The Patch

August 14, 2007

The 40 different times a virgin

Filed under: Miscellany — freshlysqueezedcynic @ 11:13 am

 So, coming from Crooked Timber, who’re having a nice barney about whether or not it is a statistical impossibility that men and women report, on average, different numbers of sexual partners (Answer: Probably not, and it seems this is just another case of the press being sloppy when it comes to statistics, although of course this is fairly innocuous compared to previous statistical fuckups, such as the cool response over the Lancet papers, as Tim Lambert of Deltoid has wearingly noted over the past few years), I was working my way through links about the above study when I came across this blog, whereby somebody mentions in a comment, offhand, snarkily, “secondary virginity”.

I’ve heard the term before, but as a connoisseur of the human capacity for denial of reality and vicarious self-loathing (it tastes like sweet, sweet, strawberries), I did what I normally do, and started trawling google for links to a little known but mildly irritating subculture.

Jackpot.

So, never fear, anyone who has had an unfortunate drunken fumble, or any Christian who has fallen out of favour of the grace of God due to a stray penis flying about the place (they do get everywhere, don’t they?) Your virginity can be assured, simply because you say so! Hell, you can go out an be debauched as you want, as many times as you want, as long as you’re suitably self-flagellating and contrite about the experience. After all, the last thing we would want you to do is enjoy sex. So get out there and fuck like hell, you miserable, sinful wretch.

I know, I know. I’m mocking people who’re just wanting to make a fresh start. Maybe they did think they made a mistake, or maybe they needed to show their new-found faith in some symbolic (if ostentatious) way, and it’s terrible I’m making fun of it and probably shows the deep-seated insecurities which cause me to deal so cynically with everything, as well as casting a withering light on the long, dark, bitter night that is my twisted excuse for a soul.

But we all knew that already, and I admit that, and at least I’m not pretending that suddenly, like I was in the playground, that I had my fingers crossed the whole time when I got laid so it suddenly doesn’t count any more. Is it just me who believes that there should be no “take-backsies” when it comes to fucking? Okay, so you made a mistake, you weren’t ready or you were drunk, or you didn’t mean for it to happen. Deal with it. Don’t pretend that suddenly your hymen has magically grown back or that you’ve never been involved in some penetrating discussions with a lady friend. Because, remember, every time you claim to have renewed your virginity, God sodomises a kitten. And Mr. Tickles will not get his back.

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4 Comments »

  1. whether or not it is a statistical impossibility that men and women report, on average, different numbers of sexual partners (Answer: Probably not, and it seems this is just another case of the press being sloppy when it comes to statistics

    It is impossible on average, if by average you mean arithmetical mean, in the absence massive out-of-population effects, given that the number of men and women in the population is roughly equal. And as Tracy Clark-Flory points out (see update), the raw data themselves are inconsistent.

    Comment by matt w — August 14, 2007 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  2. Ah, well, that’s the rub, isn’t it? Since, to quote the NYT article in question itself:

    “One survey, recently reported by the federal government, concluded that men had a median of seven female sex partners. Women had a median of four male sex partners. Another study, by British researchers, stated that men had 12.7 heterosexual partners in their lifetimes and women had 6.5.”

    So it seems to be the median, not the mean, that these researchers are focusing on, and that’s what was initially mentioned at Crooked Timber, if I remember correctly. However, Gale’s comments in the Salon piece are interesting as regards his estimate of the inconsistency of the data itself. It wasn’t a major focus of mine, anyway, just an interesting little statistical piece.

    Comment by freshlysqueezedcynic — August 14, 2007 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  3. it seems to be the median, not the mean, that these researchers are focusing on

    I imagine that the researchers themselves report both numbers; and the numbers reported in the British study are the means. Why Kolata reported it as she did is beyond me.

    Comment by matt w — August 14, 2007 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  4. Like I said, reporters aren’t actually that good when it comes to science reporting. Things get overlooked, or cut out because it makes a better story or better copy. I don’t blame them, it’s just the way the industry works.

    Comment by freshlysqueezedcynic — August 15, 2007 @ 5:14 pm | Reply


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