10 Charts About Sex

April 19th, 2011 by Christian Rudder

This was one of the first infographics ever made:

Later remembered as "the map that made a nation cry", it depicts Napoleon's failed invasion of Russia in 1812. The wide tan swath shows his Grande Armée, almost half a million strong, marching East to Moscow; the black trickle shows the few who straggled back. It's an elegant fusion of geography, time, and temperature into a single statement of military disaster.

Of course, using modern tools of analysis, like circles and the color blue, we can get an even clearer picture of history:

It is our goal today to create graphics of similar concision and power, but about something more useful than war—sex.

All the data below, even the most personal stuff, has been gleaned from real user activity on OkCupid. Some of it our users have told us outright by answering match questions; some of it we've had to learn from observation.

Other than the unifying theme, sex, there's no big point or thesis to this post: just comparisons, correlations, and quirky trends.

Chart #1

We found this by crossing the match questions Do you like to exercise? and Is it difficult for you to have an orgasm?, and, as you can see, women who don't like working out report twice the orgasm problems of women who do.

Chart #2

Here, we took a single question—Is your ideal sex rough or gentle?—and scraped people's profile text for the words that most correlated to each answer. Here are word clouds for women and men in their 20s.

The text is basically Hot Topic versus, I dunno, Burberry. But beyond the words the interesting thing is how men's and women's preferences change with age:

This dataset only includes single people, of course, but I was still very surprised at how many old men like it rough. Looks like I'm going to have to rethink a cherished part of my worldview.

Chart #3

The odds shown in this chart, and the others like it later in the post, are odds "in favor"—in this case, odds in favor of being into giving oral sex. The higher a group's odds, the more into it they are.

Since so much sexual slang involves meat—"hot dog," "sausage," "burger," "beef injection," "another beef injection," and so on—I thought this would be a fine occasion to point out that there are plenty of veggie alternatives:

Vegetarian-Friendly Sex Slang
Peeling the banana.
Tossing the salad.
Squeezing the melons.
Zeroing in on a grown man's nuts and nutsack.
Putting Monsanto in yoursanto.
Ordering the split pea soup.
Sorry, that's got ham.

Cornholing others.

Charts #4 & #5

Frequent tweeters have shorter real-life relationships than everyone else, probably via some bit.ly hack. Unfortunately, we have no way to tell who's dumping who here; whether the twitterati are more annoying or just more flighty than everyone else. There is also this:

If someone tweets every day, it's 2-to-1 that they're #ingthemselves just as often. Like the "shorter relationships" thing, this is true across all age and gender groups.

Chart #6:

In the Bible, in between the part where Reuben kills a he-goat so he can dip some clothes in the blood of the he-goat and where Judah tries to give Tamar a goat but decides maybe she should be burned to death instead, God kills a man named Onan because Onan intentionally spills his seed on the ground.

(1) Thou shalt not whack off. (2) Mo goats mo problems.

Life lessons! From the Iron Age!

Charts #7 & #8

This bubble chart, plotting body type, sex drive, and self-confidence, is dynamic—you can use the slider at the bottom change it. As you can see as you move the control from left to right, a woman's sexuality peaks in her twenties, holds more or less steady for twenty years, and then falls to the floor. And while sex drive waxes and wanes, self-confidence steadily grows.

Remember, the women themselves select their body-descriptions; the bubbles show the size of each group. Though many of the words are just a shade of meaning apart, there are dramatic differences in the traits of the people who choose them. Go through the animation and compare full-figured to curvy or skinny to thin.

It's particularly interesting to isolate skinny—a deprecating way to say something generally considered positive (being thin)—and curvy—an empowering way to say something generally considered negative (being heavy). Here are those bubbles' complete paths across the graph:

Curvy women pass skinny ones in self-confidence at age 29 and never look back. They also consistently have the highest sex drive among the groups. Curvy, as a word, has the strongest sensual overtones of all our self-descriptions. So we're getting a little insight into the real-world implications of a label.

This is the "complete path" plot for men:

Things to notice: (1) almost no men choose curvy or full-figured as self-descriptions, so those words aren't plotted here; (2) men of all body types have roughly the same peak sex drive; (3) and the thing that matters most for guys is simply to not be overweight. The other four body types are clustered relatively together at most ages.

Chart #9

For this chart, we took our own data and mixed it with a little outside stuff: college tuitions from U.S. News & World Report.

Generally speaking, the more your parents are paying for your education, the more horny you are. If only Freud were still around to help us understand; instead we have psychology majors, those Adidas shower sandals, and darkness.

