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April 03, 2008

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Anjuan

I attended the University of Texas at Austin which had co-ed dorms (meaning men and women on the same floor but never in the same room or sharing the same shower). There were also all men dorms and all women dorms. So, I could choose an all male dorm or a coed dorm based on availability.

I don't agree with the idea of students of th opposite sex sharing a room. While not all male-female roommate pairings will result in mutual attraction, I imagine that a fair amount of them will. And when this attraction is consummated, then this greatly complicates the joint living environment. Also, what happens if the relationship ends and one or both of the roommates dates someone else? You're right, such an arrangement goes against biology, psychology, and just plain common sense.

dangermom

My experience was in the early 90's, at a very liberal college, but a while ago. I chose to live in a co-ed dorm because it was cheapest and I was poor! The same-sex dorms were pricier. There were single-sex floors in the building--one of each--but I was entering mid-year so I didn't get that choice and I lived on a floor that was mostly guys. One shared bathroom per floor (it was formerly a men's dorm).

Actually, I didn't find it to be bad at all. It may have been partly that I lived on a floor that had a lot of sophomores looking for a quiet life, but privacy was mostly pretty respected. The showers had good privacy, and people were usually very nice about leaving anyone in the bathroom alone if possible.

Problems included people from other floors using our showers for, ahem, other purposes--it was common for people to use other floors for that for anonymity. A good slam of a door was often helpful there.

My roommate sexiled me the very first night, and then never again (since she was in an LDR).

As for "gender-neutral" dorm rooms, that's just plain insane. If I was 18 and going to college for the first time, would I want to share my bedroom with some randomly-assigned GUY? No freaking way. My female dorm-mates were difficult enough, and I remember quite well what most of the guys were like. The ones that weren't jerks often had terrible hygiene.

If you want to live together in some other arrangement, there are lots of apartments. Or single rooms. Or all sorts of available places to live. But dorms owned by colleges, where people live because they have to and roommates are often random, should stay single-sex as far as rooms go.

Noah

When I was in college (graduated in 2002) the dorms were almost all co-ed. In dorms with hall bathrooms, the genders were segregated by either wings or floors. In dorms where there were private bathrooms shared between two rooms (more like suites) then the genders were segregated by suites only.

Personally, I would have preferred a single-sex environment, for privacy issues. But, in modern times, there are no restrictions on visitors and such, so boys would wander around an all-girls dorm visiting friends as much as they would in a co-ed. Personally, I hope my boys live at home when they go to college. ;)

As for two genders sharing a suite or room, I do think it's a bad idea. I personally don't feel it's appropriate for one to dress and such in front of one of the other gender regardless. But, I'm just conservative like that - why else would I love this blog? :)

Mx. Weigel

I don't see anything wrong with making genderblind housing an option. The goal of The National Student Genderblind Campaign isn't to eliminate single sex housing on campuses, but to give access to those who want it. I think it would be especially good for homosexual students who would be more comfortable living with the other sex, and for transgender students who either don't fall into the gender binary or are not yet legally recognized as the gender with which they identify. The likeliness of a couple choosing to live together of roommates of different sexes hooking up is very small. http://www.genderblind.org/?page_id=2

I thought it was very clear from the article that none of the colleges are mandating genderblind housing for all students living on their campuses; single sex housing is still an option so I don't get what the problem is. You must have attended Smith before it began accommodating transgender students.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/magazine/16students-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&sq=post%20feminism&st=nyt&scp=2

I wanted to live on coed floor my freshman year due to camaraderie that seemed to develop on them. All bathrooms were single sex. You were actually more likely to run into someone of the other sex on a single sex floor due to friends visiting but that never bothered me. I wound up on a single sex floor but it worked out pretty well; I had awesome roommates and was still able to meet interesting people.

Caroline

Well, I'm still experiencing the joys of college housing. : ) I'm at Davidson College, where the vast majority of housing is co-ed by floor, so the floors are single-sex but alternate between floors. Exceptions include the building I currently live in, which is co-ed by wing -- so there are men in the other section of this floor. All bathrooms here are single-sex.

The college just added mixed-gender housing, but that has not yet been implemented so I have not observed how well that works out.

