USC sex culture not what it seems

After the recent release of James Franco’s preview of Undergrads, USC’s reputation as a school full of sex-crazed party animals will surely persist. But when it comes to sex, what is the truth about USC students?

It might appear that casual sexual counters are the norm at USC. However, according to the USC Office of Wellness and Health Promotion’s data from the American College Health Association, 80 percent of students at USC reported having between zero and one sexual partners in the past year.

[Correction: A previous version of this article attributed the above study to the American Health Care Association. The American College Health Association reported the statistic. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.]

In our discussions at USC, it is important to keep an open mind about sex. USC students should feel free to talk about sex, pleasure and health openly — and not only in the context of that crazy party last Friday.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 79.5 percent of college students ages 18 to 24 have had some kind of sexual experience. But more than 20 percent of students have never engaged in sexual behavior.

Navigating the issues of sexuality, romance and intimacy are some of the key challenges of being a college student. But the recent spotlight on USC gives people the idea that the people having sex are heavy partiers and academic underachievers, to name a few stereotypes.

This approach to sex doesn’t address the facts: Many different people have sex for many reasons. Excluding sex as a healthy lifestyle choice from the conversation contributes to misinformation.

According to the ACHA survey, only about half of college students nationwide used a condom the last time they had sex. When we can’t talk about sex constructively, we are left with a lack of initiative and knowledge about how to have sex safely.

Students should feel comfortable with whatever level of sexual experience they have. We should also feel free to discuss safe sex practices or non-mainstream sexual preferences with our partners on a regular basis.


Natalie Chau, Brooke Sanders and Lucas Griffin are peer health educators at USC.