You can think of the dotted best-fit line as dividing the good sex-ed values (above the line) from the bad ones (below). The line also gives us a handy sliding scale: given a 36-week school year and the average partner, every $2,000 spent on your college tuition is an extra time you could be having sex that year.

Chart #10

The correlation between sex and money is robust for colleges, but it gets even stronger when extended to entire nations.

We were amazed at this result—money seems to be a more powerful influence on sex drive than culture or even religion.

You have, for example, Portugal, Oman, Slovenia, and Taiwan within a few pixels of each other on the right side of the graph, and Syria, Sri Lanka, and Guatemala almost stacked on the left, and all of them sit along the trend line.

Speaking of Guatemala, you should Facebook-like this article. The end.

298 Responses to “10 Charts About Sex”

  1. Jason K says:

    Striking and compelling evidence that the total lack of meat in a persons diet produces some form of deficiency or imbalance that will lead to cravings – cravings that apparently emerge in what should be unrelated activities other than that the same sensory organs come into contact with some form of mammal flesh..

    …but I’ve also heard vegetarians often have an overall better taste because being aware of ones diet makes one much less likely to eat the toxic crap they serve in malls, for instance, which unquestionably effects odor – hell just being in a mall food court for an hour can make you completely stink head to toe of mall grease and indoor building mold, as I discovered when taking my son to a Pokemon event that was unfortunately located in a mall food court. People hanging out with them, even if not vegetarian, generally change their habits too, so perhaps there is no difference at all in preference, but rather, the act itself is more enjoyable?

    Some medicines have effects too. Fenugreek makes pussy taste like pancake syrup, which is really awesome!

    Chances are its just meat cravings.

  2. BRANDY says:

    I found these charts quite interesting..however, I thought womens hormones peaked more in their 40′s…and the word curvy..well..I thought it meant if you have nice curves..like models do..I chose he word curvy because I am petite and I have nice curves with my figure..gosh never thought it could have meant…pleasantly plump with curves..lmao

  3. NJP says:

    @S30V

    I know right? And I thought I was the only one, as long as she’s clean down there I crave it. Lol, I can make her body lift up when I do it.

  4. Tbelcan says:

    great post Mr. Rudder!
    have you ever analysed the chanhes of behavious according to moon phases? i’ve been dreaming about this for a while.. prtobably also because I often feel a bit more “tense” during full moon. Do you see a peak of any sort?

    Also, I’m completely non-believing in astrology.. but I often think it would be easy to spot some trends on dating websites if any of it was true… e.g. are scorpios really more sexual than others?

    Would be great to get some reactions

  5. Arjun Pakrashi says:

    This is a good one, especially i like the chart #4

  6. Oscar says:

    This is brilliant!

    However I’m a bit confused by the veg/oral graph. The y axis has odds on it, so a higher bar corresponds to longer odds ie less likely. So vegetarians are less, rather than more, likely to enjoy giving oral sex?

  7. Jesus says:

    Really wish they had included data on athletic and fit body types in charts #7 and 8

  8. Toni says:

    Interesting, yet I fit in none of the groupings. I’m a Christian and prefer rough and gentel sex. I’m fullfigured/curvy and self confident and enjoy sex. ha It was intersting how out of the “ordinary” I supposedly am. =)

  9. Toni says:

    I would like a survey about enjoying recieving oral as a lady, a lot of the women I know DO NOT enjoy it (Including myself); however a lot of guys say the women they know do…whats the disconnect about????Hrmmm

    PS Men please DO NOT say it’s because we (I) havent had anyone good at it. Lets face it; I just don’t like it. THE END!

  10. vooom says:

    for chart 3, I’m not understanding the odds part–please explain, someone?

  11. j.brown.lawson says:

    WAAAAAH! I didn’t see a chart on positions!!! You could correlate with age, bet that would be fun.

    By golly, if we had more news like this to read the world would be a better place.
    Back to bed.

  12. Jetzy says:

    As u can see am really impressed with these.it awesome.

  13. Peter Smyth says:

    liking the fact that (as of my reply) 2,500 people have tweeted this even with the above correlations ;o)

    but a great use of all the data, well done

  14. god says:

    repent, all ya’ll perverts, the end is near.

    god

  15. Purple Wolfie says:

    I’m 52 and started fucking at 15. Before getting married at 20, I had partners from 16 to 27. Since getting divorced at 49, I’ve had partners from 21 to 71. Older men enjoy rough sex because they can take the time to experiment and build anticipation in themselves and their partners. Older men also sip brandy instead of guzzling beer. It’s about appreciation. Once they get inside me, they come just as quickly as the younger men, so it’s not a sensitivity issue.

