Apr

24

Oral Sex Or Cheese: The Truth Revealed?

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Points for avoiding the question

Last week, we sent out the call for this year’s Senior Wisdoms, one of Bwog’s most beloved traditions. One of the responses we received was more unusual than usual: a dedicated scientist who only signed off with the codename Fromage ’13 has made a statistical survey centered around our most famous Senior Wisdom question: “Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?”.  The mysterious Fromage sent us the complete project, which we gather was actually submitted somewhere at Columbia for a grade. Read the abridged inquiry to find out, scientifically, once and for all, the truth behind the mystery. Agree with the conclusions? Disagree? Share your thoughts—no charts required.

This statistical survey has been edited for brevity. All bolding is ours.

Columbia Seniors and Bwog’s Oral Sex Vs. Cheese Question: An Inquiry.

One of the questions that is frequently criticized [in the Senior Wisdoms] is “Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?” which has been a staple question since the surveys began. My hypothesis is that Columbia/Barnard senior women are more likely than their male counterparts to say that they’d rather give up oral sex than cheese. Any sexual activity in a heteronormative collegiate (I assert Columbia is heteronormative, though that may be up for debate) environment serves as social capital for men more than women. This is evidenced by various sexual tropes and their accompanying social disparity and moral double-standard: a sex-positive woman is a “slut” or pegged as promiscuous, while a man of the same inclination is thought of as virile or a “stud.” Aside from whatever pleasure might be gained, sex of any kind does not really serve the same purpose of social capital for a woman as it does a man in a heteronormative environment, so it makes sense that oral sex would be something of less importance to her if she were asked to pick between that and, say, a nice brie.

METHOD:

I reviewed 222 Bwog interviews dating from 2006 to 2012 via their website and noted the preference for oral sex or cheese as well as the gender of the person answering. If the answer was unclear or if they refused to answer, I marked that as “no answer/unclear.” 119 men’s answers were recorded along with the answers of 103 women. Men represented 54% of respondents while women represented the remaining 46%. This roughly corresponds to U.S. News and World Report’s demographic of Columbia as being 53% male and 47% female. Each undergraduate class has approximately 1500 students. Despite a relatively large size, I will discuss problems with the sample later. I compiled the results, broke them down into graphical presentations and then determined a confidence interval for a 95% confidence rate: approximately ­± 9%.

Cheese winning??

Cheese winning??

RESULTS:

The results were as I hypothesized, though because little to no information as to why graduating women at Columbia were more likely to state a preference for cheese than oral sex, it cannot be said that the aforementioned “culture of awkwardness” or availability of cheese contributed to the results. 46% of women would rather give up oral sex than cheese, while 36% of men reported the same attitude.

Over all, a fromage-centric attitude prevailed through the sample, with a full 42% of seniors who answered the question reporting that they’d give up oral sex before giving up cheese. For those who said they’d give up cheese, lactose intolerance was commonly cited, as were other dietary restrictions. The percentage differences between the sexes don’t change much if non-respondents and unclear answers are removed. Of those who answered the question directly, 64% of women and 53% of men said they’d prefer to give up oral sex in favor of cheese: 58% of seniors overall, then, would seem to prefer cheese to oral sex.

DISCUSSION

A bar graph for some variety

A bar graph for some variety

The purpose of my conducting this as a formalized version of a survey was to avoid having a small sample size. Unfortunately, I cannot say that even a sample of 222 people is a representative sample, despite numerically representing 15% of an average class size of 1500. There are a few problems with this sampling method. Firstly, although the respondents have to be nominated, they are still a volunteer sample whose names and pictures appear in the interviews. Those who respond are likely to be relatively popular (hence their nomination) and may be playing to an audience or avoiding an honest answer to the question for fear of a loss of what Erving Goffman calls “face” or an upset in social capital. Despite the diversity of this sample, then, it is not truly a random sample. Another problem is that this data was gathered over six years. It is possible that social attitudes regarding not only the subjects of this question, but the questions themselves have changed. 2006-12 covers the end of a Republican presidency and the beginning of a Democratic presidency. It also covers the years that a vegan (vegans don’t eat cheese) book–Skinny Bitch–was on the New York Times bestseller list. Six years is enough to make a difference: these results, because of the methodology cannot be said to represent Columbia seniors as a whole. They might only represent the last six years of Columbia graduating classes. Yet another problem is the GS factor. The School of General Studies is not counted in the “average class size” due to the fact that they often enter as part-time students with transfer credits. They easily account for another 200-300 graduates every May and are interviewed for Senior Wisdom, but their numbers are not included in the average class size. They are often older than traditional students and, therefore, may have different ideas about oral sex and cheese. At least one GS student seems to have been not asked the question at all, presumably out of respect for his age. Finally, there is the question itself. It’s notable that a full 30% of those surveyed either refused to answer or gave resolutely ambiguous answers. It is likely that the question, in contrast with the more serious sounding questions, isn’t given much weight. Answering it is a chance to appear clever or glib, without really considering the social effects created by making such a decision.

