It’s one of 116 things every Columbia student is told they must do before they graduate, but few have actually sealed the deal.
Derek, SEAS ’12, who declined to give his last name due to privacy concerns, has had sex in four different Columbia libraries, including Butler, Avery, the East Asian library in Kent, and the spot he said was the best, the Lehman Library in the International Affairs Building.
Though he’s never been caught, Derek said that the risk is a turn-on.
“Everyone likes to push the limits and see what they can get away with,” he said. “The thrill factor makes up for it maybe being uncomfortable.”
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Although Derek said he tends to hurry and keep his sessions in libraries shorter, he’s still had “time for multiple positions.”
“You have to use less traditional positions so it’s not uncomfortable,” he added.
Despite the impressive track record, Derek said each experience has been spontaneous.
“I currently have no plans to go back to these libraries or try any others,” he said. “It’s not something you should plan, because planning it is the weird part.”
While he said he’s not filling out a scorecard of libraries, Derek said “it could happen again.”
The map room behind the filing cabinets in Lehman Library is one of his favorite haunts. The stacks in Kent, he advised, are also usually deserted.
In the lower level of Avery, three desks hidden behind electronic movable book cases may look well-hidden, but Derek said that shortly after finishing one encounter, a library-dweller came across him.
“Not a place I would recommend,” he cautioned.
If you choose to hit a bathroom stall, Derek suggested bringing a backpack. During his freshman year—when roommates were still a problem—he and his then-girlfriend brought their bags to the sixth floor women’s bathroom in Butler so that if anyone walked in, they wouldn’t suspect the occupants would be there long. Afterwards, they did their homework.
Only a few of Derek’s close male friends know of his exploits.
“Most people think it’s funny, I think. Some people probably think it’s weird,” he said. “It is a little weird.”
And even though the sex he’s had in the libraries has been “better than most,” Derek said that at the end of the day “the girl matters more than the location.”