Personally, I see no problem with men and women sharing a suite, but that's in a living situation where everyone has a separate bedroom and each side has a bathroom -- so the only "shared space" would be the living room and the kitchen. I do not think that mixed genders in the same room is a good idea; I feel that students in relationships would take advantage of that kind of housing, and then what would happen if they broke up? That would be terribly difficult and awkward.


It's interesting to talk to students on other campuses with "visiting hours" or restrictions in single-sex dorms and permitting men to visit. Sometimes it seems like that sort of boundary provides some healthy distance, but then it also appears inconvenient if (like the vast majority of college students) you have friends of the opposite sex that you may want to visit at "unreasonable" hours.

Kristen

As I narrow down the final college search, I'm choosing to attend colleges that are private and Christian. As such, they all only have single-sex dorms, let alone rooms. Furthermore, on these campuses it does matter, for they all implement a visiting policy and a doors-open rule. With this arrangement, these dorms are obviously not pricier, there are visiting restrictions unlike many secular colleges, and the camaraderie is incredible and never awkward. This eliminates the awkwardness of being 'exiled' from one's room, of not wanting to change in front of someone of the opposite sex (rightfully so), of being caught in the hall with a towel on, etc. Co-ed dorm rooms, and even co-ed dorms eliminate modesty, provide no protection against the sexual aggression colleges complain about, and also will cause numerous relationship difficulties, as others have mentioned.

Caroline

I'd like to respectfully disagree that co-ed dorms "eliminate modesty."

Though there are men on my floor (of course, in the other wing, as I have mentioned), no one HAS to wear a towel in the hallway to or from the showers. In addition to having men on this floor, this floor is also part of the campus tour! So the obvious solution is to wear clothes to the shower and then change into clothes in the bathroom post-shower, OR wear a bathrobe with adequate coverage to and from the bathroom.

Also, co-ed dorms do not have higher incidents of sexual aggression, nor do they cause "relationship difficulties." Now, I do agree that co-ed rooms WOULD cause problems, but co-ed dorms are not hotbeds of struggle and immorality.

Adina

I am currently at Northeastern University. I was lucky enough to get assigned apartment-style housing. The only weird thing is if my room mates have male friends over, I have to make sure I'm wearing enough clothing.

Marauder

Mary - I go to Smith right now. I'm graduating in a couple of months, thank God.

Steph

I completely understand this option for homosexual and transgendered students, especially in situations where living in campus housing is mandatory as it is for underclassmen at some schools.
I lived in a co-ed dorm by floor in college and later lived in a house with a gay male friend (but we had our own separate rooms) and neither bothered me. However, I would not feel comfortable sharing a room with a male student, nor do I think that many students would feel comfortable sharing rooms with members of the opposite sex, even if they were gay or transgendered. I think that setup is best suited for suites or campus apartments.
I think it should definitely be an option for special circumstances, but not a common pairing. There are already enough roomate disputes between same sex roomies stuck in those tiny dorm rooms together, this is just asking for more trouble.

Laura

I am at a Mormon school, and it goes without mentioning that the living situations are single sex. We do not receive any funding from the government, so we don't have a co-ed option, unless you are married.

In on-campus housing, members of the opposite sex cannot be in your room unless it is during visiting hours, and even then, you have to leave the door open.

In off-campus housing, members of the opposite sex can visit anytime from 9 a.m. to midnight (or 1:30 on Fridays). They can be in the kitchen and living room area, but they cannot go into the bathroom/bedroom area. We have affectionately called this line that divides the bathroom/bedroom area from the kitchen/living room area the "chastity line".

I like having these rules because I don't have to constantly worried about being "sexiled". And if the rules are violated, you can tell the university and they can take care of it. It mostly works out very well, with a few notable exceptions.

Caroline

Wow! Laura, I am amazed that your university can control visiting hours for off-campus housing. How does that work? Do people sign agreements or something? I'm just not sure how they'd have jurisdiction if it's not on college property.

mary o'hayes

Marauder, you're graduating this year? Congratulations! Why do you say, "thank God"? As in- I can't wait to get out of here? Or just - I'm so glad to be done with college? I did not have great experiences there, although academically it was excellent.