In summation, one cannot determine the preference for cheese over oral sex at Columbia via this overview of six years of unscientific research. More formalized study would be needed in order to come to a clear conclusion about the preferences of Columbia’s graduating classes.

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22 Comments

  1. what are these  

    graphs for ants???

  2. the dark llama  

    If anyone wants oral sex or cheese I am currently supplying both in my ec double until 12 pm tomorrow. Neither man nor women should have to chose between the two greatest things on earth. #BlueCheeseBalls

  3. pizanonono

    One word:

    Multitasking.

  4. anonymous  

    "more unusual than usual"

  5. Heisenberg

    From eye balling the men on the bar graph, it seems like it adds up to 110% as all three bars are above 33%. Nice work tho

  6. Fromage '13  

    I have arrived.

  7. winkster

    If this study is ever formalized, strongly suggest breaking it up into two separate questions: (1) would you give up *performing* oral sex vs. cheese and (2) would you give up *receiving* oral sex vs. cheese? I would expect significantly different results for each question, for both sexes. Just asking someone if they'd "give up oral sex" in general is too ambiguous to provide any insight. While it's true that for some people 'tis better to give than to receive, more often the reverse is true. At least that's my hunch based on the, er, years of admittedly unscientific empirical data gathering I did during and after college.

    • Just putting it out there  

      I'm a hetero woman who very much enjoys giving oral sex but, when it comes to my own pleasure, would actually rather a guy use his fingers than his mouth. I guess I'm just abnormal.

      That said, I think the question assumes that you will be giving up both the giving and receiving of oral sex.

      • winkster

        Just to be clear I wasn't implying that one gender or the other necessarily favors giving vs. receiving oral, just that you simply cannot lump the two into the same survey question without seriously compromising the value of the results.

        That said, not everyone gets off on oral sex, which is by no means abnormal since there's no such thing as "normal" anyway. I have found that most men and women I talk to who aren't that into it is because they've never really had anyone do it to them "right". Regardless, for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with skill, some people just prefer manual stimulation over oral (or even insertion).

        Where were we? Oh right, cheese...

        Although I absolutely LOVE cheese and would hate to do without it, given that it's not really necessary for human health (whereas a healthy sex life is), there's no way I could give up the O. Talk to me again when I'm in my 70s, but for the time being I've hopefully got many more years of "data gathering" left in me.

        Signed,
        What Have You Done for Me Fellately?

  8. Ian

    212 people surveyed seems low considering the time given. Also I think the data reveals that oral sex is regarded by a lot of women as to personal, especially younger women who have yet get comfortable sitting on some guys face.

  9. Don Queefote

    Dumb Question, obviously the best is getting a bj from a barnard girl while she makes you a grilled cheese in the kitchen.

  10. Anonymous

    This is so dumb and embarassing.

  11. Anonymous

    Cheese and oral sex... my two favorite things in life. Another factor overlooked is all about quality of each. The "age" of the cheese vs. the "age" of the oral sex performer..... just another thing to focus on in the next round of study.

  12. Phyllis Schlafly  

    Columbia will burn in HELL. :)

  13. Anonymous

    Is the sex consensual? That makes a big difference.

  14. Fromage '13  

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BteHD9ped08

    Hmmmm. Do we need a round-table discussion of this? Perhaps around a cheese wheel?

  15. I would never  

    give up oral sex.


    ever.

    actually though.

    ever.

    amen.

    #wishingiknewwhatoralsexwaslike

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