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Is There Such a Thing as Sexual Honesty?
August 17, 2007 12:03 AM   Subscribe

National Center for Health Statistics says the median for heterosexual men is seven partners and for heterosexual women it’s four, and isn't that just plain BS? The New York Times has looked at the NCHS study and found The Myth, the Math, the Sex while Salon explained that Chaste women + promiscuous men = impossible. Now Janet W. Hardy, the author of The Ethical Slut, reminds us either men are rounding up or women are rounding down. Then she does something radical by admitting that she has honestly, depending on your definition, perhaps hundreds of lovers. Is either gender ready to be honest about sex? For instance, do hookers or blackout sex even count?
posted by PeteNicely (83 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Then she does something radical by admitting that she honestly has had, depending on your definition, perhaps hundreds of lovers.
posted by PeteNicely at 12:05 AM on August 17, 2007


One.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:06 AM on August 17, 2007


Generally, people are having less sex than they'd like you to think.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:12 AM on August 17, 2007


Wait... I agree that it would be impossible for the mean number of partners to differ significantly between men and women (assuming that people in other countries, prostitutes, etc. don't skew the numbers too much), but it seem possible for the median numbers to differ significantly. Here's a numerical example to demonstrate this.

Say we're dealing with 100 men and 100 women. Suppose that among these 100 men, each has exactly 7 (female) partners. Among the women, say 70 have exactly 4 (male) partners each, and 30 have exactly 14 partners each. (This setup is possible, since the total number of partners for both the men and the women is 700.) Here the median for the men will be 7, and the median for the women will be 4.

More generally, if a few women are sleeping with a large number of men, while among the men the number of partners is more or less equal, then you'd see such a disparity.
posted by epimorph at 12:37 AM on August 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, sorry, the update to the Salon article makes this point also...
posted by epimorph at 12:51 AM on August 17, 2007


Crooked Timber had a short post about this mentioning what epimorph mentioned and also that men & women might have different definitions of what makes a sexual partner. Is this what you mean by "rounding up" and "rounding down"? I imagine given certain cultural pressures men might want to count more things as sex and women less -- for example oral sex. When I was in college oral sex functioned as a sort of safe interval before "real" sex. I imagine this leads to ambiguity, in fact ambiguity was probably the point.
posted by creasy boy at 12:59 AM on August 17, 2007


epimorph, the median/mean distinction always deserves to be stated as a public service announcement, particularly when it's hidden so deep in the post. How many people know that more than 50% of the population has a below average income? (or below average number of sex partners, or below average number of cars, or below average number of children...) Statistics should be required in journalism school to avoid misleading the public like this, and it's of such general use that it should be required in high school too.
posted by Llama-Lime at 1:11 AM on August 17, 2007


It's so exasperating to read these breathless reports (Gina Kolada, I'm looking in your direction) that are long on self-congratulation but short on statistical clarity. The distinction between mean and median here is key. In many of these sex surveys, "average" means median.

Which is not to say there is no socioloical or psychological element to the self-reports that biases them. But still. I'm so so tired of such basic facts going unmentioned-- especially in articles that are meant to debunk.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 1:23 AM on August 17, 2007


I used to have this argument all the time in university. It drove me absolutely bonkers it was not immediately obvious to people that if representation of the genders in the survey was relatively homogenous, one or both genders had to be lying. It's not nearly complicated enough to even deserve the label "math", really.

Before you could know how much men round up and women round down, you'd have to enumerate the effects of a whole lot of outlier groups like prostitutes & sex addicts to find out whether they are under or over represented in the surveys.

I would hazard a guess prostitutes would be the most likely to undereport of any group -- not necessarily for any psychological reason, but because most probably don't keep track and people tend in general to underestimate things they do a lot. So even if they aren't under-represented in the survey, they could count for a some part of the skew. And they probably ARE under-represented.

