Sexual Partners

June 2, 2009

183 words
2 July 2008
The Times
Times2 3
English
(c) 2008 Times Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved

It is comforting when statistics confirm our prejudices. According to Durex, the average heterosexual man has had 13 sexual partners, while women have had seven. Which makes sense: men like to sleep around; women don’t.

But since heterosexual sex involves both a man and a woman, the average should be the same. Take a population of 1,000 men and 1,000 women. Imagine the extreme case: 999 women are celibate, and one sleeps with all 1,000 men. The male average is one. The female average is (0+0+…1,000)/1,000, also one. It could just about be explained if Durex were using a different calculation – citing the median rather than the mean. Or perhaps the methodology is flawed? Some people are rarely surveyed: prostitutes, for instance.

There is a simpler answer though, that doesn’t involve celibacy, super shaggers or missing prostitutes. When it comes to sex, people lie.

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