What Google Tells Us About Our Sex Lives. A Lot.

It’s a joke that men brag about how much sex they have. Well, according to a recent New York Times piece by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, it seems that it’s not just men who are lying about their frequency. It’s everybody.

Heterosexual men 18 and over say that they average 63 sex acts per year, using a condom in 23 percent of them. This adds up to more than 1.6 billion heterosexual condom uses per year.

Heterosexual women say they average 55 sex acts per year, using a condom in 16 percent of them. This adds up to about 1.1 billion heterosexual condom uses per year.

Who is telling the truth, men or women?

Neither. According to Nielsen, fewer than 600 million condoms are sold every year.

Seems that it’s not just men who are lying about their sexual frequency. It’s everybody.

That’s a pretty big lie. But not as big as the lie that married people tell about their own sex lives. Get this:

“On average, married men under 65 tell surveys they have sex once a week. Only 1 percent say they have gone the past year without sex…In fact, “the data suggest that Americans manage to have sex about 30 times per year — or once every 12 days.”

I am always fascinated by people who lie, even in small ways. Back in my sophomore year of college, I thought I was the last guy to lose his virginity. In fact, I was the first one: my four closest friends all said they did it in high school, but were afraid to admit the truth. As much as I want to look good publicly, I don’t have that gene. It’s just much more comfortable for me to tell the truth and assume that people can deal with it. The longer I’m on this earth, the more I do this job, the more I realize that people can’t even separate themselves from their lies. They actually believe them. That’s why data from Google or OkCupid about how people contradict themselves is so endlessly fascinating.

Who cares more about penis size, men or women? You got it. Men search about penises 170X more than women do.

Who cares more about breast size? You got it. More than 7 million women in the U.S. do searches looking into breast implants.

“Dan Ariely, a psychologist at Duke, offers a reason for caution in interpreting this data. While most data sources underestimate sexual thoughts, he suspects that Google may overestimate them. As Professor Ariely put it, “Google is a reflection of what people don’t know and need extra information about.” If you want to know how to make omelets, you may just ask a relative. You are less likely to ask your relatives about penis enlargement.”

He may be right. But the author makes an excellent closing point when he suggests that the vast number of searches should be heartening, in that we all share common insecurities.

“Many of our deepest fears about how our sexual partners perceive us are unjustified. Alone, at their computers, with no incentive to lie, partners reveal themselves to be fairly nonsuperficial and forgiving. In fact, we are all so busy judging our own bodies that there is little energy left over to judge other people’s.”

Amen. And I’m a guy who has sex once a week (really!) and doesn’t care if you judge me.

So, what was the last sexual thing that YOU Googled? You’re anonymous, so your honesty is greatly appreciated.

Join our conversation (18 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 1
    Ames

    Last sexy things I googled were: Do men think women are over the hill at 35 and why do they marry if they think women “expire.” And Name of position with women on back and man on side behind her. Hee hee.

    1. 1.1
      T

      I just did that position with my bf yday 😉😉😉

  2. 2
    J

    Male Female, Female threesomes. I am female. The fantasy turns me on. Just not sure if it should stay a fantasy or not. Either way, it’s a lot of fun to talk to my boyfriend about. Sure glad this is anonymous 🙂

  3. 3
    Chaka

    Most recent search was the what the side effects of a particular prescription drug for a pinched nerve had on a man’s ability to orgasm.

  4. 4
    Henriette

    An ex-boyfriend emailed me to say that his current girlfriend thinks he’s a porn addict.  So, my most recent “sex-related Google search” was about the symptoms of porn addiction, to see if I agreed with her 🙂

  5. 5
    Rebecca

    Three thoughts:
    (1) How did we establish that Americans have sex about once every 12 days?  That’s about my frequency, but my boyfriend lives in another state and we both thought our every-two-weeks visits amounted to “not very often.”  
    (2) I confess to being shallow enough that I haven’t dated some men because I simply wasn’t attracted to them, but my boyfriend doesn’t need to worry that I’m judging HIM harshly: He wouldn’t be my boyfriend if I didn’t think he was hot.  I don’t stress about my not-exactly-supermodel appearance precisely because I assume that if I didn’t turn him on, he’d find someone who did.
    (3) No clue what my last sex-related Google search was.  Ever since signing up for an online dating site, I get more than enough of the internet’s wisdom on sex just showing up in my email.

