Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gauging Normalcy.

Assume there's a bell curve of sexual desire.

-3 is totally asexual, +3 is extremely hypersexual. The vast majority of the population is somewhere in between, in (not necessarily but let's assume, for giggles) a normal distribution with most people close to an average degree of horniness.

Where do you fall on that curve?

I've gotta be somewhere in the right half. And I'm not at the +3 far right, because I'm not very promiscuous and I only have sex maybe once or twice a week. (Not that sexual behavior necessarily indicates sexual desire, but I have a rough idea I'm not the horniest person in the world anyway.) But exactly where to place myself, I'm not sure.

Sometimes I get indications that I'm nearly normal, that I'm like +0.5 or something and my only real deviation is talking about it so damn much. I'll mention something to my friends that I thought was completely wild and pervy and find out that 75% of them have done it. Everybody and their mom has oral sex, anal sex, gets tied up, gets spanked, and I'm naïve for even calling it kinky.

And sometimes instead of talking to my friends I look at polls and statistics, and good Lord, I'm the horniest little slut on the planet. I saw a poll in Glamour (yeah, real scientific) that said "47% of men and 24% of women masturbate weekly." Weekly? What the heck do they do the other six nights?

Here (large PDF) are some results of a 2005 survey on global sexual habits that surprised me:
• The average American has 10.7 sexual partners in their life. I'm 22 and that's about my number right now. (The 0.7 dude was a little unpleasant.)
• 47% report anal sex. Seriously? That many? I'm very surprised.
• Only 10% of Americans report "sadomasochism." Although if they're like Alan, they may define that narrowly--36% report "bondage."
• 53% of Americans own pornography. That makes me realize what a bad sample my friends are, because I know 100% of them do. It also makes me wonder a bit what the lie factor in the survey was--it seems like "awesome cool" things like threesomes and buttsex have surprisingly high percentages, where as "lame loser" things like porn and frequent masturbation have surprisingly low ones.

In the end, I'm unable to reach a conclusion as to how pervy I am. Is my constant yearning for and enthusiasm in sex exceptional (or exceptional for a girl), or is it simply the human condition? Is this truly the Pervocracy, or is it after all only the SecretlyTotallyNormalOcracy?


  1. I've never been able to figure it out either. I think a lot of it has to do with sampling bias (and people lying on the surveys).

    As far as you're concerned, I would say that you're not necessarily hornier than the average woman, but you have an easier time enjoying sex than the average woman. Either because you lucked out in the sensory department or because you lucked out with partners--but a lot of women I've talked to (and I used to be one of them) might get turned on but find that sex doesn't actually feel all that great, which saps a lot of the motivation for actually doing it.

  2. OK Cupid said I was hornier than average, but I never figured out what to make of that. It could just be that I'm a typical male, expressing more interest in sex than the typical female, or it could be that I get fewer of my needs met and focus on that. I don't discuss sex with my IRL friends, so my basis for judging the normalcy of my drive, interests, and behaviors comes almost exclusively from the Internet.


    Also, Amy owns porn?

  3. The average American has 10.7 sexual partners in their life. I'm 22 and that's about my number right now. (The 0.7 dude was a little unpleasant.)

    You owe me a new keyboard. I just spurted my drink on it.

    Your sex drive is definitely above average. But that's probably because there's an uncomfortable amount of cold housewives out there who see sex for pleasure as a perversion. With people like that throwing the statistics off, how much faith can you put in an average? A better idea is to figure out what sex drive is healthy.

  4. ... Nobody has made a penis joke about the bell curve. This worries me.

  5. Aebhel - It's gotta be sensory, I've had some clueless-ass partners and everyone tells me I respond more than other girls.

    It might explain why I seem hornier, though; if I have sex, I'm going to get a lot out of it, so why not seek it out all the time?

    Bruno - Amy owns lavender-jacketed "erotica" with a lot of phrases like "his strong hands caressed my inner core like the waves on the sea", but porn is porn.

    Owen - I think figuring out "healthy" is even harder and more meaningless than figuring out "normal." I guess being so overwhelmingly horny that you act irresponsibly is unhealthy, and other than that... I think it's all good. (I worry about some people who claim to have no sex drive, that they're either repressing themselves or yanking their partners' chains, but for some people it seems to just be honestly true.)

    And it doesn't look like a penis at all except for being sort of a "sticky-outy-thing," what's wrong with you. I guess if it has to be a body part it's more like a boob. Kinda. It's really not.

  6. It was a bad taste joke about the word 'bell', leave me alone. :(

  7. What, you have a sex related pervy bell curve and there are no jokes about standard deviations? Am I the only nerd reading this blog?