  16. baconman says:

    Personally, while I agree with the sex/money stuff, I think it’s inverse in nature compared to the description here. Sex is probably the most prominent attention-grabbing marketing strategy, so it’s not a matter of a richer country having more sex because it’s richer; it’s because sex is played as a money-driving force, instead of money being played as a sex-driving force. But then, the more true one is, the more true the other naturally becomes.

  17. GoodBadGuy says:

    Maybe curvy chicks are fat and thus just hornier because guys tend to go for thinner girls.

  18. Experienced says:

    Sounds like “Truth” and “Fred” are speaking from a platform.
    There is no loss of sensitivity for circumcised men for men over 60, as I can attest.

  19. Lola says:

    “but I was still very surprised at how many old men like it rough”

    There’s no old men on the chart, it only goes to 60

  20. T says:

    Wow, to the people who said circumcision and women being clueless about lubrication causes older men to like rough sex:

    Do you have any backup to your claims that older men must enjoy rough sex because they’ve been circumcised? There’s a debate over whether circumcision really affects penis sensitivity in a meaningful way. And even if it did, why would that vary over time to become more desensitized? Men and women generally have a lot of variability in their genital sensitivity and sex preferences, for many reasons, so your conclusions about how it must be circumcision are just unsubstantiated assumptions.

    Also, you need to learn more about women if you’re a hetero male who thinks women don’t know anything about sex. What an old sexist view. Educate yourself!

  21. onwardsupwards says:

    The first graph does indeed show something. How selfish woman tend to be in bed, gets really old. Although I’d bet money that the number of woman who enjoy giving oral sex increases drastically with age, only seems to be an issue with younger woman in my experience. You older ladies rock.

  22. Chris says:

    Awesome post. (Yes… I realize that posts about awsomeness contribute nothing to the discussion, but it’s just this type of awsomeness that separates OKQ from the other guys.)

  23. L says:

    As I get older, I start to understand why men want rough sex! Gentle sex, all the time, consistently for 20-50 yrs must get boring. time for something new. I’m female, by the way, 34 yrs.

  24. Another curvy chic says:

    Interesting comments! Yes indeed…you did your homework OKC! I stated curvy as my body type…because I am rubenesque shaped….”Botticelli”! I do have breasts….not frigging mosquito bites! Anyway….fascinatIng findings….I agree with old guys like it rough due maybe to the ED issue! Makes perfect medical sense…maybe the prostate issue could be a factor! Who the heck knows? So much controversy , however!!!!!

  25. thixotropic says:

    As a quite thin woman I can tell you that my sex drive has definitely diminished as my weight has. My confidence is as good or better than ever, so physiology is playing the major role here IMO.

    These were interesting, but made me cringe a bit — the methodologies and conclusions were off to my mind — some more than others. For example, the one about colleges and sexual desire. People who are raised to go to pricy private colleges have generally greater family incomes, expectations, and privilege. And that sense of privilege *definitely* plays into how often one gets sex.

    So Princeton-bound guys tend to get laid more easily than anyone with a state or community college in their future, and that history of sexual experience plays directly into how many times a week they think they’d like to have sex. After all, if you ain’t getting any and never really have, how do you even *know*? 3x a week probably sounds like a helluva lot to them!

    NB: I did consult with guys of differing educational backgrounds before writing this.

  26. Megan says:

    S30V: when can we hang out?

  27. Noel West says:

    I love giving oral to a woman, my first thing I enjoy before cotius. Hours of it.

  28. Dan says:

    How do you measure self-confidence?

  29. AlmostHomeless says:

    Chart #6 commentary. Even though it has been interpreted for a couple hundred years the way you expressed, Onan was not killed for masturbating. The text shows he had sex with his sister-in-law. The problem is this: his brother died…he was given his sister-in-law to have sex with her so she could conceive…Onan did not want to be a sperm donor for his brother’s kid…so he had sex but pulled out before cumming…God was upset that he agreed to have sex but did not fulfill his side of the bargain…God killed him.

    The things we get screwed up about due to ignoring the text.

  30. Zanato says:

    What should you take away from this? Never date an omnivorous, overweight Jewish girl from Iowa or Algeria who prefers gentle sex and doesn’t exercise or use Twitter.

    Instead, seek out a curvy vegetarian girl from Sarah Lawrence College or Switzerland who exercises, uses Twitter, prefers rough sex, and considers herself agnostic.

