-ed dorm rooms? There’s a difference. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to live in co-ed dorm rooms, or why a college would choose to disallow them. To start, not everyone is comfortable undressing in front of the opposite sex. And though you might room with girls with whom your relationship is strictly platonic, there may (or may not) be plenty of stupid college students who choose to room with their boyfriend or girlfriend. The risk here is not that they’ll have sex (they’d probably do that even if they had single-sex rooms), but that they might break up in the middle of the year. No college wants to have an environment which statistically promotes roommate troubles. It gives RAs more work, and hurts the students academically.

    However, I think Fischer’s criticism is off-target. He seems to think co-ed dorm rooms would promote pregnancy, STDs and other Bad Stuff. Perhaps I am too naive, but what kind of person would have a one-night stand with their roommate?

  • Zar

    My college had an option to live in co-ed rooms. They wouldn’t just assign men and women to live together; you had to choose your roommate. A lot of people did, and many loved it. My friend wasn’t very scared of being raped by her flamingly gay roommie.

    Unfortunately, a lot of couples opted to room together and many of them just weren’t ready for it. It got ugly.

  • Miko:

    No, you can’t privatize social security because the people you invest it into will add that $8t to their existing $5t exposure to completely unregulated OTC markets, eventually bringing the credit system, and thus the entire modern capitalist system of economics, to the brink of destruction. At which point, the only thing preventing a road-warrior descent will be massive government intervention into the banking system culminating in the nationalization of the banks.

    Or have you not been paying attention at all for the last 4 months?

    But, of course, that has nothing at all to do with college students who choose to room with people of the different sex.

  • Jodie

    Wait — are you saying that you don’t want to do me?

  • The problem isn’t coed it’s what happens when you allow women to receive an education. They go and have ideas, want independence and start enjoying sex. Where will it end? They’ll be wanting the vote next. Tsk!

  • I am also a college student who lives in co-ed dorms, in a similar arrangement to Eric.

    I see no problem with this?

  • Emily

    I wish we had dorms that were coed by room or suite (two rooms connected by a bathroom in our definition). I’d much rather live with guys than girls and I know it’s be a lot easier to fill a 10-person flat if I could live with my male friends as well as my female friends. We can, however, choose to live the coed life in campus-affiliated apartments, but not in the dorms.

    I feel bad for all conservative Xtians that miss out on all that intersex bonding that can occur when guys and girls live together… are conservative Xtians also not allowed to let friends of the opposite sex sleep on their couches or floors? I could never survive that? Where would I go when I got sexiled if I couldn’t crash at Dan’s place?!


  • Indigo

    This guy seems to have missed the point that 21-year-old women are just that – women. As in, adults. As in, responsible for making their own choices without the interference of their school, let alone some random columnist raging against the horrors of promiscuity. If a woman wants to be sexually adventurous, she doesn’t need to live with a male roommate to do so. And if she doesn’t, the presence of the male roommate isn’t going to send her into a frenzy of lust.

  • i am a dodt

    I think it’s also a totally heteronormative/heterosexist/genderist viewpoint. My first roommate in college was a lesbian. We never got it on.

    I think it’s also a generational thing. 20-somethings today I think have a mindset with less gender distinction in general, but more specifically, less separating platonic vs. romantic interest by gender.

  • laterose

    Why is it so hard for Fischer and others like him to understand that it’s possible for guys and girls to have a close relationship without wanting to jump each other at all times?

    I think it’s in part because they’ve internalized misogyny so much that they simply cannot fathom why a self-respecting man would have anything to do with women if it wasn’t to get sex from them.

    It’s incredibly sad really.

  • Emily

    At my college at the University of Toronto, ALL of the dorms are co-ed, including the bathrooms… The only single-sex dorm that i know of on campus is an all-female one in the Cathlolic college, and those girls have a certain *cough* reputation *coughcough*.

  • I live in a co-ed apartment complex (right off campus so it is 95% college students). Let me tell ya, I have trouble controlling myself sometimes!

    (yes, that was sarcasm.)

  • I have to say I wish @ungullible had left a real name so I could thank them. That made the most sense out of anything, especially since my parents are the same way.

  • I lived in a co-ed dorm too, but you seem to be asking about co-ed dorm rooms (i.e., man and woman living in the same room together and not just mixed-gender dorms). Frankly, I’m not sure I was mature enough for such an arrangement in college. I likely would have ended up sleeping with a female roommate.

  • These people are clearly nuts. The way I see it is it’s like alcohol – if you bring a kid up to see alcohol consumed responsibly and perhaps allow them a glass of wine with dinner from a reasonable age (as my parents did and as is the norm particularly in Mediterranean Europe) then the child will be unlikely to abuse alcohol on reaching the legal age for purchasing it. If you get wrecked every night and tell your kid booze is utterly off-limits on pain of death then it becomes forbidden fruit, all the more tempting.