If the survey participation is in any way voluntary, it's also possible some or much of the effect happens outside of the survey numbers, with men who are sexually active being more inclined to participate than men who aren't, and vice versa for women. No idea how you would go about controlling for that.
posted by lastobelus at 1:50 AM on August 17, 2007


In any case, I think Dr. Gale is naive to say the prostitute effect would be negligible. They probably affect the mean, and they definitely affect the median.
posted by lastobelus at 1:56 AM on August 17, 2007


Thanks for the post. This question has been rattling around in my head for a long time and I never got around to asking MeFi (or Marilyn) about it.
posted by MtDewd at 2:07 AM on August 17, 2007


You can draw the line at a lot of places.
posted by blacklite at 2:51 AM on August 17, 2007


In terms of rounding up & down, I've a hunch that it's in the definitions, rather than in completely inventing or deleting events.

For example, if a guy gives or receives a hand/head job, he's more than likely to count that, whereas a girl will probably put that same event into the non-sex basket, because there was no vaginal penetration involved.

The thing is that sexual activity takes so many different forms that what counts as sex is often a matter of where you set the definition. Most people probably wouldn't define making out as sex, even though the desires & physical responses are pretty much identical to - or at least on a definite continuum with - 'real' sex, such that between innocent snogging and hot monkey fucking are a whole range of activities that people can choose to categorise either way, depending on how they wish to see themselves.

So, following the mathematics, the same number of events is occurring, but their categorisation is most likely what is confusing the numbers & leading to the apparent impossibility mentioned, of chaste women & promiscuous men.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:00 AM on August 17, 2007


(on postview, blacklite was too quick for me. damned need to always draw it out too long!)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:02 AM on August 17, 2007


UbuRoivas
The thing is that sexual activity takes so many different forms that what counts as sex is often a matter of where you set the definition.
An illustration of the point.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:12 AM on August 17, 2007


What's really disheartening is the reduction of "sexual honesty" to numerals and statistics.
posted by mistersquid at 3:23 AM on August 17, 2007


Sangermaine: wonderful.

update:

"In a row?"
"What? You think I'm in Paris Hilton's league?!? Get the fuck outta here!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:30 AM on August 17, 2007


Can I count in family members?
posted by Postroad at 3:36 AM on August 17, 2007


Being born doesn't count, Postroad. Sorry.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:38 AM on August 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


But bro, he had a good 18 inches all up in her vagina. How can you be so heartless as to take that away from him?
posted by The Monkey at 4:15 AM on August 17, 2007


Quality. Not quantity.
posted by Corky at 4:29 AM on August 17, 2007


Sure, but you get better with practice.
posted by The Monkey at 4:33 AM on August 17, 2007


Um, yeah. I did/do this all the time. Am I talking to a girl that I might want to date? Then non-vaginal intercourse partners don't need to get mentioned. Am I talking to my boys? Sexual relations are good enough.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:41 AM on August 17, 2007


For example, if a guy gives or receives a hand/head job, he's more than likely to count that, whereas a girl will probably put that same event into the non-sex basket, because there was no vaginal penetration involved.

Now try that logic on your wife/girlfriend and see how far you get.
posted by three blind mice at 4:45 AM on August 17, 2007


Quality. Not quantity.

When it comes to sex, quantity IS quality.
posted by three blind mice at 4:47 AM on August 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Some thoughts:

No, quality AND quantity.

DANTE: Try not to suck any more dicks on your way through the parking lot!

Does your hand count as a partner?
posted by doctor_negative at 4:50 AM on August 17, 2007


Everyone else has had more sex than me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:54 AM on August 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Does your hand count as a partner?

Yes, and both hands count as two partners.
posted by TedW at 5:19 AM on August 17, 2007


What about my own mouth, does it count? And, does a fleshlight count as one, or is that considered part of the hand?

Because if those count, and my hands are worth two, then that's 4 plus 2.5 girls (one was only for 'a little bit').

Shit. I'm still only at 6.5. Arggh.
posted by trueluk at 5:32 AM on August 17, 2007


Now try that logic on your wife/girlfriend and see how far you get.

"You sucked thirty-six dicks? Does that include me?"

