You Won’t Believe How Many People Have Hooked Up With Their Professors

Photographed by Mark Iantosca.
Many of us have, at some point, had crushes on our teachers, but how often do these fantasies come to fruition? More often than you might guess, according to a recent 2,000-person survey. About 14% of the participants (who were either currently in college or had graduated) had hooked up — or, in the survey's words, had "inappropriate sexual relations" — with either a professor or a TA. And more would like to: 53% admitted they'd daydreamed about this scenario, and a quarter would act on that wish if they had the chance. Contrary to the stereotype that these affairs always result from an abuse of power, only around 45% were initiated by the authority figure; 33% were the student's idea, and in 21% of cases, it wasn't clear. About 4% of the respondents said they engaged in the tryst in hopes of grade hikes, but most respondents said they were just exploring mutual attraction (64%) or doing it for the thrill (27%). Only 12% regretted their decision.
Also, debunking the stereotypes you might glean from movies like Never Been Kissed or Irrational Man, most of these relationships — 57% — took place between male students and female teachers. But what played an even bigger role than the professor's gender was what subject they were teaching. People were most likely to hook up with their science and math instructors, but for whatever reason, affairs with foreign language professors and TAs were rare, with only 3% engaging in them. If these statistics surprise you, that's probably because people are keeping their student-teacher relationships a secret. Perhaps in part because 23% of students are embarrassed, only 45.5% have ever told a soul about their professorial hookups. And since we're guessing professors aren't exactly broadcasting them to their coworkers either, more could've gone down in your school's offices and science labs than you realized.

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