Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Education and sexual frequency

Reader FeministX suggested that I take a look at the frequency of sex among white married couples by education. Here are the means for the past 30 days (N = 852):

Mean frequency of sexual intercourse in past 30 days

No degree 16.27*

GED 12.00*
High school 8.08*
AA 9.14*
BA 6.30
MA 5.97
PhD 5.62

Those with less than a BA have significantly more sex than couples with 4 or more years of education. At the extremes, married whites with no degree have three times as much sex as PhDs. Educated folks prefer the bookie to the nookie.


  1. Sgt. Joe Friday8:41 AM

    Maybe it's nothing more complicated than educated people are less likely to have free time on their hands than their less educated counterparts.

  2. Anonymous10:21 AM

    I think the most parsimonious explanation is that intelligence is negatively correlated with libido. See Jason Malloy's post on intercourse and intelligence on GNXP.


  3. Maybe its that less educated couples tend to be younger. Not everyone graduates from college at 22 and gets their masters at 24. Education probably rises all the way through the mid 30's.

  4. Anonymous11:58 AM

    As a teacher, I definitely witness the brawns vs brains tradeoff everyday. It's real.

    I would love to see dog ownership type by education level.

  5. Dahlia12:38 PM

    Jason Malloy is one of the best writers on sex and gender.

    I'm not that surprised by the findings, but I believe that a few, but not most, quant/nerd guys are perplexed because they are intelligent and yet can't relate. My nascent theory is that extreme masculinity expressed in some traits, namely being less empathetic and more objectifying, also happen to be prole traits. The combination of these say, less ennobling traits, with a high IQ is a huge social handicap.

    Tom Wolfe wrote the preface to one of my favorite books, "Buttons", written by the owners of "Tender Buttons" in NYC. He talked of his joy and delight in visiting the store and seeing these miniature masterpieces.
    I don't think Tom Wolfe would be surprised that intelligent people don't do anal.



    There are exceptions that prove the rule about frequency at least:

  6. Deckin6:03 PM

    I think the commenters (and Jason Malloy) are off the trail on the causal pathway involved here. I submit it isn't IQ, as some latent capacity, that inhibits libido or sexual activity. It's thinking or cognitively demanding tasks that do the causal work. IQ mediates that pathway because people with low IQ have difficulty with, and hence avoid, cognitively demanding tasks.

    My evidence is anecdotal, including my own case. Between undergrad and grad school I worked in a very cognitively un-demanding job which was, nevertheless (and not uncoincidentally) suffused with super attractive young women. My libido, and indeed my amorous success rate, went off the charts. However, as soon as I got serious about GRE prep work and grad school applications, my libido tanked, and it's really never come back. I was still at the same job for a couple of months, so opportunity was controlled for. The only thing that changed is that I had to think, hard, for long periods of time and that was the most effective antiaphrodisiac I've ever experienced.

    I guarantee all readers out there can verify this in their own experience. There's something about thinking that just inhibits sexual desire. Perhaps neuroscientists might want to work on this and the pathways involved; surely research well worth funding.

  7. Anonymous7:17 PM

    "There's something about thinking that just inhibits sexual desire."

    Maybe it's just that energy is, if not in the short term finite, at least limited.

  8. Anonymous7:19 PM

    "I don't think Tom Wolfe would be surprised that intelligent people don't do anal."

    What about intelligent gay men, as opposed to, say, gay men of ave. g?

  9. Anonymous7:30 PM

    Age-at-marriage goes up sharply with level of education, and frequency-of-sex declines sharply with age.

    Which means these numbers are absolutely worthless without controlling for age in the sample.

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  11. Anonymous3:48 AM

    "There's something about thinking that just inhibits sexual desire."

    Maybe it's just that energy is, if not in the short term finite, at least limited.


  12. Much of this difference might be accounted for by who boasts about sex the most.

  13. Interestingly, the leading Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat published an article ("American poll: higher education level leads to less sex")which seems to be based on this article. No source is mentioned, but they use the exactly same averages that you report. I think they found this post through a link from a Finnish blog called Octaviuksen ajatuksia.

    Link: http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/artikkeli/Amerikkalaiskysely+Mit%C3%A4+korkeampi+koulutus+sen+v%C3%A4hemm%C3%A4n+seksi%C3%A4/1135252436240?ref=rss

  14. Anonymous11:40 AM

    I think it has to do with key interests and higher goals. Smart people get aroused like anyone, but they have more things they're interested in than just sex.

  15. This data is for the education level of the couple. Do you get the same pattern when the education level is different between spouses? Say the husband has a Masters and wife has an AA or husband has a PhD and wife is working on GED etc. And vise versa?

  16. Anonymous3:11 AM

    "Educated folks prefer the bookie to the nookie."

    This does not really follow. e.g. They could desire nookie as much as others but have less time and energy available for it.

    Smartest men most likely to have paid for sex

  17. Anonymous3:44 AM

    "Controlling for a wide set of individual- and family-level observables available in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates show that sexually active adolescents have grade point averages that are approximately 0.2 points lower than virgins. However, when information on the timing of intercourse decisions is exploited and individual fixed effects are included, the negative effect of sexual intercourse disappears for females, but persists for males. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that while there may be adverse academic spillovers from engaging in intercourse for some adolescents, previous studies' estimates are overstated due to unmeasured heterogeneity. (JEL I10, I21, I18)"


    Reading, Writing, and Sex

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  38. To paraphrase a line from the movie "Leaving Las Vegas", "He's one of god's own prototypes, never meant for mass production." What that means is, strange as it may sound, there must a negative survival benefit to the species from having to many high IQ people. As a result, since it is women who primarily control who they have sex with, most women are unconsciously selecting for men of average intelligence. High IQ simply doesn't put the average women in the mood because they are responding to a set of evolutionary dictates that tell them what makes them horney.

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The Inductivist admits that culture matters

A pure naturist would claim that the culture of East Asians would not change after moving to America. Let's test this with one question ...