    Similarly if you keep males and females segregated from a young age then they will lack the social skills to interact properly and miss out on essential experimentation. Once they finally get together, who knows what will happen? Obviously that’s just speculation so don’t maul me if there’s a flaw in my reasoning, just seems that way to me.

  • naath

    I lived in an all women ‘dorm’ (but then, I’m bisexual; I didn’t jump my neighbours though) at university, but even there there were men in an out at all hours and the bathrooms etc. were definately “co-ed”; and most people I know lived in “co-ed” ‘dorm’s (I’m in the UK, we don’t actually us “co-ed” or “dorm”, I translate). No-one ever seemed to have a problem with it.

    I think I would have a problem with sharing *a room* with a male friend. But then I would have a problem sharing a room with a female friend too. The American habit of putting all students into shared rooms is something up with which I would not put. (I don’t know of anyone who had to share a room with anyone, or for whom sharing a room was such an overwhelming financial advantage that avoiding it was not possible for them).

  • Steven

    I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of co-ed rooms at any of the universities or colleges here in Ontario, but co-ed dorms have been around for a long time. I lived in one as a grad student and our floor was about 50/50 men and women – with separate bathrooms, of course. I’m sure that there was some “sinning” going on, but sadly enough it never involved me.
    My roommate, a guy who told me how much he looked forward to “playing the field” met a girl down the hall the first week and stayed with her all year. So much for “experimentation”. In fact, there was a lot more friendship than anything else in that co-ed dorm and I think that the presence of the opposite sex made both genders behave a bit better then they might have otherwise.

  • The arrangement we’re talking about here at the University of Idaho is a coed apartment. Boys on one side, girls on the other, common area and bathroom shared.

    The people involved would have to ALL AGREE to share this arrangement. I have no idea why OneNewsNow thinks this would make it any easier to have sex with a member of the opposite sex than any other arrangement, considering that your sex partner would STILL have to deal with her roommate being there, just like in most public universities’ double arrangements (all rooms single sex, but not all the same sex per floor). This really wouldn’t be much different.

    Why he thinks unsafe sex would suddenly become more prevalent, well, that I have no idea about at all.

  • SiliconDoc

    For the feller who said conservative Christians have the highest rate of teen pregnancy, he might add that since they don’t murder the baby, that would be why.
    For all the others all for it, as that seems to be the vast majority of commentary, the only problem I have with it is the billions of taxpayer dollars going to the Universities, then the comments about privatizing social security or making gender or sex rules.
    First of all, if the government has dollars in everything, everything becomes a public policy choice. The people here are having snit fits over private religious universities, spewing their snotty remarks, but then they aren’t paying for them, so religious freedom should reign there, right mr constituional rights ?
    Secondly, for the vast larger majority of tax payer assisted colleges and STUDENTS indeed – riding on government freebies or taxes for loans or grants, now you’ve made University policy, a public politcal policy problem. Screaming about private religious universities makes you a vile rube, they have a right, unless they are ganking tax dollars like other Universities do.
    So, when tax dollars flow, there HAS TO BE a public policy, one that comports to the general ideas of the public – that’s how it works.
    So, persons who wind up using public money or a public subsidized University have the inherent RIGHT to privacy, and that currently includes besides abortion, sexual privacy, nakedness privacy, “pooing” privacy, etc.
    You can certainly argue an anything goes coed shower and bathroom, and why not open sex room for experimentation is your right in college, but that should NOT BE USED to disrespect or take away other students right to same sex bathrooms, same sex showers, or private bathrooms and showers.
    Yes, if we can make private bathrooms and showers in all our apartment buildings we can certainly use some of the billions in college subsidy to make those as well – this isn’t the 7th century – oh brilliant sex slaves.
    Man, so many people here just gave their personal favoritism opinion. Hey, do whatever the heck you want, but when you’re using up our taxes, make sure OTHERS CAN TOO !
    In other words, it should be simple enough to make a sluts central, a gender central, and a privacy central dorm or area.
    How PATHETIC is our stupid society getting to be – one or the other extreme arguments – just SHOVE IT !!!!
    Step up to the plate real Americans, who realize no matter what a prude or a slob YOU want to be, others DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE DIFFERENT AND YOU NEED TO SUPPORT THAT AS WELL – INSTEAD OF CRITICIZING IT AS IF ONLY YOUR CHOICE IS OK !
    My golly, people are really, really ignorant nowadays.
    Start growing up and supporting DIVERSITY you unamerican fools !
    Thank you.

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