Tyler Cowen asks: What variable best predicts your number of sex partners? My answer, which I stand by, was that it’s the same variable that best predicts your number of tennis partners, your number of checkers partners, and your number of visits to Disneyland — namely preferences. But Jason Malloy of Gene Expression steps in with something a little more empirically verifiable. Drawing on data from the respected General Social Survey, he’s correlated number of partners with everything from patriotism to empathy to “ever been punched” (all self-reported), and has invited me to share his results with you. Number of sex partners (also self-reported) is defined as number of partners since your 18th birthday. Jason’s calculations are restricted to heterosexual couplings. A negative number means that that a high response to the variable predicts fewer sex partners and a positive number means that a high response predicts more.
The most promiscuous men are those who have paid for sex, been threatened with a gun, support abortion rights and know people with AIDS. The least promiscuous are those who spend time at church and report high satisfaction from family life. The most promiscuous women are those who have been punched, believe homosexuality is not wrong, and spend time in bars. The least promiscuous women are those who are patriotic and spend time in church. Here are the details. You tell me what you make of them.
(The second of these lists was edited, 10:20AM EST, to correct transcription errors mentioned by Jason in comments)