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Ramona: Oh, calm down, Scott, it was just a phase.

Scott: You had a sexy phase!?!.
Scott Pilgrim finds out that one of Ramona's "evil ex-boyfriends" ("evil exes") isn't a boy.

Maybe it's because young people are living independent of their parents, maybe it's abundance of booze and parties, or the existence of sororities and fraternities that commonly only allow one gender to join, but it's assumed that when a young adult goes to college, they likely experimented sexually with the same gender. While it's usually played for titillation purposes when done with women, this trope can also apply to guys as well.

For those who are gay or bi, it might be the first time they ever acted on their same-sex attraction, leading to other gay plotlines. For those that are straight it's either accepted as having been a brief phase, or rarely spoken of and only in the vaguest terms, a sort of sexual Noodle Incident.

Compare Schoolgirl Lesbians, Situational Sexuality.

Examples of Experimented in College include:

Comic Books

  • Strangers in Paradise: Casey experimented in college and is more than open to a relationship in the present.
  • In Scott Pilgrim, Ramona experimented with her roommate Roxanne, who became the fourth evil ex when she ended it.

 Ramona: I was just a little bi-curious.

Roxanne: Well, honey, I'm a little BI-FURIOUS!

  • In the erotic graphic novel Teach Me! by Enrique Villagran, one of the female teachers is complimented on her skill in cunnilingus; especially as she claims to have never had a lesbian experience. She then admits that "There was this one summer, in college..."
  • XXXenophile: In "Now Museum, Now You Don't" we get this exchange:

 Trixie: Sometimes all a girl needs is a change. To clear the palate as it were.

Sydney: But I'm not... I've never even thought of...

Xynotreen: Oh? What about Cindy, in college?

Sydney: How did you?

Trixie: Minor deities, yes. Incompetent deities, no.


 Fiona: I was a lesbian once at school, but only for about 15 minutes.

  • Discussed in PCU where the Pit's leader tells the prospective freshmen that college in the 1990s is different from the old days where they "swill sherry and screw goats for fun."
  • Within Definitely Maybe, the diary Emily gives Will to return to Summer shows that they had an experimental relationship in school.
  • This is intimated in Four Christmases after Kate's sister tells Brad about the bullying Kate went through during their childhood.

 "My husband and I tell each other all our embarrassing secrets. He knows I slept with the entire water polo team in college, just like I know he experimented with men."

  • Reverend Frank alludes to this in License To Wed.
  • Most characters in Another Country seem to agree that a little homosexual hanky-panky in college is entirely natural. They even fault the master (instructor) for walking in on Martineau and his friend masturbating, because if he were an old boy (i.e. a former pupil) he would supposedly have known from personal experience what goes on in the gym changing rooms.


  • The Robert Heinlein novel The Number of the Beast has the older male character mention he did this in college.
  • In the novel The Last Theorem, the protagonist briefly experiments with his roommate, but it doesn't get very far before a friend of the family finds out and tells his father. (His father is quite explicit that he doesn't mind experimentation, but he objects strenuously to the person his son was experimenting with.)

Live Action TV

  • Melissa and Joey: Implied that Mel may have experimented with bisexuality in college when Lennox pretends to be a lesbian.
  • Holly Holiday from Glee tells the kids she had some "experiences" as a student while at an all-girls boarding school.
  • From Will and Grace, when Will buys Grace a maid to clean up after her...

 Will: Grace, this is gonna cheer you up.

Grace: A short brunette woman? Come on, Will, I tried that in college, remember? It really wasn't my thing.

  • In one episode of Friends, Rachel claims that she kissed one of her sorority sisters, only no one believes her
    • Inverted in another episode of Friends. Phoebe's Citizenship Marriage husband is an ice dancer who everyone (including himself) thought was gay. It turns out he's really straight.

 Duncan: Well, I've never told you this but, there were one or two times, back in college, when I'd get really drunk, go to a straight bar and wake up with a woman next to me. But I, I, I told myself it was the liquor and everyone experiments in college.

  • In an exchange on Happy Endings, Penny blurts that Jane "hooked up with a bunch of girls in college and called it a phase." Jane calmly says, "It was a phase," while husband Brad sits speechless.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In their first domestic squabble, Willow accuses Tara of assuming she's doing this.

 TARA: I trust you. I just ... (looks down) I don't know where I'm gonna fit in ... in your life when...

WILLOW: When ... I change back? Yeah, this is a college thing, just a, a little experimentation before I get over the thrill and head back to boys' town. (pause) You think that?

TARA: Should I?

WILLOW: I'm really sorry that I didn't establish my lesbo street cred before I got into this relationship. You're the only woman I've ever fallen in love with, so ... how on Earth could you ever take me seriously?

  • In Being Erica, Erica revisits an episode from her university days where she explores her relationship with a lesbian classmate.
  • This is how Angela's relationship with Roxie started out on Bones. Then she went back to mostly guys, then to Roxie for a while after the wedding fiasco, then back to Hodgins.

Real Life

  • According to this Cracked article, the trope may not be as common as everyone believes. Only 10% of female college graduates claimed to have a lesbian experience, compared to the 15% who did not attend college, implying that its association is due to a Vocal Minority.
    • The stereotype seems to be stronger with women who go to all-female colleges, which may make it more of a case of Situational Sexuality.

Web Comics

Web Original

 Rihanna: I want you to love me/ like I'm a hot guy.

Todd: Okay, but judging by my experimental days in college, it'll just end disappointingly for everyone.

Western Animation

  • Family Guy: In "Partial Terms of Endearment", it's revealed that Lois once experimented with her college roommate, Naomi.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer reacts with surprise that Sideshow Bob has not only given up trying to kill Bart, but settled down with a woman. (Homer apparently thought Bob was gay.) Bob admits he experimented a little in college.
    • Judging from the Photo Montage in "Holidays of Future Passed", it's implied that Lisa also experimented in her college days.
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