Sex survey accuracy is suspect because of “social expectation bias“, which influences sex survey participants to respond in the way they think is socially acceptable. Sex surveys are back in the news because word is getting out to the masses that recent survey data shows younger generations are having less sex, something that strikes people as odd given the current Western cultural climate of utter depravity.
But besides social expectation bias (and the verified observation that women tend to lie more than men on sex surveys), there is something else at play that corrupts social survey findings: The ambiguity of the terms being used on the surveys and in synopses of results.
For instance, what exactly does it mean to “have less sex”? Yes, it means numerically to have less frequent sex (say as measured on a per month basis), but the assumption then is that this means fewer partners. It doesn’t. It is possible, (in fact, as CH will argue, probable), that less sex means more partners.
Compare a 1950s 25-year-old woman to a 2014 25-year-old woman. If sex survey results are to be believed without qualification, that 1950s woman was sluttier; she had sex 6 times per month compared to the 4 times per month the 2014 woman is having. The unthinking reader may exclaim, “holy crap those 1950s housewives sure got around!”
Ah, but that’s where a little knowledge of the sexual market can help your powers of induction. A married, faithful 1950s housewife who deeply loved and admired her bring-home-the-bacon husband would welcome sex six times per month. She would be ravenous in the sack. A sexually voracious woman is not a slut unless she spreads her sexual voracity among many men.
Now fast forward to our 2014 Götterdämmerung sexual market. Our 25-year-old woman is not married, and she is not dependent on any man for her discretionary cash needs. She dates a lot, but needs at least three dates before having sex with a man. She had one long-term relationship in high school, but since then it’s been all short-term post-collegiate flings. She meets a new man she’d like to bang about once every four months, which means she endures long dry spells between dates. She has a lot of sex with a man after he’s stuck around for longer than three dates, but her dry spells mean that her average sex frequency is only four times per month. Her relationships usually top out at six months now, so although she has less sex than her 1950s counterpart, she is far sluttier, having amassed a lifetime partner count in the double digits.
The lesson of this post is that the only reliable way you’ll get accurate data on how many different dicks the typical American woman invites into her chamber of intercourse is by insect-sized drone spying on her and recording every moment of penetration. Otherwise, it’s just her word on a piece of paper, and that plus a buck will get you a buck.