Love Survey: The Results Part 1

Your results have been counted. Find out what Cambridge students really think about sex, love, and marriage.

boyfriend couples girlfriend love love survey marriage one night stand porn pornography relationship Relationships Students the one virginity

Last week, The Tab set out to find out exactly what Cambridge students think about love, sex and marriage.  Not necessarily in that order.

It’s official: Cambridge students are a bunch of softies.

Despite the fact that over half of those surveyed have had a one night stand at some point in their lives, it seems that students do still believe in love.

– 52% believe in THE ONE

64% want to GET MARRIED BEFORE 30

74% would choose LOVE OVER SEX

Almost half of our respondents claim to be in love right now, and three quarters admit to having been in love before.

Romance seems to be in the air here, as most students in relationships are seeing someone else from Cambridge:

– 40% are dating someone from their college.

– 10% are dating someone from their course.

– 10% of are dating someone who lives on their corridor, or in their house.

We sense some awkward breakups.

Two thirds of respondents claim never to have cheated, and in a rare occasion where results varied by gender, of those who have cheated, two thirds are women.

On the other hand, surprisingly, for such romantics, almost three quarters of students would consider dating a friend’s ex. Lucky the good ones are always taken…

“I wonder how many of those 3/4 who claim to be in love right now would say the same (about the same person) at the end of their degree. It seems that everyone in Cambridge feels the need to be in love all of the time.

“And as for the 74% who would chose love over sex, that’s sweet, but I wonder how many of them would actually do it when push (or should that be poke) comes to shove?”

Anonymous, a 2nd year historian from Sidney



Our survey shows that 46% of Cambridge students are in a relationship.

Of those, a third of those people have been so for over 18 months. A further fifth of people have been with their beau for between one and six months, while a lonely 10% have never been in a relationship at all.

And when it comes to important qualities in a partner, Cambridge students value personality over looks. In order of preference, students are looking for:

1. Sense of humour

2. Kindness

3. Intelligence

4. Physical Attractiveness

5. Popularity

The only difference between the genders is that men value popularity over physical attractiveness and vice versa.


Only 1% of Cambridge students are married.  However, Cambridge students are old-fashioned in their views.  An astounding 64% want to tie the knot before the age of 30, and a further 21% are expecting to get hitched before they hit 35.

This flies in the face of figures from the Office of National Statistics, which showed that in 2010, women were three times less likely to get married than women in their mothers’ generation.

Of the 9% of people who say they don’t want to get married at all, two thirds claim that marriage involves too much commitment. Over half claim that it is too old-fashioned, while just over a quarter think it is too expensive.


There are almost 12 times as many openly gay men as women in Cambridge. This statistic coheres with the results of The Tab‘s Freshers’ Survey last October, which revealed that there are 10 times as many gay men as women amongst this year’s freshers.

The national average of gay men in Britain is 6%, whereas 9% of Cambridge’s men are gay. The contrasts the womens’ results dramatically: less than 1% of women in Cambridge are gay, whereas the national average is also 6%.

“As a bisexual I found it very intimidating to ‘come out’ in an environment like Cambridge. It also took me a while to feel comfortable associating myself with the word ‘gay’. I ran for LGBT rep last year because it went underrepresented and it upset me. However, I was deemed ‘not gay enough’ and I think it was probably because of my fear to admit to people in college that I was bi.

“The social pressures in Cambridge and particularly in a small college like Girton make it very difficult to be open about something as intimate as your sexuality, as I was really worried that I would be judged for it.”

Anonymous, a 2nd year English student at Girton


When it comes to sex, Cambridge’s girls are getting way more action than the boys. 32% of women claim to be having sex more than once a week, whereas 36% of men are having sex less than monthly.

Overall, just 8% of students are having sex daily.

A staggeringly high 14% of Cambridge students are virgins.

86% of Cambridge’s students have had at least one sexual partner, with 4% claiming to have had more than 15 and a further 4% claiming to have had more than 20 sexual partners.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised that Cambridge has an above average rate of virgins.”

Conor Clarke, a 2nd year philosophy student from Tit Hall

Roughly equal numbers of men and women took our survey, and their results didn’t differ dramatically. 85% of respondents identified themselves as straight, 8% bisexual and just over 5% as gay or lesbian.


A special mention goes to the helpful student who filled in all 4,000 characters allowed for the ‘College’ and ‘Subject’ fields – we’ve learnt a lot about the history of Christ’s and the NatSci Tripos. Another shout out to the Sidney student who wrote: “I know you are reading this, Tabatha Leggett…” You creep.

Come back soon to find out how much porn Cambridge students watch, and whether it’s true that porn really can help your love life.