Thursday

Sex, Lies and Math…

Who knew that math could be so sexy?! On August 12, 2007, the New York Times ran an article entitled, "The Math, The Myth, The Sex", written by Gina Kolata.

Like many whom have written about sexual mores, Kolata discusses the significance of “The Number”. We all know that men are from “Hornyville” and women are from “Chasteville”, right?! Some of my male friends even attribute the differences between the sexual practices of men and women to science. However, Kolata challenges their scientific theory with mathematical principles.

As I read the article I became intrigued. The first thing that I thought was, had they applied math to sex when I was in school, I would have been a better math student!

The article is based on something called "the high school prom theory", which contends that it is mathematically impossible that the average number of sexual partners had by men and women varies significantly. Rather, the "high school prom theory" stands for the proposition that men and women must have each had about the same number of sexual partners. However, the US surveys indicated that men had a median of 7 female sexual partners and women had a median of 4 male sexual partners. (For those like me who haven't had statistics since college, the median of a list of numbers is determined by listing the numbers from lowest to highest and picking the middle one.) Kolata and the mathematician says that the survey results must be wrong.

I'm no mathematician, but I was not at all surprised to learn that the survey was inaccurate. I don’t know anybody who has ever answered the question honestly. I also believe that they are often incapable of answering truthfully because they are so consumed with providing the "right" answer.

As a threshold matter, men and women define “sex” differently. If sufficient flesh is exposed, many men round up--even if there is no intercourse. If it wasn’t enjoyable, women delete the encounter from memory and it simply does not count--even if there was intercourse. The lie becomes instinctive and natural. Many fail to realize that they are lying.

A friend from college discounted her first encounter because the young man failed to make “the right impression” (HUGE euphemism...) on her and she didn’t want to have a weak first time story for a lifetime. I have no doubt that her memory has now erased the encounter from her memory. I am convinced that some of my male friends count every single woman that they fantasized them because quite frankly I can’t imagine how they managed to graduate from college and hold down a job if they actually had that much sex.

Well I may be no Einstein, but Kolata and the mathematicians actually agreed with me. They also concluded that the survey results are inaccurate because everybody lies about sex. Imagine that?!
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