(on preview: trueluk - eponironic)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:34 AM on August 17, 2007


TedW: Yes, and both hands count as two partners.

Don't forget that your natural hand is masculine, the other, feminine.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:37 AM on August 17, 2007


I'm still not getting it. All these comments still seem to be regarding the average (mean), not the median. If you're talking about the median, it's not at all impossible. It's only with the mean that they have to be equal or people are lying.

So far all I'm seeing is a lot of mathematical confusion, and one or two hints that maybe the report has errors in it (e.g., tables where means and medians are mixed, as appears to be possibly the case in the addendum to the Salon article). A lot of ignorant and mistaken huffing and puffing that completely by accident ends up being right.

So, what am I missing, here?
posted by lodurr at 5:37 AM on August 17, 2007


(Er. not all these comments. Just all these mathematically ignorant "duh that's obvious" comments.)
posted by lodurr at 5:40 AM on August 17, 2007


idunno, lodurr, but i've just lost all interest. don't worry, it's not you, it's me. i think i'll call a cab now.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:41 AM on August 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I imagine given certain cultural pressures men might want to count more things as sex and women less -- for example oral sex.

The last time I heard any data on this, the key differences in how you define oral sex was by age: Younger people pretty consistently said no, it's not sex; older people were much more likely to say it was sex, but I'm not sure what the numbers were.

This was all back when Monica's dress was a big deal.
posted by lodurr at 5:46 AM on August 17, 2007


UbuRoivas: Does it always have to be about sex with you, or if not about sex, some kind of a joke? Can't you be serious for just a minute?

Wait, wait, don't go; I can be fun, too. Just give me a chance!
posted by lodurr at 5:48 AM on August 17, 2007



UbuRoivas: (on preview: trueluk - eponironic)


Dude, I don't know what that means, but you better take it back because I just fucked my pillow. That's right, 7.5.

Trueluk > average Male.
posted by trueluk at 5:55 AM on August 17, 2007


I just want to know the standard deviation - so I can figure out exactly how much of an outlier I am.

(deviation, heh heh /beavis)
posted by bashos_frog at 5:59 AM on August 17, 2007


I wonder if I'll be able to tell people I'm a six sigma black belt in sex?
posted by bashos_frog at 6:05 AM on August 17, 2007


I wonders, yes, I wonders, how does the human race manage to keep going, with straight people having so little sex?

Yet another reason to be so happy I'm gay! It's the sex!

As for what is or is not 'sex': If one or both partners does the money shot, it was sex. If not, then it was just pretend. Can it be any simpler than that? (but I'll grant you, obviously straight people are a bit challenged when it comes to sex, the statistics prove it)
posted by Goofyy at 6:06 AM on August 17, 2007


[can't believe she's above the median]
posted by orange swan at 6:11 AM on August 17, 2007


I wrote an article in Slate about the math behind the New York Times piece. Summary: Kolata reported the median for the US study and the mean for the British study. She should have reported the means for both, in which case, the rest of her article would have made much more sense.
posted by escabeche at 6:12 AM on August 17, 2007


Here is what the salon article say about it
I've gotten several messages making the same point. If you look at Gina's article you will see that I never attacked the statement about medians. 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:

0-1 partner: Men, 16.6. Women, 25.0.
2-6 partners: Men, 33.8. Women, 44.3.
7-14 partners: Men, 20.7. Women, 21.3.
15 or more partners: Men, 28.9. Women, 9.4.

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. Thus, the raw data is inconsistent (so it doesn't matter whether you take averages or medians or any other statistic). I hope this clarifies.
Those numbers do seem wonky, since it would require the 9.4% of women to pick up the slack for almost 30% of men. It's still theoretically possible.

