Jamie Stroud and Chelsea Stroud
Table of contents
Some of this data comes from 2008 and some of it comes from 2013. The data was acquired differently based on the year. Chelsea gathered some of the 2008 data, I gathered the 2013 data alone. okcupid.com is a popular dating site and they occasionally provides datasets to researchers. I was able to get a hold of a 2008 dataset from OKCupid. The dataset provides a randomized archive of their questions, answers, and users, but with anonymized code. By copying the code for a particular question, it makes it very fast to find users' answers for that particular question. It was then possible to search the user's code to find details about his gender, sexual orientation, etcetera. Considering that the gender ratio of users is about 1:1, it was relatively fast to find gender differences for a particular question. However, the dataset wasn't customized to search for answers based on a user's sexual orientation, which made it implausible to gather answers based on sexual orientation that way.
The other option to gather answers based on sexual orientation was to search the site itself. However, this was problematic for several reasons. You have to set up a profile to see other people's profile. Not only that, you have to answer a particular question yourself in order to see the answers of that particular question from other people. This creates somewhat of a double-bind, for the system is set-up so that the answers you give on data will influence the results of searches. For example, if you give a "Yes" answer on a question, you'll be more likely to get other people who give a "Yes" answer on that question as well, rather than just random results. If you pay for a subscription to the site, you get more advanced search options, one of them being a "Random" search. I tried that, but after several tests, I came to find that the "Random" search option isn't truly random, the results were still being skewed by my answers. In further research, I also found that viewing profiles itself can skew the results. For example, if you consistently view white females, you'll get more white females in search results. Fortunately, I found a loophole.
I created a blank profile, meaning I made no edits to my profile, nor did I answer any questions. I would search for matches based on a particular gender and sexual orientation (straight male, bisexual male, gay male, straight female, bisexual female, or gay female), then I would copy their profile (without clicking on it/viewing it!) and paste it into Notepad. I would collect hundreds at a time for each particular gender and sexual orientation combination. (I also organized the list and checked for duplicates and removed any that I found.) Because I had no questions answered and because I hadn't clicked on any profiles, the search could do little to nothing to skew the results. I then had a separate profile created that had the particular questions I was looking for answered. I would then copy the profiles from Notepad and view them with this separate profile. Not all profiles answered the questions I was looking for. It was simply scrolling through thousands of copied and pasted profiles and finding the answers I wanted from that point.
A similar amount of males and females would prefer a 30-minute orgasm over a lifetime supply of their favorite snack food. Perhaps this suggests males and females experience their orgasms with similar intensities.
Females are significantly more likely than males to have extreme difficulty or an inability to orgasm than males, both during sex and on their own. (Stroud, 2014c) One might think females would therefore be less caring if their partner can't orgasm, for it might even seem hypocritical to care. However, that doesn't appear to be the case, for this OKCupid data shows that a similar amount of males and females would be bothered if they couldn't help their partner achieve orgasm.
Females are significantly more likely than males to orgasm from oral sex or masturbation compared to intercourse or sheer force of will, while males are significantly more likely than females to orgasm from intercourse compared to oral sex, masturbation, or sheer force of will. This makes sense from a physiological perspective since intercourse (as in penile-vaginal sex) generally doesn't directly stimulate the clitoris.
Females vary significantly more than males in regards to both having a partner with a greater sex drive and having a partner with a lower sex drive. Perhaps it depends a lot more on the particular relationship for females than for males. This is inline with the research of Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard (1953, pp. 510-564).
"The range of variation in the female far exceeds the range of variation in the male." (Kinsey et al., 1953, pp. 537-538)
A similar amount of males and females like to be friends with someone before starting a romantic relationship with that person. This is consistent with much of the 2013 data as well. Memes in society suggest that males are only interested in sex, and while data does support that males generally want/have more sex than females (Stroud, 2014a; Terman, 1938, p. 290), apparently most males treat sex with similar regard as most females when it comes to relationships.
Females in general are more likely than males to have difficulty orgasming. This is inline with my meta-analysis. (Stroud, 2014c) Of females, heterosexuals are significantly more likely to have difficulty orgasming than bisexuals and homosexuals. One reason for that could be due to the physiological mechanics of sex making orgasming more difficult with penile-vaginal sex, another possible reason is that females would generally know how to pleasure another female better than a male would, yet another possibility is that bisexual females are generally hornier than other females (and perhaps males too, as evidenced elsewhere in this article's data) (Petersen et al., 1983, May, p. 215) which might make orgasming easier for them. Of males, bisexuals and homosexuals are significantly more likely to have difficulty orgasming than heterosexuals. One reason for that could be due to the physiological mechanics of sex making orgasming more difficult for male-on-male sex in certain circumstances, for example, if one was strictly bottoming (engulfing/receiving in penile-anal sex).
Bisexual females are the most likely of all genders and sexual orientations to only be able to go a day or less without sexual release. Even if we open up the criteria to also include those that can handle more than a day but less than a week without sexual release, heterosexual males are the most likely of all genders and sexual orientations to only be able to go that long, but bisexual females still come in second.
