Duke It Out: Coed Roommates

coed roommates

[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. We love a strong woman, so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like a textbook throwdown!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]

Two weeks into the semester and most of my friends are already sick enough of their new roommates to have practically moved in with their boyfriends. All this shuffle got me to wondering – wouldn’t it be easier if they could all just live with the boys the way they almost are now?

Turns out that I’m not the only one thinking along these lines. In fact, murmurs have been floating around for the last couple of years about some schools that are not only making their dorms coed, but their dorm rooms.

That’s right, mixed gender roomies.

On the one hand, it sounds like a great idea. As much as I love my lady friends, there can be a lot of drama with two girls sharing one little space (I know friendships that have ended over clothes-borrowing debacles) and guys – in general – tend to be a bit mellower, which could be a bonus. Also, most couples I know spend most of their time at one person’s room as it is, so it just makes more sense to let them officially keep their stuff in the same place. Aside from that, most schools have already integrated to coed dorms and many even have unisex bathrooms and showers, so it seems pretty ridiculous to keep up the whole single-gender roommates idea in the face of all the rest. It’s kind of an antiquated notion, really, and some might argue gender discrimination.

In fact, at that point we reach one of the most pivotal upsides to the mixed gender roommate situation, which is that it finally addresses the LGBT issue. Traditional single-gender room assignments presuppose straightness, which just isn’t always the case. If the argument is that guys and girls shouldn’t room together because they might end up having sex, doesn’t that mean that gay guys and girls shouldn’t room with people of their own gender by the same virtue? It’s gone un-discussed in the classic college dorm model, but the truth is that there needs to be options out there for everyone and the best way to do that is to open up the field.

However, there could definitely be some problems with having mixed-gender roommates, the first and most obvious of which is that it’s a hassle. Even disregarding the inevitably huge public backlash, rooming with someone of the opposite gender opens up some problems that could end up in a lot of sudden, desperate requests for room changes. Not the least of these is the fact that living with someone is kind of a make it or break it scenario for couples – either you love it or they make you nuts and you end up breaking up. And breakups mean that someone is going to have to move, or you will have to live through each others’ attempts to move on and date other people. Oy.

Even if you aren’t dating the guy you live with, sharing all that time and space (not to mention the need to change clothes) really ups the chances of some chemistry igniting – and maybe fizzling. And if you don’t end up attracted to the guy, or vice versa, there is always the fact that some guys are messier/have different living habits and I have enough of my own shiz to clean, thankyouverymuch. Finally, though you love your guy pals, sometimes you just need a night with the girls, and girl time just doesn’t happen as easy with a guy around – straight or not.

So, am I giving everybody a fair shake here? Do you wish your school would let you do the coed roommate thing? Will they? Or do you prefer having a little girls only space? Let us know in the comments!



  1. Conyee West says:

    More than just murmurs – my school (University of Chicago) has implemented the coed option. See :

    Of course, it's new for this year and thus I haven't seen the results of it yet, but the notice we received did stress that this situation is not for romantic couples. Which makes sense since transferring dorms is a lot of hassle. If couples choose to take advantage of this new option I think there will be an upswing of room transfers. It's one thing to have a roommate you dislike, a lot of the time you just put up with it, but if you've broken up with your boyfriend? There's no way you're going to want to stay in that room. A risky choice, especially at my school where couples don't exactly have lasting power.

  2. Engineer says:

    Shouldnt they just give up this roommate-system and just offer normal apartments with a montly rent like you would in the real world? Treat students as adults

  3. Meg says:

    I grew up with no sisters but a few brothers close to my age. Growing up and living with boys was the best ever. The only thing that my brothers would "steal" from me would be halloween candy (unlike sisters "stealing" clothes, and other things that they may want-as i hear from most of my friends). I could write my explination out longer, but if I were to have a roomie, I would love for it to be a male. (For the most part) there isn't any bull sh-t!

