Saturday, March 20, 2010

English 1B Class Survey: Attitudes Toward Love, Sex, and Marriage

After a quarter spent reading literature about erotic love, I surveyed my English 1B class at Foothill College regarding their attitudes toward love, sex, and marriage. Twenty-six students took survey. The majority of the students were born in the US. About a third of them are from Hong Kong. None of the students are married. The survey was filled out and submitted anonymously.

I've given their answers, where applicable, as a class average. In some cases, despite the fact that 26 students took the survey, the total number of responses is lower, usually because a student failed to answer the question in a manner that permitted me to include the response in the total.

What is the ideal age at which to marry?

27.7 years old. (high: 33, low: 22)

What is the ideal age at which to begin having sex?

17.5 years old. (high: 25, low: 14. Five students said "after marriage"—that answer could not be included in the average.) 

How many times have you fallen in love?

1.6 times. (high: 4. Six students said they have not fallen in love. One person wrote "< 10")

In marriage, rank these in order of importance in your spouse: 
A) Similar cultural background
B) Physically attractive
C) Economically Stable
D) Well traveled, well read 

To score their rankings, I awarded 1 point for 1st, 2 for 2nd, etc. Consequently, the lowest point total = the highest ranking. Their ranking ended up as follows:

D) Well traveled, well read: 60 points. (Ranked 1st by ten students, 4th by six.)
A) Similar cultural background: 61 points. (Ranked 1st by twelve students, 4th by ten.)
B) Physically attractive: 63 points. (Rank 1st by two students, 4th by three.)
C) Economically stable: 76 points. (Ranked 1st by two students, 4th by seven.)

Are your parents still married?

Yes: 20
No: 5

What is the ideal number of lovers to have over the course of one’s life?

One student answered 200. Disregarding that answer, the class average was 3.7 lovers. (Two students: 1 lover.)

Do you believe the government should recognize the right of gay men and women to marry?

Yes: 22
No: 4

What should be the “age of consent” (the age at which one should have the legal right to decide when and with whom one has sex)?

17.4 years old. (high: 23, low: 14. One student wrote "In 20s”. The student who said "23" had earlier said that the ideal age to begin having sex is 18, suggesting that he or she didn't understand this question.)

What is more important to you in a boyfriend/girlfriend, an attractive face or an attractive body?

Face: 20
Body: 1
Various answers, including "equal": 5

What is the ideal number of lovers for a future spouse to have had prior to meeting you?

Again, one student answered 200. Disregarding that answer, the class average was 2.7, exactly one less than the average answer to the question I asked them about themselves. (Six students said they want their future spouse to have had 0 lovers.)

Ranking from 1-10, how important it is to you to have/raise a child? (10 = essential)

8.2. (Ten students: 10, one student: 1)

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes: 9
No: 17

Do you believe that the decisions you make in your sexual life affect your standing with God/ in the Afterlife?

Yes: 7
No: 19

Generally speaking, are men or are women more "romantic"?

Men: 5
Women: 15
Equal: 3

If you had to choose, would you prefer the experience of being loved or being in love? 

Being in love: 13
Being loved: 12

Is the United States too sexual, not sexual enough, or about right?

Too sexual: 16
Not sexual enough: 2
About right: 5

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