All genders and sexual orientations masturbate more frequently than most other research studies show. (Stroud, 2014b) Perhaps internet dating site users are generally hornier or perhaps just more likely to masturbate than the norms. Bisexual males are the most likely to masturbate once a day or more with homosexual males coming in second. This is fascinating because homosexual males (and by extension bisexual males) generally get more sex than heterosexual males (Stroud, 2014a) so one might think they'd be less inclined to masturbate and more inclined to have sex in place of masturbation. However, while some data shows that people are more likely to cease or decrease masturbation after getting regular sex, there are also other studies that show that people are more likely to masturbate even more frequently once they're getting steady sex. (Stroud, 2014b) It might very well depend on the context of the sex. If it's in the context of a long-term partner that you live with (e.g. marriage partner, cohabiting partner), people might be more inclined to have more sex and less masturbation. If it's in the context of short-term casual sex with strangers, people might be especially prone to sexual arousal after sex with someone new and since that person would likely be gone, they'd then be likely to turn to masturbation. Since homosexual males and bisexual males (and this study suggests bisexual females too) have a far high amount of casual sex with strangers than heterosexual males, heterosexual females, and homosexual females (Stroud, 2014a), this could explain their higher masturbation frequency.
The most popular desired date amount before sex is 3-5 for all genders and sexual orientations. However, heterosexual females are the least likely of all genders and sexual orientations to desire sex by 1-2 dates, whereas bisexual females are the most likely of all genders and sexual orientations (with bisexual males a close second) to desire sex by 1-2 dates. One possible reason bisexuals desire less dates before getting to sex might be since they hypothetically have more sexual options and so perhaps they have more people they want to "try out" and don't feel they have enough time for them all. Another possibility, specifically in regards to bisexual females, is that they're generally hornier than other females (and perhaps males too, as evidenced elsewhere in this article's data). (Petersen et al., 1983, May, p. 215)
The most popular desired frequency of sex with one's significant other is every other day for all genders and sexual orientations. Homosexual males are the least likely of all genders and sexual orientations to desire sex with their significant other every day, whereas heterosexual males are the most likely of all genders and sexual orientations (with bisexual females a close second) to desire sex with their significant other every day. Keep in mind that homosexual males are much more likely than heterosexual males and females of any sexual orientation to have extrarelational sex (Stroud, 2014a) which could explain their lower rates of wanting frequent sex from a significant other. They're still likely to get frequent sex, but from a greater variety of sources.
For both genders, those that desire sex quickly (after a smaller number of dates rather than a higher number of dates) correlates positively and consistently with those that desire sex frequently. This suggests that those with a high sex drive generally have a difficult time waiting a long time before getting to have sex.
The biggest mystery is why bisexual females have such a higher sex drive than heterosexual females and homosexual females in all areas, and even males in general in some areas. Bisexual female profiles are the most common catfishers. (Rudder, 2014, p. 185) This might seem like it could skew the results. However, OKCupid does an efficient job at finding and removing catfishers. (Rudder, 2014, p. 185) Furthermore, I had saved all profiles I gathered data from and then double-checked 100 bisexual female profiles and 100 straight male profiles roughly 1 year later. 58 of the bisexual female profiles still existed compared to 59 of the straight male profiles. It doesn't seem likely that fake profiles have skewed the statistics of bisexual females anymore than they would have for other gender and sexual orientation profiles.
If it's due to early childhood or pubertal experiences of some kind, it's a wonder what those experiences might be and why they don't affect females of other sexual orientations similarly. There's some evidence that prenatal hormones could play a role. Females with XX/CAH, meaning they were exposed to high amounts of androgens prenatally, are significantly more likely to end up homosexual or bisexual than the norms. (Money, 1997, p. 68) However, if having a higher sex drive is due to prenatal hormones masculinizing one's brain, you'd think homosexual females would be affected similarly but that doesn't appear to be the case. On that point, consider that having a masculinized brain might affect the cell surface receptor density/sensitivity of sex drive regions in the brain but it doesn't necessarily affect the androgen levels in one's body, meaning that homosexual females in general might have a brain that could be triggered to be horny by androgens very easily, but if their body naturally doesn't provide high levels of androgens, then it's essentially not put to use.
With this in mind, there's another biological explanation the could account for both bisexuality in females and a higher sex drive in those very females. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine disorders in females (affecting roughly 5-10% of the population), it results in excess levels of androgens (at least for a normal female's body) to be produced, and it usually first shows symptoms around the time of puberty. Consider that there's possibly many additional females that have symptoms of PCOS (or otherwise produce higher than normal androgens at puberty), strong enough to affect the sex drive but weak enough that it's never diagnosed. This syndrome alone can account for having a higher sex drive, but the other consideration is that it often occurs during puberty which is thought to be a potential critical period in terms of sexual orientation imprinting. A female's sexuality might've been inclined to imprint toward males already by this point. Additionally, this sudden rise in androgens at the time of puberty could incline a female toward certain gender-nonconforming traits (e.g. activity level), thus now making her feel more similar to males and less similar to females than before. This newfound anxiety, though likely mild, could then imprint her sexuality to include females due to the "stress sculpts sexuality" principle. This could account for both bisexuality and a higher sex drive.
These are just some considerations. There's still a lot of unknowns and a lot left to discover.
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