Mx. Weigel, you are correct, I was at Smith before transsexuals became a force to be reckoned with. I recall the controversy when some small number of trangendered students successfully petitioned the college to take the feminine pronouns out of the mission statement for a WOMEN'S COLLEGE. What a bizarre move, going gender-neutral with the pronouns for a college that's been for women for well over 100 years. Smith loves to say how wonderful and advantageous it is to attend a women's college, but they're afraid to use feminine pronouns? Sorry, that's nutty.

I checked out the transgender article you mentioned. While I don't know pretend to know much about transgenders, I'm struck with how strange and sad transgendered people often look. I wish that our society could find a better way to deal with people who are so unhappy with their given biological nature. But shooting up children with hormone treatments that they must take for the rest of their lives, enduring major surgeries to become something that you are not - this can't be the best way for them to live.

It's a sad situation. I've read that 1/3 of all trannies who've surgically changed their sex regret doing so. How do other cultures deal with people who feel they are actually of the opposite sex?

spudmom

Caroline,

I'm probably answering for Laura, but my daughter probably attends the same school, so I can tell you that the school only allows students to live in 'approved' housing off campus. To be approved, the apartments must follow certain requirements, which include details like square footage and bathroom space, as well as living rules. An apartment that does not police the honor code loses its ability to rent to students. Since the school is the primary reason for the existence of the town, there is a strong incentive to make sure honor code violations are reported. Students who violate the code are not refunded their rent for that semester, per contract, so that helps, as well. Finally, most of the owners and managers want to encourage the same standards, as they share the faith of the students. Having an envrironment where students feel safe and confortable at their temporary homes is conducive to lifelong friendships with members of both sexes, instead of a string of failed hook-ups, STDs and depression. Having lived in the same situation before marriage (ahem) 30 years ago, it was a great way to socialize and enjoy privacy at the same time.

M.

At my school (large public school in CA), students live in either single sex suites or single sex apartments. All buildings are co- ed.

I am utterly against having co- ed rooms as a rule for all of the reasons mentioned by previous posters. I do see how that might happen by default with the alternative lifestyle students, but it ought to be an exception rather than the rule.

For me, the most difficult part of living on campus (luckily I now live off campus!) was dealing with the visiting boyfriends. People look at you as if you have three heads when you object to their visits! So, although the rooms were officially single sex, practically they may as well have been mixed. I also found the university to be a little too accommodating for these visitors...

Alice

I live in a co-ed dorm. At my school, most of the dorms are co-ed, but there are single-sex floors available. I originally wanted to live on a single-sex floor but because I turned in my housing info late I did not get it. I am so happy that they did put me in a co-ed dorm though. Because I live in a co-ed dorm I have more male friends. I didn't really have any in high school and guys were kind of scary for me. Now they're not largely because of having lived in a co-ed dorm and made so many male friends. I can deal with guys now, which hey, let's face it, important life skill as they're half the population. Also, it is my belief that having a community of both genders reduces the less than great behaviors of both genders when the community is single-gender. For instance, the boys shower and the girls remain a bit more relaxed (i.e. less catty and dramatic as can sometimes happen with too many women living closely together).

That being said, in my dorm the bathrooms are private. I don't have to deal with boys when brushing my teeth or showering which I'm thankful for. I did however my first-year have to deal with my roommate's boyfriend essentially living in our room which was really awkward. So there are some situations like that, but most people deal with them (i.e. they don't just let their roommate walk all over them like I did).

My school will soon start co-ed neutral rooms. They will not be assigned to people, you have to request them, despite activists asking for them just to be the norm to avoid people having to "come-out" to their parents. I don't think the activists are going to win on this one as the people more uncomfortable with living with the opposite sex outnumber those comfortable with it. In the arguments for gender-neutral housing, they mentioned that less than 10% of the people who opt for it are couples living together. Most of the people who do it are good friends or lgbt. Believe it or not, two gay guys can be put together in a room. It happened on my floor last year. There is a need for those with an alternative lifestyle to have this option. It should remain an option certainly, but it should exist. And you know what? All of these college students are adults. They should be treated as such which means that no one should be acting as if they won't think living with someone of the opposite gender through. We're aware of the complexity of living with boys (and vice versa).