But if we assume that the "15 or more" partners actually means 15-30, and that the number of sex partners in each 'bucket' is evenly distributed. (i.e. not 19 men with 14 partners and 1 man with 7 partners in the 7-14 bucket)

Then 100 men would have a total of about 1,000 partners, and women about 620
posted by delmoi at 6:30 AM on August 17, 2007


I can't help rolling my eyes, because this topic has already been well covered by sexologists before, but that doesn't stop reporters from writing sheer speculation when actual empirical is available:

"The difference in status implications may be relevant to one of the enduring paradoxes of sex research, which is the inequality in tallies of sex partners. In a population with equal numbers of men and women, the mean number of heterosexual partners must be the same for both men and women. Yet almost every study has found that men report more sexual partners than women (e.g., Janus & Janus, 1993; Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, & Michaels, 1994).

Recent studies seeking to unravel that paradox have concluded that men and women count differently: Men estimate and round up, whereas women enumerate and omit some (Brown & Sinclair, 1999; Wiederman, 1997), and men are more likely to count borderline cases such as oral sex (Sanders & Reinisch, 1999). These different strategies probably reflect different motivations, insofar as men desire to report a high tally and women desire to report a low one, and so each gender selects a mode of counting that gives it the sort of result it prefers. In short, men want to report a higher number than women, which fits the view that a high number of sexual experiences has more positive implications for a man’s status than for a woman’s. (cite, pp. 355-356)"

References:

Brown, N. R., & Sinclair, R. C. (1999). Estimating number of lifetime sexual partners: Men and women do it differently. Journal of Sex Research, 36, 292–297. (link)

Sanders, S. A., & Reinisch, J. M. (1999). Would you say you “had sex” if…? Journal of the American Medical Association, 281, 275–277. (link)

Wiederman, M. W. (1997). The truth must be in here somewhere: Examining the gender discrepancy in self-reported lifetime number of sex partners. Journal of Sex Research, 34, 375–386. (link)
posted by jonp72 at 6:49 AM on August 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


When I was in university, there seemed to be a very small number of people (of both genders) who were doing their best to drive up the average...and then there were the rest of us.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:50 AM on August 17, 2007


trueluk: i've got about ten pillows just waiting for me right now.

lodurr: put your mouth where your money is, and then we might talk. pillow talk, that is.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:50 AM on August 17, 2007


One. Just like five fresh fish in the second comment.

(and we celebrated our 23rd anniversary last Saturday ;-)
posted by Doohickie at 6:52 AM on August 17, 2007


I have a few male friends who boast about the high number of sexual partners they've had. Things get funny when they'll call girls with the same number of partners sluts, then argue they themselves aren't sluts because they were discriminating. Also, do not suggest the girls they slept with may be as promiscuous as them--the prospect is simply horrifying.
posted by schroedinger at 6:55 AM on August 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wait, wait. The Ethical Slut admitted to having a large number of sexual partners?!?

I feel like a piece of my world just fell down.
posted by designbot at 7:00 AM on August 17, 2007


I wonders, yes, I wonders, how does the human race manage to keep going, with straight people having so little sex?

It's because some of them, when they get together, have 14 children.
posted by taursir at 7:03 AM on August 17, 2007


Nice brownies.
posted by caddis at 7:04 AM on August 17, 2007


Before you could know how much men round up and women round down, you'd have to enumerate the effects of a whole lot of outlier groups like prostitutes & sex addicts to find out whether they are under or over represented in the surveys.

Actually, the empirical research has been done. The effect of rounding errors is sufficient by itself to explain the gender discrepancy in estimated lifetime sex partners without resorting to speculation about unsampled "hidden" populations of prostitutes or sex addicts.
posted by jonp72 at 7:14 AM on August 17, 2007


As for what is or is not 'sex': If one or both partners does the money shot, it was sex. If not, then it was just pretend. Can it be any simpler than that?

I'll buy that if both partners are men, but it really gets ambiguous when one or, especially, both are women for whom it's more difficult to achieve the money shot. For a woman to have a whole lot of sexual contact - enjoyable sexual contact, even - without orgasms ever entering the picture is not at all the edge case it would be for a man, you know?

