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One survey, recently reported by the federal government, concluded that men had a median of seven female sex partners. Women had a median of four male sex partners. Another study, by British researchers, stated that men had But there is just one problem, mathematicians say. It is logically impossible for heterosexual men to have more partners on average than heterosexual women.
Those survey results cannot be correct. I know a guy who has exactly Yes, the point is valid if you are using mean rather than median. False reporting including different definitions of sex are almost certainly the biggest explanation. Sex tourism could genuinely result in different means, but come on, how big a factor is that? Richard Lewontin has a wonderful essay on the inability of surveys to capture the reality of sexual behavior, which has a good discussion of this issue.
It also mentions that on the big NORC sex survey that set the standard for these things in the s,. Two matters were asked about that were considered so jarring to the American psyche that the information was elicited only on written forms: One of CDC people is quoted as saying: Prostitutes and other women who have a lot of sex may be part of the sample, but will they report accurately?
Once I was flirting with a beautiful woman, and this topic came up, and she said she lost track around I think I succeeded at not looking too startled or disapproving, and complimented her on her memory. I can imagine there might be many more women with high numbers, since a man would have to persuade many women while a woman need only be easy to persuade. And if those women give underestimates then it could all work out. What stereotype is that?
The football hooligan stereotype? The Austin Powers shagadelic stereotype? Sounds plausible because the language is sloppy. There was a study a while ago suggesting that women lie and underreport: Women change their answers depending on whether or not they believe they will be caught out not telling the truth, the researchers found.
The number of sexual partners a woman reported nearly doubled when women thought they were hooked up to a lie detector machine. Men, when given one of these studies, are more likely to give a ballpark estimate, while women are more likely to count up specific partners. Also, the difference between the Brits and the Americans could be due to using medians vs.
So the Brits might still be prudes after all. On the merits, I would generally agree with post 4 about the inaccuracies reporting and the different definitions of sex. Is she ignorant, or is she just being catty? Surely the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Neither of the two things you linked to suggest in the slightest any ignorance or the sort of innumeracy that Henry suggested.
She has a good grasp of science and she is fast. From the point of view of watching a working journalist, she is just amazing. I covered this in Slate today. Rather, I expect she made a conscious choice to gloss over the distinction in this article, and I think that was the wrong choice.
Keith M Ellis And the demographic of prostitutes streetwalkers, quid pro quo drug addicts which are most likely to be undersampled are also those who are most likely to have an extreme outlying number of sex partners. Very, very few men will have the number of sex partners that a run of the mill street prostitute has. Age differences in sex tend to find the men older and the women younger.
Third, there is the large problem concerning the definition of sex. This is problematic, as the commenter argues, because women are more likely to engage in non-aroused sex than are men.
Finally, when we move into the realm of intentional inaccuracies of self-reporting, the implicit assumption among those who argue the explanation hinges upon this is that the distribution of inaccurate self-reporting is even. The distribution of sexual partners for each sex is very likely not in either case evenly distributed. And that is to say, the results are mostly correct. I once knew a woman who claimed to only slept with two men.
The real total turned out to be Ellis, I refute completely by anecdote, which we all know is the only foolproof method by which to reach the truth. I tried to carefully avoid saying anything directly about the median statement in the article because, as you realize, it could be correct even with accurate data. What I did was to get a copy of the CDC report and used the data in its tables. It groups people into four groups and gives the percentage of men and women in each group:.
From these figures you can estimate the total partners claimed by each sex. I got between 40 percent and 75 percent more male than female partners depending on how you guess the average on each interval. I hope this clarifies. An especially cute part of the article was Dr. It is impossible for guys and girls to have a different percentage….
Unless they are prostitutes like the guy stated above and she didnt report correctly. But somewhere someone is lying about how many people they slept with….. At a recent reunion from my law school class I got to speaking with a woman I had literally not exchanged 1 word with while in school, even though it was a relatively small class and she was pretty attractive. Within 5 minutes she asked me to come home with her.
My male friend was quite sure his number was bigger, and was chuckling about it. Given how quickly she propositioned me, I have little doubt in the accuracy of her number.
This suggests that smart women are in short supply, which strikes me as not that unlikely. The oversupply of smart men is the part I find incredible. The objections you raised are I think perfectly legitimate—just not germane to the question of her numeracy. Will says that the typical woman probably has fewer partners than the typical man, but I think Will is not imagining the small-of-stature, shy, non-athletic male.
A similar female could find a partner my number is … if she were not picky. A low-end male is often a pathetic creature, when it comes to mating opportunity. This is true among, bovines, equines, baboons, hunter-gatherers and college boys. In many parts of the US, population density is very low. So especially for males in the vast grasslands and the western mountains, even one partner is something of an accomplishment. The reported medians were 7 for men, 4 for women in both cases. The apparent difference is a result of the Times reporting the median for the US study and the mean for the UK study.
It groups people into four groups and gives the percentage of men and women in each group: The point of the article, and the analysis of the figures as quoted in comments 27 and 40 above, was the continuing erroneous survey results on male and female sexual behaviour. The point of the article was not to bitch on about means, medians or statistical analysis or not by scientific reporters.
If we pay strict attention to your point, we miss all the fun of thinking up reasons that Brits and Yanks might have very different sexual lies. When statistics stand in the way of having a good time, I say stuff stats.
Nevertheless, I meant these kinds of figures, the like of which is fairly frequently bandied about, rather than this particular set of figures. Sorry if that was not clear. To my knowledge, no one has yet pointed to the obvious distortions in these figures caused by men who rape women while they are unconscious, which might explain some of the disparity.
The article was a missed opportunity. Kolata got bogged down in getting a mathematician to laboriously prove a trivial point. She also got caught out for the sloppiness of conflating the mean with the median, which shows not that she is stupid but that she might have thought her readers are. As the New Scientist article I mentioned, researchers at Ohio university found that:. Somehow I find this a more plausable source of the gap than all those women getting raped in their sleep without remembering it.
Home Comments policy Subscribe. Another post on dating strategies by Henry on August 13, It also mentions that on the big NORC sex survey that set the standard for these things in the s, Two matters were asked about that were considered so jarring to the American psyche that the information was elicited only on written forms: Help me out, here.
A bit of nonsense for the general merriment: There you have it. Speaking of a good time, once again, my mumber is ….
Brits and Yanks might have very different sexual lies Looks like their sexual lies are pretty similar. What is your objection? As always, truth needs no facts. As the New Scientist article I mentioned, researchers at Ohio university found that: Recent Comments Joe on How do you fit in reading academic books not related directly to your research?
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