Ten

FOR THE RECORD:

I am female.

While I did not experience co-ed suites as an undergraduate at college, I did live in co-ed dorms with men and women on the same floor, shared bathrooms.

The only problem I ever had was with my roommates' boyfriends staying over, and that was just annoying.

But now that I have graduated, I have been taking temporary reserch positions with firms that provide housing. Sometimes the housing is co-ed. I may be the only female, or one of two females, in a house with several guys, sharing a room with one or more young men.

Once again, I never had a problem. There was no sexual tension. I didn't parade around in a towel but I wouldn't have paraded around in just a towel even if I'd been living with women. In fact, it lent itself to some amazing and wonderful camraderie.

Drea

Caroline said:
"I checked out the transgender article you mentioned. While I don't know pretend to know much about transgenders, I'm struck with how strange and sad transgendered people often look. I wish that our society could find a better way to deal with people who are so unhappy with their given biological nature. But shooting up children with hormone treatments that they must take for the rest of their lives, enduring major surgeries to become something that you are not - this can't be the best way for them to live.

It's a sad situation. I've read that 1/3 of all trannies who've surgically changed their sex regret doing so. How do other cultures deal with people who feel they are actually of the opposite sex?"

I think you should've stopped at "I don't know much about transgenders [sic]."

First of all you need to go ahead and check yourself with your comment about how "strange" we trans people look. That's transphobic as hale. I bet you look pretty funny yourself, bb. And I hope that that's an alright thing to say here--calling Caroline strange looking, given that she's just called me and every single other trans person on the planet funny-looking.

Don't quote stats (or paraphrase them, lol) if you can't cite them. "I read somewhere" is just not good enough. Where did you read it? How long ago? When was it published? What was the study's methodology?
I read somewhere that 1/2 of cisgender people are unhappy living as the gender they were born. Oh that doesn't sound right? But, like, I read it somewhere or something.

I certainly don't think, given my experience as a trans woman within the trans community, that a whole 1/3 of trans people who have genital reconstruction surgery regret doing so. And that says absolutely nothing about the trans people who are perfectly happy living as men with vaginas or women with penises.

I would hope that in future discussion on this thread those of you who know nothing of the trans community would please keep your condescending paternalistic sympathy to yourself thanks.

To be trans is to be part of a group marginalized by privileged cisgender people-- cis meaning non-trans, like yourself. We are not oppressing you with wanting access to housing and to have the genders we identify as respected.

Laura

spudmom got it right on. I am at Brigham Young University.

And for those students who commute to campus from home, they have to go through a procedure to ensure that their house is honor-code approved.

But spudmom forgot to answer your question about "things to sign". When a student applies to BYU, they sign an agreement that no matter where they are, they will uphold the standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, even if they are not members of the Church.

I forgot to mention that the first page of the BYU application is the Honor Code Agreement.

I am grateful for the honor code because it has made my university experience so much better, and it's been hard as it is. Unfortunately, not all BYU students feel this way about the honor code. But they do receive consequences sooner or later.

Annika

I am in undergrad at a religious school, with gender-segregated dorms. Our dorms also have visiting hours (in public spaces only, not rooms) and a midnight curfew for freshman. It's never really been a problem, especially since upperclassmen don't have a curfew and can go elsewhere to visit during non-visiting times.

While I am not thrilled with the idea of co-ed dorms, I think I'd be ok with it, as long as there are not co-ed rooms or bathrooms.

Next year I'm going to grad school at Thomas Jefferson, where there is on-campus housing for students. Even there, to share a room or apartment on campus, opposite sex residents must provide proof of legal relationship (sibling or married). Of course, it's not like they check who's staying overnight, though.


Ken

Something from last Friday's Wall Street Journal Taste Page on the subject:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120728447818789307.html

Leah

I went to Smith as well, and one of the reasons I chose it was that I was uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a dorm with men. I thought I would feel more comfortable in an all-women environment. (And for the record, I loved it.)