  4. shari says:

    i've lived with lots of roomies over te past five years, both guys and girls. and i have to say that i love rooming with guys sooo much more than with girls! ideally, i loved living with one boy and one girl, but if i had to choose one it would be a guy every time.

    my absolute favorite roomies were my two gay best friends and our other girl best friend. my second favorite was a guy from my boyfriend's frat and my boyfriend's exgirlfriend (who both became some of my really close friends!)

    all the guys i've lived with were greek, if that makes a difference in their demeanor to you.

  5. Becca- Clarion Unive says:

    I did dorm life for my first year of school, and then I went to apartments. Last year i lived with two guys, and this year I live with one guy and a M/F couple. It's fabulous. I LOVE living with guys. It's soooo much easier to just chill, and hang out, and issues get resolved without grudges, and you don't always have to be clean it's amazing…

    living coed is awesome, but def. not for everyone.

  6. Grady says:

    My school (Bennington College) has had co-ed rooms for ages. It seems to work well, since most people aren't stupid enough to room with significant others. I don't how well that situation would necessary work with school housing, but as far as strictly roommates go, it's always worked quite well here.

  7. R says:

    I live with a boy in an apartment but we have our own rooms. We share a small bathroom, kitchen and living room but we still have our own private space to change, sleep, dance around in our underwear… hehe – but seriously, I think it is just a very personal situation. Some people would be fine sharing a bedroom and others would not. I can tell you that this idea would NOT fly in the south. All my friends freak out when they find out I live with a boy and we don't even share a room.

  8. S321 says:

    I think its a terrible idea. For girls its great, but for the boys…its dangerous. All it takes is ONE girl who is feeling a bit jealous and voila….the boy is up on rape charges. And unfortunately, girls who make false charges are usually "forgiven" or given many excuses for it..while the boy has to live it down….sometimes NEVER living it down. Colleges are NOT there to help college students live like they want..they are there to teach…supposedly.

  9. heather says:

    personally, i enjoy girl roommates more than guy roommates. girls are just *that* much tidier (trust me, when you have to go around the apartment every evening cleaning up after him it gets really annoying) and they care about the entire dynamic of apartment a little more: they take into account other peoples' schedules, property and emotions. also, it's A LOT easier to have roommate meetings with girls, because even if they don't really care, they try. but that's just from personal experience, and i guess for every person the situation is different.

  10. valkyrie9 says:

    S321, a very small percentage – like less than 5 percent – of rape charges are falsified. But thanks for further perpetuating the stereotype that women are just looking for excuses to get in men trouble. Your attitude has led to a lot of women who were raped not coming forth, because they’re worried that all that will come of it is a bunch of slut-shaming about how they “asked for it” and are “making it up.” The issue of rape in college is a very serious one which shouldn’t be trivialized by “OH NOES TEH POOR MENZ!” apologists like yourself. The people who have the most fear from rape culture are WOMEN, not MEN, and anyone who understands it differently obviously needs to take a few more sexual harassment seminars.

  11. valkyrie9 says:

    *excuses to get men in trouble

    *most TO fear from…

    Damn typos.

  12. […] discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I'll be featuring a hot topic (like coed rommmates!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the […]

  13. lisa says:

    I have yet to live in a dorm but i will be attending my first year of college and living in a dorm this fall (ya-freshie i know) and i totally get along with guys waaaay more then girls, it's a common thing. BUT the idea of living with a guy for the first time ever is kinda intimidating.

    I mean maybe the solution would be to not let it be an option for first year students or something. It sounds lit a much more comfortable idea if your sharing an apartment and you've both gor your own space to retreat to but dorms are so small. I have a hard time seeing a guy and a girl not getting in each others hair at least a little if anything because they don't understand what living with the opposite sex would be like.

    I'm totally cool with the idea for older students but for young-ins like me i think same-sex dorms are still a good idea.

  14. JP says:

    Bad idea for most people. I for one feel much safer rooming with a female stranger than a male one. It's less awkward. There are so many other reasons that I cannot write out in words as how terrible this idea is. Just, guys need their space and girls need theirs.

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