I would also like to give Janet Hardy's post a big thumbs up for including both a picture of people dressed up as giant vulvas AND a brownie recipe.
posted by clavicle at 7:22 AM on August 17, 2007


One. Just like five fresh fish in the second comment. (and we celebrated our 23rd anniversary last Saturday ;-)

Now THAT'S quality!

Another mathematical aspect that is missing is age of the people surveyed. Everyone who has had sex (by any definition) is able to answer "one" at some point. Those being able to give that same answer 23 years later are pretty rare.

But it makes my day to know there are people out there who can! Well done and congratulations.
posted by three blind mice at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2007


As the Dungeons & Dragons post from yesterday approaches 100 comments, I wonder if this is the right venue for this discussion.
posted by gordie at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


By "black out sex" the poster means "rape", right? Regardless of "comedy" he links to, I don't think it's fair to call anything "sex" if both parties are not involved.

Sorry, but the interchangeability of these two terms tends to piss me off.
posted by Sijeka at 8:12 AM on August 17, 2007


By "black out sex" the poster means "rape", right?

You've obviously never woken up with a naked woman wrapped around you and no recollection of how you got there or what you did. That's serendipity, not rape.
posted by three blind mice at 8:37 AM on August 17, 2007


Sijeka, to be fair, can't "black out" mean that you don't remember what happened the next day? I don't think it necessarily implies that you were unconscious at the time.
posted by creasy boy at 8:40 AM on August 17, 2007


If homosexuals of one gender are having more partners than the other, wouldn't that be able to tip the scales in one direction?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:51 AM on August 17, 2007


If homosexuals of one gender are having more partners than the other, wouldn't that be able to tip the scales in one direction?

Not really for a study of "heterosexual men" and "heterosexual women".

Whether 7 or 4, that number is way too low. There's way too much differentiation in cultures to have any comprehension of one's sexuality with such small tallies, and those are medians. Anyone under say about 25 partners (realistically with 4 partners a year from age 15-30, I should choose around 60 but making exceptions for percentages I don't know of people who get locked into work which monopolizes their time for years) presuming it's due to their own choice, is xenophobic.
posted by kigpig at 9:25 AM on August 17, 2007


Anyone under say about 25 partners (realistically with 4 partners a year from age 15-30, I should choose around 60 but making exceptions for percentages I don't know of people who get locked into work which monopolizes their time for years) presuming it's due to their own choice, is xenophobic.

If by 'xenophobic' you mean 'not syphilitic', then yeah, that sounds about right. You know, syphilis is a hell of a disease: Capable of completely reworking your brain-wiring toward the end of promulgating itself, encouraging promiscuous behavior, maybe even tricking you into perceiving your peers as more promiscuous than they actually are. Not to suggest you're afflicted with neurosyphilis or anything... Though if you were, how would you know? It can be pretty hard to detect.

Sorry, but even adjusting for the minority of world cultures that do it like bonobos, I doubt a plurality of humans are as sexually prolific as you suggest. And humans definitely aren't so sexually prolific in most regions of the United States.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:57 AM on August 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Whether 7 or 4, that number is way too low. There's way too much differentiation in cultures to have any comprehension of one's sexuality with such small tallies, and those are medians. Anyone under say about 25 partners (realistically with 4 partners a year from age 15-30, I should choose around 60 but making exceptions for percentages I don't know of people who get locked into work which monopolizes their time for years) presuming it's due to their own choice, is xenophobic."

Right, that's the most likely explanation. I'll go explain it to my girlfriend that since we've been dating for five years, I'm about 19 behind and need to make it up.

Or wait, could this be more bizarro-world gender relations from kigpig?
posted by klangklangston at 10:56 AM on August 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


kigpig: Whether 7 or 4, that number is way too low. There's way too much differentiation in cultures to have any comprehension of one's sexuality with such small tallies, and those are medians. Anyone under say about 25 partners (realistically with 4 partners a year from age 15-30, I should choose around 60 but making exceptions for percentages I don't know of people who get locked into work which monopolizes their time for years) presuming it's due to their own choice, is xenophobic.

