Sunday, 19 October 2008

Bedtime stories

The story of the 105 year old virgin got me thinking. Just how believable are surveys on sex when we have no way of checking people's unlikely replies?

The newspapers are full of breathless headlines about how often, or how little, we're getting our end away. Or how many affairs we've had or which unconventional form of sex. But is it really true?

People are probably more likely to lie about sex than just about anything else. Of course we all want others to think we're having an ecstatic time in bed, that our partners are irresistible sex bombshells, that we can't get enough of it. Who wants to be thought of as a frustrated loner resorting to guilty fumblings in a shabby bedsit?

So when a survey says that 37 year old Jack is at it every night, has had 91 lovers and his wife is insatiable, is it any more credible than Pinnochio giving birth to triplets? Where's the evidence? Especially if he's anonymous and there's nobody out there to say "Him? Are you joking? The only thing that gets him going is the football results."

Survey after survey claims men have had a lot more affairs than women. So exactly who are they having the surplus affairs with? The dogs? A series of Romanian women? Amnesiacs? Other men?

And with sexual frequency, we're obviously relying more on personal memory and estimation than a tangible record of what happened when. How many times in the last month? Ooer, let me think. Choose a number, any number, then double it....

But there again, how many people take any notice of sex surveys, whether bogus or genuine? Sex is such a personal business and preferences so unique, why should we care what other people do? Somehow I think knowing your own loved one's hot spots is more useful than knowing the climax rate in Huddersfield.
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Nicole has a really perceptive and thought-provoking post about lying and deception. Go have a look.

17 comments:

Wisewebwoman said...

Well said, Nick, who the hell cares what others are doing and quality is so much more important than quantity any day of the week, or two...or three (;^).
Funny I've been working on a sex post myself, it should be up before the end of the day.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - Absolutely, quality not quantity. And quality is hardly improved if you're busy comparing your performance to (allegedly) other people's.

gaudiumdegaea said...

Surveys in general, I don't care for and I don't believe. Surveys in magazines are totally made up anyways!
As you said, who wants to know who gets how much or none, when all that is important is to know the right things to do with the lover. Well, said.

Nick said...

GayƩ - I always suspect that magazine survey results are made up, or at least airbrushed, but of course they'd never let on if they were. Indeed, doing the right things with your lover is what's important.

Quickroute said...

I don't fill in many surveys but the few I do i barely pay attention to what I answer as it's more of a chore - Tall Tales I reckon

Nick said...

Quicky - I've been lured into some surveys so absurdly long that by the end I'm saying absolutely anything to get shot of it. And with phone surveys the questions come so fast you just don't have time to consider the answers properly.

Hullaballoo said...

As a therapist, I am much more likely to hear the truth of things than if I was carrying out sex surveys.

Why would you tell a total stranger intimate details of your sex life? Unless enticed by a promise of a free bar of chocolate, of course;)).

Nick said...

Hulla - Yes, and I bet your clients often tell you things that very much contradict the supposed norm of fabulous sex lives. You're right, for a bar of chocolate or three I'd be happy to spill the beans and explain exactly how I tie Jenny to the bedposts (or vice versa).

Baino said...

Well I'm not getting any! *sob* hows that for honest reporting. Lies and damn statistics I say and it all depends on the sample. Maybe the 37 year old 'try hard' is on the game!

Nick said...

Baino - Well, that's a crying shame! A sparky, feisty woman like you should be fighting off all those male admirers! Yes, so much depends on the sample and whether it's truly representative of the general public.

Los Angelista said...

There's a 105 year-old virgin? Wow, male or female?

I don't know if folks are honest or not on surveys but even if they are, who cares? Why do folks feel the need to compare themselves to survey results? It's either going to make you feel really good... or super bad about yourself!

Nicole said...

On the one hand, I'd think that since the surveys are somewhat anonymous, people would be honest, but I find that most of the lies we tell are self serving so there goes that theory. Personally, I lie about all the sex I'm not having. If people only knew what a loose tart I really am. Most days I'm amazed I can walk...(I type as I lounge on the sofa in my flannel pajama bottoms, fuzzy slippers, and ratty t-shirt with blue goop drying on my face).

Nick said...

Liz - You missed my earlier post. Clara Meadmore said she'd never done it and never missed it! Indeed, why compare ourselves with others anyway? But the journos seem to think we all want to know what Lisa in Harrogate gets up to.

Nicole - Hey, you'll have to slow down a bit. You're not getting any younger you know! It's all very well jumping on all those eager young hunks....

Fuzzy slippers? I bet mine are fuzzier than yours....

conortje said...

I've never been asked to fill in a sex survey. I feel left out now...In fact the only one I've ever been asked to fill out involved trams. I must have that look about me.

Nick said...

Conor, are you sure it wasn't a survey about sex on trams? Apparently 23% of 20-29 year olds have had sex on trams. It must be true, I read it in the paper.

Fate's Granddaughter said...

I don't think I have ever been completely honest about my sexual history with anyone but my husband - so I am inclined to agree with your assessment. I have always justified my small fibs by concluding it is nobody's damn business anyway!

Nick said...

FG - I think sex is a very personal business and nobody else has any right to know anything, unless of course there's a serious problem that needs looking at. So I see nothing wrong in your telling a few fibs to ward off other people's questions.