Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Are men lying about number of sex partners?

15 Aug 2007, New Paper

Sex survey figures illogical:

IF you believe surveys done by sex researchers, men have more sex partners than women.

In fact, one recent British survey reported that men had 12.7 female sex partners in their lifetimes and women had 6.5.

But mathematicians are now challenging those figures, saying that it is mathematically impossible, reported the New York Times.

Prof David Gale, an emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, illustrated how the findings are illogical with an example of a school dance.

'We suppose that on the day after the prom, each girl is asked to give the number of boys she danced with,' he said.

'These numbers are then added up giving a number G. The same information is then obtained from the boys, giving a number B.'

Logically, both G and B will be equal to C - the number of couples who danced together.

Sex researchers agree with him, saying that men and women in the population must have roughly equal numbers of partners.

One explanation as to why the survey data is off is that men are going outside the population to find partners. For example, they look for prostitutes, who are not part of the survey, or have sex outside of the country.

Another, of course, is that men exaggerate the number of partners they have while women underestimate.

Dr Gale added that he is not nitpicking when he raises the question of logical impossibility.

He explained that when such data is published without any caveats, they just 'reinforce the stereotypes of promiscuous males and chaste females.'

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