Sex By Numbers: Stranger Than Fiction

A weekly look at sex and culture, by the numbers.

When it comes to our sexual selves, we might as well learn to expect the unexpected. Never has that been more true than this week’s Sex By Numbers, in which Hugh Hefner is an outspoken feminist, a male worries that his gender has become irrelevant, and sea slugs display sex lives that are far more complicated than yours.

3+: Number of girlfriends maintained by the world’s most notorious octogenarian—Hugh Hefner—who this month penned an editorial in his magazine supporting, of all things, women’s rights and LGBT equality

8 Years: Amount of time that one couple has purposely avoided orgasms during sex. They are followers of the sexual discipline known as karezza (from the Italian word for “caress”), which encourages practitioners “to follow the sensation in [their] bodies, not the stimulation.”

5th: Century in which Talmudic scholars first pondered the ethical and religious implications of insemination sans sex, according to a strange NYT op-ed which frets over the obsolescence of men.

20 Minutes: Amount of time it takes for sea slugs to copulate, an exceedingly peculiar process—which includes a “vigorous precopulatory struggle”—that is detailed in a new paper in PLoS ONE.

85,000: Number of “forcible rapes” that occurred in 2010. The FBI says it will stop using that problematic term next year; we’re wondering what took them so long.

100: Number of orgasms experienced per day by a New Jersey woman, who suffers from Persistent Genital Arousal Syndrome. The rare condition is apparently completely unrelated to one’s sex drive.

$5: The cost of crowd-sourced porn on entrepreneur Cindy Gallup’s website, Make Love Not Porn. Her goal is to “make real world sex socially acceptable” and to “dispel some of the common ‘myths’ perpetuated by porn.”

2: The number of competing areas in our brain— “one part that wants to tell something and one part that doesn’t”—that can apparently make us sick when our sex lives are kept secret. One study found “tangible health benefits, both physical and mental” in people who revealed their sex addictions either verbally or in written form.

Image: cliff1066â„¢


Rosie Spinks

Rosie Spinks is a freelance journalist from California with a degree in Environmental Studies. Her work has been published in publications including Sierra magazine, GOOD magazine, the Ecologist, and the Guardian Environment Network. A passion for travel, running barefoot outdoors, and reconnecting people to what is good dominates most of her thoughts. You can follow her writing on Twitter and Tumblr.