  6. 6
    Elizabeth

    Last sex related thing I googled is “Why do so many married men hit on me?” and “Why do so many married men try to sleep with me?”

    I was at a wedding this weekend, and it really just reached a fever pitch.  

    1. 6.1
      Peter 51

      Because most wives forget they have a husband (at least), particularly after the children arrive.

      1. 6.1.1
        Anna

        so, instead of sitting down and communicating about what’s wrong and how they feel, they think cheating on their wives with the blonde at the bar is going to fix it… That’s a very healthy approach, no doubt about it. Then people wonder why half of marriages end in a divorce or why most women these days want to get married less than men do. 

        So your wife goes through nine horrible months of discomfort, pain, being swollen and nauseous and then hours and hours of excruciating labor pain and then is the one who has to breastfeed, change diapers, stay awake all night to carefor the baby, but you think the right way to handle it is to be a man-child, “Why doesn’t she care about meee? I want attention too!” and act like your competing with your baby by being a baby instead of being helpful, supportive and mature enough to understand the baby comes first no matter what? I guess than, by the same logic, if you had to be in the hospital with pain, after an accident or something It would ok for your gf/wife to go to bars and hook up with random guys because you can’t give her what she wants.

        1. Guesswho

          Anna’s comment has the opposite effect of what she’d like it to.

          You said the man is whining “I want attention too!” by sleeping around. In reality, the man doesn’t say anything because he doesn’t want to sound like he’s like. He sleeps around when his wife quits giving a damn about him, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t taking care of the kids.

          If anything, your comment is encourages more of the behaviour. Men are already viewed negatively for talking about their feelings; mocking just encourages men to keep doing it.

        2. TJ

          The problem is Anna, once you have a child, it can’t be that you never matter again. Ive come to realize in my relationship that I never did matter, and for sure once a child came, I might as well have dropped off the paycheck and slept in a tent for the rest of my life.

          (Though in actuality, I did wake up and bottle feed my child at night, it’s quite enjoyable, lost sleep aside, changed diapers and made dinner ).

        3. Chad

          Man-hater alert lol. Extremely biased “best case” scenario for the woman.. What Peter was referring to was something absolutely every married friend of mine has noticed as well. Once you have a kid stuff changes. That’s ok… Although if you go from being bf and gf having sex several times a week then to marriage where maybe it’s once a week.. Followed by maybe once a month for what ever reason.. I’m not saying it’s ok to cheat but a person needs/ craves what they need and crave.. If you satisfy their needs for so long then you suddenly stop and get all I’m the victim here! I mean if the tables where turned and let’s say the man was financially supporting you, therefore giving you means to access what you crave/ need. Then he starts to ween off that followed by even less assistance in helping you achieve what you feel like you need? Doesn’t that sound like reason for women to group and and “you should leave him, your better than that”

          just another example of something women “should” get away with in the eyes of society yet absolutely taboo for a man to do..

      2. 6.1.2
        woah woah

        Well as the poets of old have sung,
        once ripped what was sown you art done with the hung!

  7. 7
    Peter 51

    Erectile dysfunction which is not a big deal if I manage my sleep, stress and blood sugar in that order but I thought, now the persistent ads have disappeared, that I should look it up. I find that a heavy gym or sprinting session kills things for two days but by the third day I can carry out very vigorous activity (I think its testosterone doing its stuff). At 63 it helps to manage these things.