Ken

Here's the arrangement during my year in the dorms around at Cal Poly Pomona some 30 years ago:

Four of the six dorms ("The Brick Barracks") were coed, with single-sex floor/wings (each floor/wing had a common bathroom). The two other dorms ("the two by the duck pond") were single-sex, one all-male, the other all-female.

This system seemed to work; though we did have occasional sexiles, the main reason you slept in the study hall was to avoid "poolings" (aka "dorm lynchings", getting thrown into the pool with all the ceremony of a Scientology Overboarding).

One local urban legend had to do with the all-female dorm, aka "Chastity Castle", aka "Virgin's Vault": It was said that when somebody pulled the fire alarm late at night at Chastity Castle, more guys boiled out of there than girls.

amerrychase

My university is all coed housing by floor, except for one dorm, which is all female. I didn't notice any difference between that one, which I lived in my freshman year, and the one I lived in my sophomore year. I've only heard of a couple sexiles the whole time I've been here, and the university was prompt with their response.

I think the real problem lies in the off-campus housing, which has no rules about mixing the sexes. It was awkward to come home to my roommate's fiance, who lived with us for awhile.

/and he didn't clean out the sink...ew...

Sarah

I went to a Big Ten school. Dorms for freshmen there are "coed" but that meant two wings separated by 300 feet of concrete and common area. Dorms for upperclassmen were coed by floor.

Members of the opposite sex living together wasn't really a huge problem there. Nor was the university promoting a hookup culture.

My graduate school was a public school in the midwest, too, and it had dorms that were coed by floor but no coed floors or rooms/suites. I lived off-campus with two guys there.

Katie Gillet

I spent two years at Cottey College, a women's college where you can get in some hot water if guys are in your room and the door's shut (secular school, believe it or not!)
Then I went to the University of Delaware, which has a mixture of set-ups as far as which sexes are where. I lived in the Rodney dorms, which, although each building was single-sex when my folks went there, were co-ed by floor when I was there. That is, if the first floor was guys, the second was girls, the third was guys, and the fourth, girls. There wasn't much of a problem doing things that way. Guys might have been on the floor from time to time, but neither my room mate's boyfriend nor my now-husband stayed in our room or anything.

Liora Sitelman

I am a senior at Bryn Mawr College, a Seven Sisters college near Philadelphia. The dorms are, of course, single sex and I love it! Who needs the pressure of impressing guys on top of academic pressure? I would think it undignified to share a bathroom with men.

Lyanna

At rice university (my school) the last floors of single sex housing were eliminated. Typically those floors were stereotyped as prudish and downright strange.
The Rice policy for housing new students is to have single sex rooms but not single sex floors. I know of one incident of a mixed room. They got parental and administrative permission to do so. It has worked well for them.
My parents were actually happier to know I was living next to a room of men. They percieved it as safer to have that type of rescource.
I love my co-ed living experience. I really think with few execptions that we now live in a co-ed world and that it is appropriate for students to learn the realities of gender interaction in college

Lisbeth

I went to a public university and lived in a coed dorm. Ours were separated by wing. I did live in a substance-free building so my experience my not be typical. I thought that having men and women on the same floor tended to curb the worst behavior of both genders. The guys weren't as sloppy and gross as a group of young men tend to be. The girls weren't as catty and cliquey as groups of young women can be. Overall it was a positive experience. My now husband lived in the same building and we didn't feel any pressure to give up on abstinence. Co-ed rooms, however, are taking things too far, especially if students do not get a choice over the issue.

sylvia

I attended 3 private universities more than 30 years ago. Most of the issues raised by this post and the comments following it were already active then. One university had dorms largely segregated by sex. Another had the sexes on different floors of the same buildings. Yet another mixed the sexes on most floors, because housing consisted of suites, each with its own bath. Any given suite was single sex. It was claimed that having women in a dorm reduced male undergrad boorishness and hijinks. There may have been some truth to that. But women in coed dorms were also more exposed to drugs, raw sexual humor, what have you.

In my day, there was, I think, a lot of sex in bedrooms. But there was very little immodesty (this was before Internet porn and the routine display of pubic hair). The feminism of the day was demur. Women with brains did not wear halter tops or short shorts. We all wore tank suits when using the university pool. If we ventured into a public space in a coed dorm, we always did so wearing a floor length robe.

