The problem with scientific studies about sex is that none of the data collected can really be called accurate. When individuals are asked about sex, either anonymously or not, they tend to exaggerate. However, now a new way has been thought of to collect information about sex that is completely arbitrary. Seth Stevens-Davidowitz, an economist and contributing writer to the New York Times, had the idea of utilizing Google search data to ask different questions about sex and find some realistic answers at the same time.
First of all, what’s the problem with conventional sex data? When Stevens-Davidowitz tried to look at something basic, like how much sex are Americans having in the first place, he found an interesting conundrum. Running the numbers, it seemed that heterosexual men were having sex 63 times per year and using condoms in 23 percent of those sexual encounters. That adds up to 1.6 billion condoms per year. On the heterosexual female side of things, women say they have sex 55 times per year and use a condom 16 percent of the time. In the end, heterosexual men and women claim they are using a total of 2.7 billion condoms per year, which is bogus because, according to Nielsen, fewer than 600 million condoms are sold every year.
So you can see the problem. People lie about sex. A lot.
However, examining Google search patterns, Stevens-Davidowitz was able to find data pertaining to sex that proved a lot more reliable. For example, one search phrase indicates that married couples in the United States are more worried about not having sex than other aspects of marriage. The phrase “sexless marriage” was searched for over 20,000 times monthly on Google, whereas phrases like “loveless marriage” and “unhappy marriage” were only searched for a fraction of that amount. When it comes to search terms like “my girlfriend won’t have sex with me” or “my boyfriend won’t have sex with me,” it seems that girlfriends are on the receiving end of less sex, as they’re the ones doing the greater amount of searching. However, with search terms like “my husband/wife won’t have sex with me,” the question of whether husbands or wives feel like they’re in need of more sex is much more even.
So what’s the problem? Why are Americans not having as much sex as it seems we all want to? As it turns out, the Google search data suggests there are a number of reasons including men’s neuroses about their own genitals (ie. size) and women’s concerns about longevity and the size of men’s genitals. However, though one might assume that most women complain about a man not being large enough, it turns out that over 40 percent of all searches concerning a problem with size performed by women are concerned with a man’s genitals being too large.
On the whole, the study of the Google search data seems to suggest that both men and women are far too hung up on sex to be having a satisfactory amount of it. On the flip side, we’re all so hung up on sex, and at the same time, we are seemingly incapable of having honest conversations about sex that would make lovemaking better for everyone.
You can read all about Stevens-Davidowitz’ study in the New York Times.
Have you ever lied on a sex survey, or have you always been 100 percent honest?
[Image via The Independent]