5 Things We Learned About Sex This Week

Maybe size does matter, at least when it comes to fingers.

Last week brought some surprising findings about the thing on everyone’s mind: sex! (See? You knew what I was talking about.) Learn all about the link between emojis and sex, education and porn, storms and porn, the Super Bowl and porn and… finger length and fidelity.

1. More emojis, more sex :p. The online dating site Match.com has released its fifth annual Singles in America survey. The survey, which included 5,675 singles 18 and older, was conducted by Helen Fisher, Match.com’s chief scientific advisor and a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute. The study found that the more emojis people used, the more sex they had ;). Or the more sex they had, the more emojis they used.

Therein lies the rub. Before looking at the specific data, it’s important to note that while there is a sex-emoji correlation, it’s not necessarily causal. But 54% of “emoji users” had sex in 2014 while only 31% of non-emoji users had sex during the same time period.

Emoji users also go on more dates and want to get married more than their non-emoji-using counterparts. Fisher says, “Sixty-two percent of emoji users want to get married compared to 30% of people who never used an emoji.”

Why this bizarre correlation? Forty-nine percent of men surveyed and 53% of women liked emojis because, “they show personality.” Thirty-seven percent of the men and 36% of the women appreciated that “they make it easier to express feelings.” And emojis are “more convenient,” according to 21% of the men and 18% of the women.

The three most-used emojis are the kiss, the wink and the smiley face. Among men, the most frequently used are the kiss and the heart eyes, while among women it’s the smiley face and the lips.

2. Porn-ucation: You know how the Brits sound smarter? Well, it turns out they look smarter when they watch porn. Because, it turns out, they may be doing it for educational reasons. The National Union of Students in the UK surveyed 2,500 university students and found that 60% of them turned to porn to find out more about sex, with 40% claiming that watching porn actually helped them learn about sex. The students aren’t delusional, since 75% of the ones in the survey stated that porn created unrealistic expectations. But they have found the UK’s Sex and Relationship Education to be lacking. Two thirds of the students surveyed said consent was never covered in their classes, less than half had learned anything about relationships, and not even a fifth had discussed LGBT issues.

3. The perfect blizzard activity and Super Bowl chaser.  While some Brits may have educational aspirations behind their porn viewing, we in the United States like to watch to come down from our drunken Super Bowl stupor or pass the time when it’s cold and snowy. I’m using the term “we” loosely  since I’ve never watched… the Super Bowl. (True story.) Data from PornHub Insights, the more wholesome branch of the site Porn Hub, reveals that porn viewing on Porn Hub and Youporn dropped by 28% between 8 and 9pm on Sunday.  People were quick to make up for lost time, however, and average porn watching went up by 9% after the game.

Porn Hub also collected data on how people spent the blizzard Juno. The Northeast found solace in porn, watching an average of 20% more than usual. But guess which state really got it up in terms of porn use? New Jersey, where the porn consumption during Juno spiked by 26%.

4. Men and women cheat! Most animals are either totally monogamous or totally polygamous. Walruses, chimps and baboons, for instance, are swingers, so to speak, as anyone who’s ever tried to date one knows all too well.  Penguins and marmosets, however, are committed for life. But we human beings can go either way, so to speak.

Rafael Wlodarski, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford in England and his colleagues asked 585 North Americans and British respondents between the ages of 18 and 63 to fill out an online questionnaire on sexual habits and beliefs, with questions like, “With how many different partners have you had sexual intercourse on one and only one occasion?”

According to Wlodarski, “We observed what appears to be a cluster of males and a cluster of females who are more inclined to ‘stay,’ with a separate cluster of males and females being more inclined to ‘stray’ when it comes to sexual relationships…. This research suggests that there may be two distinct types of individuals within each sex pursuing different mating strategies. Rather than it being a whole gamut of mating strategies, there seems to be two potential phenotypes within males and within females.”

But the questionnaire isn’t the only evidence to support this claim. Which brings us to….

5. Maybe size does matter, at least when it comes to fingers. The study also collected photocopies of people’s right hands to look at the length of their index and ring fingers, specifically the 2D:4D ratio, or the ratio between the lengths of the index and ring finger. Previous studies have shown that the longer someone’s ring finger is in relation to the index finger, the more testosterone they were exposed to in the womb. Typically, higher levels of testosterone lead to higher rates of promiscuity. Combining the images and the hand measurements, the authors determined that 57% of men and 47% of women were more likely to be promiscuous, while 43% of men and 53% of women were more penguinesque, or predisposed to commit.

Of course, this isn’t a genetic life or sex sentence, if you will. People with relatively shorter ring fingers can be rock-solid faithful partners. And someone with a really long pointer finger could break your heart into a million little pieces by cheating on you with a million people of various sizes.

As study co-author Robin Dunbar says, “It is important to note that these differences are very subtle, and are only visible when we look at large groups of people: we cannot really predict who is going to be more or less faithful… Human behavior is influenced by many factors, such as the environment and life experience, and what happens in the womb might only have a modest effect on something as complex as sexual relationships.”

I’ll still be looking at people’s hands.

Originally posted on Alternet

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