Rego: How the discussion of sex at CSU has changed since ’86

Shay Rego

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

Mike Kontrelos wrote an article for the Colorado State University yearbook, the Silver Spruce, back in 1986 titled “Sex On Campus.” It discussed how sexual freedom had changed from the ’60s to the ’80s and the lessening taboo on the subject of sex itself.


I hope that Kontrelos is proud to know that sex is alive and well on CSU’s campus, as well as going so far as The Collegian now having an entire column dedicated to it. However, sexual activity and how people treat and talk about sex have definitely changed since ’86.

In the words of Kontrelos, these Yuppies-in-training of the ’80s wanted to take the new love era from the ’60s to the next level and continue to outgrow the taboo nature of sex. At the time, though, this article was still risqué business for a university to talk about, even in a yearbook. Oh, how the times have changed.

According to Kontrelos’ article, “An informal 1984 Collegian survey of student attitudes toward sex found virginity to be a ‘rare commodity.’ Of 100 students questioned, only eight were virgins, and only one of those virgins was male.” According to the 2018 National College Health Assessment, 40.5% of male and 46.1% of female college students claimed to be sexually active in the past 12 months.

Kontrelos’ article highlights the fact that many students prefer relationships over casual sex. The article starts with a discussion of the casual scene with a playful tone. Then Kontrelos moves to talking about the benefits of having sex while in a relationship, even interviewing couples. 

As Kontrelos said almost 35 years ago, ‘most students think about it. Many do it.’ Sex continues to grow, change and become more socially open than ever before.”

In the same 1984 informal survey conducted by The Collegian, 64 out of 100 CSU students preferred a relationship over casual sex. In a study conducted by the Review of General Psychology, researchers found that 63% of college-aged men and 83% of college-aged women preferred a relationship over casual sex.

So why has the desire for sex gone down but the desire for a relationship has gone up over these past 35 years? Part of the issue is the blurred line of what counts as sex and wasn’t doesn’t in the context of these surveys. Another possible reason for the change is because our generation sees no need to rush sex — or love in general — but has a desire to build companionship.

College Stats has conducted hundreds of sexual surveys on different schools across the United States. If you’re interested in seeing sexual exposure at CSU specifically, check out the website and plug in CSU’s campus to find out more.

As Kontrelos said almost 35 years ago, “Most students think about it. Many do it.” Sex continues to grow, change and become more socially open than ever before. Thank you Kontrelos for the inside look at sex on campus at CSU back in 1986. 

Shay Rego can be reached at or on Twitter @shay_rego.