More than half of Middlebury respondents — 54% — said the pandemic has negatively impacted their love lives, while just 15% said it had a positive effect. Although each student evaluates the quality of their romantic and sex lives differently, the ways people meet partners, the types of relationships they have, and the number of sexual partners they reported having has shifted since last year’s Zeitgeist survey.
Students were nearly three times as likely this year to report meeting a partner through a dating app — 21% of respondents said they had done so, compared to just under 8% in 2020.
About 44% of students reported meeting partners through mutual friends and at parties or gatherings. Those two scenarios also topped last year’s survey, which asked the same question with slightly different options for answers.
Residence halls and extracurriculars — despite restrictions on gathering sizes and capacity limits — were also a common means of meeting a partner, consistent with last year’s numbers. A lack of a notable dip may be because respondents could answer this question in terms of their full Middlebury experience, not just the last year.
Eighteen people said they had met a romantic or sexual partner through the Middlebury Marriage Pact, which had over 1,500 participants.
There was a drop in the average number of sexual partners, according to the survey data. More than a third — 38% — of students said they had only one sexual partner in the last 12 months, up 10 percentage points from last year. Respondents who indicated that they had five or more partners were down more than 50% from last year — 7% compared to 16%.
Emmanuel Tamrat '22 is Digital Director.
He began working for The Campus as a photographer and online editor in the fall of 2018, and previously served as senior online editor.
An Environmental Policy major, Tamrat hails from London, GB but calls Alexandria, VA home. At Middlebury, he is involved in Rethinking Economics and works as a Democracy Intiatives Intern with the CCE.