Wow. Just...wow. What a really strange and muddled bunch of things to say. I'm not even really sure what it means, but I'm having a hard time forming an interpretation of what it says that allows me to make any sense of it.

So, you'd like us to think that we're either abnormal or perhaps even psychologically unhealthy if we don't average 4 partners a her from age 15-30?

What are you -- the Sexuality Police? Or the Sexual Normativeness Squad? (Let's all go have lots of sex so kigpig doesn't think we don't have comrehension of our sexuality.)

And I'm really, really unclear on what it is that you think "comprehension of one's sexuality" has to do with the number of people you've had sex with. And what any of it has to do with cross-cultural comparisons (since the cited studies are referencing Americans).
posted by lodurr at 11:09 AM on August 17, 2007


*scratches head*

I feel hugely mathematically challenged here, because I never thought there was anything inexplicable about men reporting more sexual partners than women. I always thought it was a combination of the rounding up/rounding down thing, plus there being some individuals working overtime to skew the numbers. For example, when I met my third boyfriend, he spent a certain amount of time sulking about the difference in the levels of our experience. I was number four for him, and he was number something like twenty-two for me (I was a busy girl when I was a teenager). So I must really be missing something, because I just assumed that a similar disparity of scale was at work with these surveys.
posted by jokeefe at 11:17 AM on August 17, 2007


jokeefe -- you do understand, don't you, that what you actually just demonstrated was being mathematically competent, not challenged....
posted by lodurr at 11:37 AM on August 17, 2007


I was number four for him, and he was number something like twenty-two for me

Right, but your 22 pairings would add 22 to the women's overall side of the equation and... 22 to the men's overall side of the equation. It has to even out somewhere.

Given a group of 100 men and 100 women, if just 1 woman did it with all 100 guys, and the other 99 women completely abstained, the average number of partners for both men and women would still even out to 1.
posted by designbot at 12:02 PM on August 17, 2007


At the other extreme, if all 100 women did it with all 100 men, the average for both men & women would be 100 partners. The average has to be the same.
posted by designbot at 12:23 PM on August 17, 2007


Less than 25 partners equals xenophobia?

*scratches head
posted by caddis at 12:45 PM on August 17, 2007


caddis: maybe defined loosely as 'fear of letting strangers in'?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:56 PM on August 17, 2007


Yeah, and they have to be all at once, otherwise you're a prude. And at least two of 'em have to be Jewish, or you're an anti-semite.
posted by klangklangston at 1:01 PM on August 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


The reason why the median is higher for men is because homosexuals keep sucking their cocks.
posted by disgruntled at 2:24 PM on August 17, 2007


Right, but your 22 pairings would add 22 to the women's overall side of the equation and... 22 to the men's overall side of the equation. It has to even out somewhere.

Given a group of 100 men and 100 women, if just 1 woman did it with all 100 guys, and the other 99 women completely abstained, the average number of partners for both men and women would still even out to 1.


Ooooohhhhhh, I get it now! I do!

D'oh!
posted by jokeefe at 3:03 PM on August 17, 2007


So what’s the opposite of xenophobe?
I was pretty much a male slut.
But my mindset shifted whenever I was in a relationship. I’m pretty monogamous that way.
I don’t have any religious or moral impetus ‘making’ me act that way (or ‘resisting’ homosexuality) - I’m just that way. Monogamous as a gray wolf, straight as a rail.
Couldn’t imagine cheating on my wife, not because of our vows, but simply because I don’t want to be with anyone else.
But when I was tomcatting I never really cared about my partners’ past. Didn’t really care about my wife’s either. We’re together now, and that’s it.
Seems to me not everyone is wired that way. Which is fine.
But there seems to be the overlay of moral/social sets to legitimize not only whatever proclivity but it’s opposite, if that makes sense.

People seem to try to find concept sets which support whatever their nature might be (or what they wish it to be if they’re twisted - e.g. the self-hating homophobes) and that’s obvious, but it overlooks the possibility that it supports it’s opposite.

