Sex, lies and infographics (June)

This column first appeared in the Sunday Times Lifestyle on 4th June, 2017

SUNDAY TIMES CONCH – JUNE 2017 – By Paige Nick


You know what the Internet has almost more of than cats knocking glasses off tables? Sex surveys and infographics.

We are obsessed with sex data. I think it’s because in our hearts we all just want reassurance that we’re normal. Even if we like to get peed on, or attach jumper cables to our nipples, as long as someone else likes to do that too, we’re okay. Even better if they like to do it in a Pilates reformer, or while eating a bag of Flings.

For a more realistic example, if someone is cheating on me, and I find out that 74.5968% of married men cheat, I feel a little bit better about it. Or if I only want to have sex with my partner on days not ending in Y, as long as some source I’ve never heard of before with lots of asterisks, tells me that sixty nine point ten nine six percent of other people feel the same way, I’ll be okay.

Is penis size important? Do we still masturbate when we’re in a relationship? Do women look at porn? These are just some of the things we will always want to know the numbers on. Sex stats are like the expensive avos, we will still always want them.

But here’s the problem, has any single human being, in the history of the universe, ever told the whole truth and nothing but the truth, when telling someone else about their sex life, even anonymously? And it’s unlikely that the researchers take that into account and add a few, drop a zero, or round it all up a bit before they publish it, just to cover off any inaccuracies. So that means the facts and statistics we base our idea of what’s normal on, are all just a steaming pile of fake news.

Asking a bunch of guys if they worry their Johnson is too small, and expecting the truth, would be the equivalent of asking a bunch of fifty-three year old divorces how old they are and expecting an honest answer. If you added up all the left off digits from the latter survey, you’d have the amount of men in the former survey who lied about their penis size, or how many partners they’ve had, or how often they really spank their monkey.

Research says that in surveys, eighteen to sixty year old men say they have sex 1.5 times a week, but then data scientists say these men over-report by 50%. Women of a certain age (or the age they’ll admit to) say they have sex four times a month. Data scientists say they over-report by 200%. And who’s to say how much the data scientists have sex or over report by.

So the bottom line is, you should never believe everything you read, even if it’s a fancy-looking infographic with vector images of people doing a sixty-nine, and quoted sources.

Dammit, now I want a bag of Flings.


Twitter: @paigen

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