I have never encountered the term "sexile" before, but I think it describes a common predicament of my day. I lost a roomate after I put my foot down and told her that her sexual activities were none of my business, except if they took place in my bedroom, in which case they were a rude intrusion into my personal space.

When there were coed floors, it was not unheard of to hear of "deals" of the following nature. Two unmarried couples would apply for two rooms, the hes applying for one and the shes for the other. Each room would in fact be occupied by one of the two couples. The only detail that was a continual reminder of the pretense of single sex occupancy was mail call. Every day, there would have to be an exchange of mail. Incidentally, it was quite awkward when roomates who were sexual partners had a falling out during the year. This is why I absolutely ruled out living with a lover. I hasten to add that I was a virgin when I graduated from college.

Lesbians were not a problem, except that they had to keep at a distance from jocks and other macho guys. Gay men fit in best with women. In my day, transexuals never went through the surgery while in high school or college. So the housing office never had to deal with it.

I never attended an all-woman liberal arts college, but admire many of their alumnae. But I recall raunchy gossip that some women in the Seven Sisters made all too free use of four letter words as a form of female macho, as a relatively harmless way of flaunting propriety. I grant that I would much prefer that my daughter use the F word than snort coke or get pregnant.

I can live with a strange man seeing me brush my teeth. But all other aspects of my daily grooming, as well as my deferring to the calls of nature, I very much wish to keep private. It is a woman's emphatic right to reside in an all women dorm, with rules requiring men visitors to leave by 10 or 12 PM. It is also her parents' prerogative to require that she live in such a dorm.

Justin

I live in Germany, and here co-ed dorms are the norm, and not a problem at all. Some have mixed bathrooms, some don't, but always with lockable shower stalls. However gender-neutral rooms are a non-issue, since the almost all dorm rooms are singles. I like my privacy - but if I had to live with another person, I'd prefer them to be female, since I usually get along better with the other sex.

Maya W

I notice that at Pitzer they dont specifically say gender neutral dorms, but when you are filling out the roommate preference form with music tastes, wake up times, personalities, etc., there is the option to choose what you want your roommates sex to be.

now I havent had a technically had a roommate of the opposite sex, but when I went to a summer program at SFAI in San Francisco for 5 weeks, I spent pretty much all of my time at the dorms in my friends John and Anthony's room (they were the only ones with full sized beds, haha). I mean I brushed my teeth there, got dressed there, slept in their beds until they kicked me out at like 1am, and generally lived in their room. there wasnt really much of an issue. I mean, John's gay and Anthony is bi and had a girlfriend back home so maybe that is why there was never any sexual tension or anything, but it seemed pretty normal (normal as far as art school goes, haha)

It really wasn't much different. I just happen to get along with guys much better than with girls and if I'm close friends with them, I dont really see anything wrong with sharing what I would share just the same with a female.

maybe its our generation?
idk I notice this happening a lot in non-dorm situations with friends of the opposite sex sleeping in the same bed when they travel or sleepover or whatever out of convenience, and various parents being appalled.
I feel that if both parties involved are down with it, there shouldnt be a problem.

Headless Unicorn Guy

Maya W:

"Pitzer" as in Claremont? Never went there, but that's where I learned to play D&D with the K-One Corridor Commandos back in 1975.

From what I remember from post-game crashouts, Pitzer's dorms were two-bed, with semi-private bathrooms (toilet & shower shared between two rooms).

P.S. To me, a "tranny" is what fits between the mill and driveshaft of a classic muscle car.

steph

i hate the fact that the college im going to doesn't allow males and females to live together on residence. im going to college with my boyfriend of 4 years and were like best friends as well lol. we really want to live together and i don't want to be stuck with some random person i don't know. sure i want to make new friends and all but i'd much rather live with him. so i'm not going to live on campus anymore, were going to find a place nearby. residence there is way overpriced anyways.

ISU Redbird

Lived in a coed dorm way back in the 1970's. One floor guys, one floor girls, third floor guys/girls seperated by wings. Bathrooms were single sex (most of the time). I felt like I had 125 sisters and 125 brothers. We respected each other's privacy, but some were a little casual about dress while we were "home". Although I thought of most of the women as sisters, I have been married to one of my dorm mates for 39 years. Love happens!

