What beats banging? Students weigh in on what they think is better than sex

A canceled class. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. A high-five from Rally Cat. Small triumphs such as these ignite a lust for life among UVM students. 

It’s assumed that college students have a lot of casual sex. Whether this is true or not, students don’t have to take their clothes off to find similar nuggets of passion in therapeutic, ordinary, funny or delicious experiences. 

Here is a roundup of a few things UVM students consider to be better than sex.

What UVM students told us

“Seeing a really funny Tweet”

First-year Emma Kanjorski said she finds bliss in funny Tweets her friends send to her and screenshots her favorite ones. 

“Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy ice cream and a turkey club”

First-year Katie Stephan said her needs are fulfilled by a turkey club from Fenton’s Landing in Sunapee, N.H., and a pint of chocolate ice cream with chocolate cookies and swirls of chocolate pudding.

Stephan clarified that she eats these foods separately, not together in the same bite.

“I’ll have the sandwich and then the ice cream,” she said.

“Getting to the top of a mountain”

First-year MJ Franz said she finds glory in climbing to the top of the Green Mountain State’s most precious landform.  

“Grundle when it’s good”

First-year Georgia Nourse said she approved of the mac and cheese served at the Grundle’s “Winter Wonderland” dinner Nov. 30.

“When you’re having a really bad day and you see a cute dog and the owner lets you pet it”

First-year Wes Bradeen did not elaborate on this claim.

“A home-cooked meal” 

Among the howling winds, gray skies and biting temperatures of a harsh winter day, first-year Miranda Versweyveld said she prefers to relax with a warm bowl of chicken and dumplings. 

“A scalp massage”

Sophomore Megan Sutor said she is soothed by the scalp massage that is given before a haircut.

“When they’re washing your hair and conditioning and really going into it, I could fall asleep,” Sutor said. 

“Creativity and art”

First-year Hana Behn said she finds empowerment and self-growth in creative expression, whether it’s through sketching, painting or the music she listens to.

“I just couldn’t imagine my life without it,” she said.


Getting experimental with her favorite dessert, first-year Camilla McCartt said she made a pistachio cheesecake for Thanksgiving. 

“Frozen yogurt from my hometown”

Sophomore Emily Murphy said she finds delight in a cup of cake batter-flavored fro-yo from sweetFrog in Marshfield, Mass.

“A really good song”

A fan of his song “Wally Wilder,” sophomore Emma Curry said that electric guitar soloist Delicate Steve was a top artist on her Spotify Wrapped this year. 

Anonymous students submissions 

Judith Christensen, a senior lecturer in psychological science who specializes in cognition and motivation, provided anonymous written submissions from her undergraduate students. 

“Laughing really hard”

Christensen said this was a common submission, including variations such as “a good laugh” and “laughing with family or friends.”

“Playing board games”

As a fan of “Settlers of Catan,” this student wrote that they are overjoyed when competing and gathering resources to build the biggest settlement on the board game’s fictional island of Catan. 

“Knowing your package is being delivered soon”

This student wrote that they find comfort in the fact that somewhere in the U.S. mail delivery system is a box with their name on it.

“The feeling when you have pressure in your ears, and it finally releases and you can hear normally again”

Whether they’re deep-sea diving or in an airplane 36,000 feet above the ground, this student knows how to have a good time.

“The anticipation of getting off the ski lift when it’s a snowy day”

This student wrote that they are elated before sinking their skis into at least 20 inches of fresh powder. 

“Including each other’s personal opinions and growth”

Strong communication that creates understanding and support between partners is just as rewarding as sex, according to one student, which they’ve learned from being in a healthy long-distance relationship for the past four years.

“There needs to be a cohesive interest from both partners and a willingness to do things other than sex,” they wrote. “I’ve heard women with attachment anxiety and insecurity resort to exhibitionistic ideas and actions, but when reinforced with security they may not rely on sex to attain closeness to that partner.”

It’s the little things

Although some sources of pleasure, such as food and sex, are biologically universal based on human survival, others are unique based on personal experience and expectations, according to a May 16, 2016 Atlantic article

Something that seems mundane or silly to one might be another’s source of comfort or ecstasy. 

This diversity of preference ensures everyone—from the virgins to the “sexperts” of UVM—the ability to achieve happiness and intimacy without depending on the temporary physical fulfillment of a meaningless hookup.