What’s the deal with …Thurston being the second-most sexually active dorm in the country?

Brace yourself – your favorite GW fun fact (or bragging right) is likely no more than a very successful rumor. That’s right: Thurston Hall is not the second-most sexually active dorm in the United States.

Or, at least, there isn’t anything that really proves it.

For years, students have revered the “fact” that Thurston Hall – the 1,000-plus, notoriously promiscuous freshman dorm – was placed No. 2 in a ranking of America’s most sexually active dorms in some sort of legitimate study. Many attribute Cornell University as the source of the report.

Lesley York, research project coordinator at Cornell University’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research, said her office has received several phone calls over the years from people wanting to know if the list is legitimate.

“We have received this request numerous times,” she said. “We are unable to confirm that the study was done at Cornell.”

In a follow-up e-mail, York wrote, “I did one more round of checking to determine if this study was ever done at Cornell. What you’ve got is a great urban legend, but we are unable to confirm that the study was ever done at Cornell.”

So, how did Cornell get mixed up in this? York said the list is on a Web site unaffiliated with the university. That’s right, blame Collegehumor.com.

If you do an Internet search to try to find the list, the only place you are likely to find it is the popular Web site where college students around the country post things they think others will find amusing. The 2003 posting that lists America’s most sexually active dorms said the ranking was compiled from a 20-year Cornell University study. Perhaps the idea that Cornell would devote 20 years to the research of our sex lives should have been our first clue.

Some say the ranking came from Playboy magazine (a fitting source). The claim that Playboy ranked the dorms that host the most sex seems pretty unfounded also.

A call to Playboy’s editorial office in New York resulted in an employee (who didn’t want her name used) saying that she definitely doesn’t recall Playboy writing anything like that.

“A lot of times, these things end up being urban legend,” she said.

Sorry GW – we’ve all been had. Hope it was as good for you as it was for everyone else.

-Caitlin Carroll

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