So what I’m saying is the boosting of the numbers from guys might not be just to augment the perception (self or otherwise) of their sexual prowess, but to create a number higher than what women are likely to say to maintain that “chaste” illusion.
Seems to be a sort of posessiveness/possessed kind of dichotomy, more internal, as opposed to merely an ego driven thing.
I don’t think, and I assume the data was derived anonymously, anyone would lie that much to preserve the more socially driven external mores.
Preserving one’s self-delusions are another matter.

Just another facet on the thing I suppose.
(And I wouldn’t count hookers...rather do my hand)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:13 PM on August 17, 2007


S’funny - the Foucault stuff on sexuality (up a bit on the front page) talks about confession as integral to sexuality (which is why so many damned spies, agents, interrogators, etc. are women) which is sort of what I’m saying.
It does require a certain degree of consensual validation. Or rather, there is a presumption that it requires such a consensus which leads to a reciprocating relationship. Unlike other physical processes (e.g. exercise - unless it is, or where it is, entangled with sexuality).
posted by Smedleyman at 4:02 PM on August 17, 2007


Doohickie: Congrats! We're coming up on #21. That's legal aged, all around the world! It's also two years longer than I've lived without her in my life... bizarre thought, that: I could have have had a kid that's now a full adult.

I wonders, yes, I wonders, how does the human race manage to keep going, with straight people having so little sex?

Little? In what way? I'll admit, my wife and I don't fuck like bunnies like we did when we were kids, but then we also don't stay up as late or climb mountains any more either. On the other hand, we have what I'd have to describe as "tantric" experiences.

I have to say, I think there's a lot to be said for longevity in relationships and sex. One doesn't become a professional golfer by changing clubs every game.

on the flipside of that analogy, one does have to be a well-practiced swinger...
posted by five fresh fish at 6:07 PM on August 17, 2007


How many people know that more than 50% of the population has a below average income? (or below average number of sex partners, or below average number of cars, or below average number of children...)

On the bright side, around 99% of the population has more than the average number of legs.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:20 PM on August 17, 2007


Yeah, and they have to be all at once, otherwise you're a prude. And at least two of 'em have to be Jewish, or you're an anti-semite.

I heart droll humour. [greens applause]

but to create a number higher than what women are likely to say to maintain that “chaste” illusion

Insightful. Women, do you feel men desire their partners to be less sexually experienced than themselves?
posted by five fresh fish at 6:31 PM on August 17, 2007


People overstate how much sex they’re having and understate how many partners they’ve had.
posted by dtp at 7:49 PM on August 17, 2007


Hey Sijeka, I couldn't agree with you more, the way those terms are bandied about like it's nothing at all freaks me out. You know, cuz rape is so funny, except that it's not. Of course that opinion will not surprize many here. Watch out, you will get comments about how you have no sense of humor, or that you have an agenda. How dare you not tow the dudely line.

Oh and also, I totally win against the average man. Oh noes! That makes me a slut. Damn. Can't win after all. But seriously yay for sex. The physical act of love. Coitus. It can be a fun and zesty enterprize. (or something like that from The Big Lebowski)

But really in the end (hee! no pun intended) does it really matter how many sex partners a person has? I wish it didn't but, I know it matters to us all. I recently started seeing this guy and realized I'd had way more partners than him and started to worry that he might find out about me. I hate that I had that thought. It doesn't change how I feel about him, but I am sure in our culture it will change how he feels about me. I don't think I'll get high fives from the guys.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 9:55 PM on August 17, 2007


Oh and Faint of Butt, that vid was so very funny. The tears at the end!
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 10:00 PM on August 17, 2007


Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:31 PM on August 17, 2007


More generally, if a few women are sleeping with a large number of men, while among the men the number of partners is more or less equal, then you'd see such a disparity.

If there are more female hookers than male hookers, this fits perfectly--especially if they aren't included in the survey.
posted by Many bubbles at 11:37 PM on August 17, 2007


You know how google-bombing got really popular with that "miserable failure" thingie a while back? Y'all need to get humping.
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:34 AM on August 18, 2007


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