    Those are my interpretations of the statistical results. :P

  31. Brian r. Sweeney says:

    Look me up on facebook man or respond on here… Okcupid staff yall crack me up! keep it up. yall are some cool ass dudes lmao!

  32. loado says:

    i want to say not every thing in that chart realy somebody is lies

  33. frizzy_twizzler says:

    “It’s particularly interesting to isolate skinny—a deprecating way to say something generally considered positive (being thin)—and curvy—an empowering way to say something generally considered negative (being heavy).”

    WEIRD. I didn’t know that ‘curvy’ meant ‘heavy’ – I know I would fit around the size of average, but since I have T&A (well, mostly T) and anything remotely formfitting shows my curves to the point where I get too many catcalls & stares on the street I thought it’d be more accurate to say my body is curvy.

    hmm

  34. ShaneC says:

    What happened to Ohio State? Miami of Ohio, and Ohio University are listed, but not OSU?

  35. brandnwmotrbike says:

    That oral sex chart is pretty visually misleading. If you plotted in terms of percentage points, you’d have veg. men and women close together near the top of the chart, at 9/10 and 7.5/10 (with non-veg men in between them), and non-veg women halfway down the chart at less than 6/10. This makes especially veg women look much less interested than they really are.

  36. Helene57 says:

    The Do you like to exercise? and Is it difficult for you to have an orgasm? correlation seems problematic, because the second question is too vague: it fails to distinguish between orgasm via intercourse versus orgasm via oral sex or masturbation/vibrator. There’s probably a big difference between the first and the second group of methods.

  37. M2026 says:

    It would be interesting to isolate chart 9 by geographic area, a slider that shows individual states or regions where moving between states is more common. It could show if local stereotypes are valid. I was comparing the schools in Florida, for instance. You could probably add other clusters to the slider as well (tech schools, lib arts, etc).

  38. Ben says:

    P `11 says:
    Alternate conclusion from Chart #9: Princeton students don’t need OKC to find partners.

    That’s a totally wrong conclusion. In general, people from the elite private schools utilize online dating more than other schools. This is likely due to choosing careers with long hours and little time for socialization. You’re welcome to google this if you doubt me, I went to a similar school and read a couple papers about it.

    Regardless, your implication that OKCupid is only for people that can’t pick up people in an alternative way is offensive and naive. Many users on here are good looking/successful and sick of meeting lameasses at bars.

    S30V, no one in the history of the world thinks saying “the ladies seem to enjoy it” is acceptable. Stop calling them “the ladies”. It’s just creepy.

  39. roger stallworth says:

    first off, you are all putting the pussy on a pedestal….. second what does cornholing mean????

  40. rob says:

    I didn’t know Sarah Lawrence College (the one where you seem to have the most sex) so I googled it. Tthey have a very nice slogan to it: “A Deeper Education”.

  41. Curvy in London says:

    Thanks for clarifying things, Jessica, you put it very well. Curvy women are more likely to be heavier than skinny women, but it doesn’t mean they’re overweight.

  42. Bryan says:

    C’mon Rudder, why don’t you want to publish comments calling you out on all of your anti-Christian diatribes that you don’t seem to be able to keep out of your *internet dating* related articles? Afraid your employers might take note?

    He is Risen! :)

  43. Dan says:

    I think men are conditioned to believe that their sexual moves are rough if their women partners are continually going “ouch!” in an effort to dissuade the activity, lol.

  44. su says:

    I think Ye are sick in the head as for u
    Jessica u give women a bad name

  45. WhoNeedsForwards says:

    In regards to Chart #9:

    I had a full ride in college. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get laid. lol

  46. MJH says:

    I don’t think you had to color-code chart #7 with “overweight” being red and “skinny” being green. It reinforces a concept that skinnier = better.

    Also — I’d love to see the oral sex graph broken down by sexual orientation.

  47. A. Wiseguy says:

    In general I have enjoyed giving oral sex for years and it has little to do with my eating habits and more to do with the fact that I love the moments before a woman’s orgasm where she is losing control and then feeling her release. Now that’s a good time.

  48. Caligirl says:

    Unbelievable! I cant imagine that out of everyone Jewish women lie about masturbating!
    Im breaking this right now–> Im jewish and so are most of my girlfriends and we have all tried it and some of us do it!!

  49. Asher says:

    That last graph doesn’t work. In poor countries people are still looking for casual sex, they just cant say they are due to cultural reasons. In public they have to behave like saints. OKC included.

  50. ryan says:

    So men are threefold more into giving oral sex than women? That seems like groundbreaking results to me.