25 Quite Unexpected Facts About Sex

The figures of fornication and the stats of shagging.

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“A round of applause, please,” says David Spiegelhalter, author of Sex by Numbers, who brought BuzzFeed's attention to these numbers. “And 26% said they had tried and failed.” He adds as a note of caution that "The Kinsey data were collected in the 1940s, and are not very reliable."


Based on the figures from the British sex survey Natsal 3, only one act of heterosexual intercourse in 1,000 will end up with the woman getting pregnant. That's mainly because of contraception, of course.


That's the rate of “parental discrepancy”, according to research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Sometimes this figure is given as 30%, but Spiegelhalter says: "This an urban myth. That's the rate in paternity testing services, and those are hardly a random sample of children.”


According to Natsal 2, 12% of people report having two or more sexual partners at the same time. Spiegelhalter adds that there are claims that 70% of US women who’ve been married for more than five years are having affairs, but that stat, which comes from the feminist campaigner Shere Hite in the 1970s, “is highly unreliable: it was based on 3,000 responses out of 100,000 distributed questionnaires”.


According to Natsal 2. It means that they think either “one of us was more willing than the other”, “I wish I had waited longer”, “the main reason was peer pressure or because I was drunk or had taken drugs”, or “I did not use reliable contraception”.


According to research published in PLOS One. That’s the energy contained in a very small glass of wine, a chocolate biscuit, or a bag of Wotsits. “But this went from 13 to 306 in men, and 12 to 164 in women, showing a range from extreme mellowness to athletic exuberance,” says Spiegelhalter.

David Speigelhalter's Sex by Numbers: What Statistics Can Tell Us About Sexual Behaviour is published today.