  8. 8
    alex

    The last sexual thing I Googled was about STD’s.  I hooked up with a friend of 30 years after our mutual friend’s funeral and had to take antibiotics for a week as a result!!…he claims condoms ‘hurt’ him and never wears them…like an idiot, I trusted him….plus, he thinks he has to take the blue pill and it made it him so hard sex actually hurt and I didn’t look forward to it.  I told him I felt as if we went from zero to sixty and prefer to slow way down and explore each other as friends to develop a strong foundation. Unfortunately, he’s not evolved enough to be able to remain friends if there is not sex involved and the fake, “sweetie”, “darling”, “fate has brought us together” crap turned instantly into a cold, bitter person, not willing to listen.

    Before him, I had sworn off men and had not slept with anyone for a year and a half because I had a 2-3 yr highly sexed LTR with a guy who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and it left me pretty much emotionally destroyed….  The sex was the best ever, and 2-3 times per day, but he couldn’t be faithful if it were to save his life.  I still think of him every day and hate myself for doing it, therefore I do not actively date anymore because I figure I’m not ready for a relationship, but I really miss the hot sex!!!  

    I’m concerned about the “Red Pill Society”….These men seem to really dislike women and the trend is to claim that men are ‘the victims’ of women who just want to use them.   Hmm…confusing for me because the men (45-60) where I live only want to date a 30 year old, size 2 with a boob job to show off in front of their peers….It’s obvious both parties are out to use each other, so where does the madness end?  Sometimes I think the single men who look at internet porn and frequent strip clubs are safer by way of no miscommunication or unspoken expectations and the women who are prostitutes make it a business arrangement so they don’t get their hearts broken by lies, etc.  

    It’s interesting to watch how the dynamics are changing between the sexes…Evan does a great job keeping the perspective in focus!! 

    1. 8.1
      woah woah

      “I still think of him every day and hate myself for doing it” ? 

      “highly sexed LTR”
      “The sex was the best ever”
      “but I really miss the hot sex!!!”  
      “I still think of him every day”

      I, for one, doth approve 🙂

  9. 9
    woah woah

    I just clicked on the latest article to pick a bone or two with thislittle intro text here:

    ““Men look for sex and find love.” If you disagree, you still don’t understand how sex is the primary driver for men. Essentially, men fall for you during the process of pursuing sex with you. Which means that if you have sex before you get into a relationship with him, you’re taking a predictably high risk that things aren’t going to work out. Click below to understand how men think about sex; you will be forever empowered.”

    1) Remember: THIS IS THE SEX SECTION. Not “sex and dovey love”, but just SEX. For some reason, while addressing a female audience about sex, the automatic assumption is that those women must be looking for LOVE – that’s just the ol’ American Pie stereotype, and one quite popular among radfem anti-pr0ners like Gail Dines. No one in their right mind really believes in that, though I realize that the views on this site aren’t necessarily representative 🙂

    2) No; bug off. Men fall in love all the time before the thought of sex even occurs to them – that “wholesome romantic love” instinct never disappears or gives way to The Sex Pursuit (lol), on the contrary it only ever increases and intensifies.
    Men being completely smitten with a woman after a hawt night of passion is also known to happen – got several stories from IRL and keep reading about it online as well.

    But hey, keep perpetuating the “sexual gatekeeper” archetype against all reason, why not really?
    This guy is an ideologue (sexologue :p), he sees the world through a framework painted on his kewl guru shades and his “did you know that” are only some kind of eye-opener novelty if that’s how you refer to tired dead horse tropes we’ve heard a hundred times before.

    Hey, I’ve been out there man, and you know what I’ve found on my travels? Get ready… men are horny, women are romantic! Much wow. 

    By the way, I googled “do her tender hands press against his strong chest while her legs are grinding back and forth against his muscular thighs, her eyes glowing with lustful desire and sweat running down her ripe, imperious body?” recently, what does that say about my sexuality? Your wise, reality-based input is greatly appreciated.

  10. 10
    woah woah

    “A man who wants to be with you will make an effort. A man who doesn’t make an effort doesn’t want to be with you.”
    The Confusius of dating advice, eh? I think I see myself coming back to this down-to-earth tell-it-like-it-is no-nonsense resource – not the woolly, cliche-spouting horse found elsewhere, but some real talk for change you know?
    You have… *tears up*… changed my life

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