Katie

I lived in a co-ed dorm building, but the rooms were same sex. I think it's nice that they are considering every option, but I personally would never do it. If I were in a room with a guy I would feel self conscious all the time. Your dorm room is supposed to be like your home, and who wants to feel uncomfortable in their living space? Not for me!

Alex

I understand your argument about sexual tension, but the biggest reason for this trend of gender neutral housing is for the benefit of those students who have an unconventional sexual orientation. Whether gay, lesbian, trangendered or questioning, the idea behind gender-neutral housing is that it will afford the greatest amount of comfort to these students, who are often facing painful and difficult formative years. Even if you disagree with the morality or legitimacy of these lifestyles I think that most will agree to the need to give these youth an environment where they feel comfortable and safe. I'm gay, and I share a room with a straight guy, and we get along fine, but I know people who are not comfortable in such an arrangement. I have a former boyfriend who was all but forced to move out his room into a single room room early on in his freshman year. Similarly, I would not want to make my roommate uncomfortable because of my sexuality. Living with one of my female friends would not be uncomfortable in the least, for me or for them, and it can be safely assumed that most students opting into gender neutral housing would be comfortable with such an arrangement. The idea is to avoid situations that are uncomfortable to either party, not to increase these. Allowing the barriers between genders to drop in college housing is merely a reflection of trends in society at large, not a movement in itself.

Alisha

I'm 24 years old and I've experienced all sorts of dorm situations. My experience is unique because I've lived in ROTC (Army) barracks where I was one of the few females. I've also lived all female dorms on campus. Then, after joining the Air Force, I lived in co-ed dorms.

I remember in ROTC, we were warned epidemically about being "Corp whores," is what they were called. One thing that people failed to mention was that alot of these "Corp whores" were usually drunk and coerced into sex, dealing with the social repercussions (gossip, bad reputation, shunning even from other females) after the fact. I definitely exceeded my peers in ROTC, but I got out because I felt so much pressure from the males and society to be more sexy and, lets face it, there's nothing sexy about a muddy female in camo that spend four days in the field without a shower.

I didn't feel much pressure to have sex; in fact most of the males told me to wait, ironically most of them were out having as much sex as they could. I didn't like the fact that I was "one of the guys" while other girls were getting all the attention because they were sleeping around.

So I moved into all female dorms (only females could live on campus and not be ROTC). Visiting hours were between 12-10 on week days and 12-midnight on weekends, with RA's supervising. I was still a virgin at this time, and I remember that I didn't want to give it up, but I did to my boyfriend of 3 months because I thought that I was somehow weird because every other girl was talking about how fun it was and how cool. Afterward though, I knew that I had made a huge mistake. I think that even though the dorms are not co-ed, that sexual pressure came, surprisingly, from the other girls.

I didn't become promiscuous until I joined the Air Force at 21. I guess I just got tired of seeing all the girls that gave it up getting all the attention; I wanted a piece of that pie. Why not have some fun while I was waiting for the boys to grow up? The co-ed dorms in the Air Force made it more than easy to get guys back into my room, or go to their's. We'd "plan to watch a movie" and then one thing led to another. But often, unfortunately, there are dorm parties, accompanied with alcohol, followed by forced sex or pressured sex. I've been raped in the process and seen other girls raped.

Its convenient because your friends are right there, but also its inconvenient because so are the perpetrators. I think that any school that goes to co-ed ROOMS is stupid. Co-ed dorms provide easy access for a guy to come in a girl's room without (as you mentioned in Chapter 3 of your "Modesty" book) providing a legal escape. Who's there to protect her from him barging in or for her to say, "No, Its late, and you're not supposed to be here." Its all on her to protect herself. Maybe the "oppressive laws" segregating the sexes weren't such a horrible thing.

One thing that I did appreciate was when I was deployed to the desert, you could be legally charged with stepping over the threshold of the opposite sex's door (but we were segregated to separate buildings anyway). It was really nice because, after 4 months of no sex, alot of guys become horndogs and will try to pressure you as much as they can... and married ones are the worst!

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