Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Which Americans have the most sex partners? General Social Survey participants were asked how many different partners they had in the past year. I calculated the mean for 18-30 year olds from ethnic groups with at least 100 respondents:

Mean sex partner in last 12 months (women in parentheses, then the sex difference):

Blacks 2.39 (1.44) +.95
Irish 1.92 (1.36) +.56
Italians 1.85 (1.19) +.66
American Indians 1.83 (1.38) +.45
Mexicans 1.73 (1.48) +.25

USA 1.74 (1.32) +.42

Germans 1.53 (1.21) +.32
English/Welsh 1.51 (1.28) +.23

Blacks have been characterized as the most sexual race, but according to GSS data, this is more true of black men. Mexican American women report more partners than do their black counterparts. Other surveys portray black women as being somewhat conservative about sex. And while other studies also suggest that blacks have more partners, they often do not find that blacks have sex more often, or that they engage in more novel kinds of sex (e.g., anal). In a well-respected study described in the Social Organization of Sexuality, Hispanics had the most sex, and were the most experimental.

The women's rankings tend to follow the men's: the number of partners a woman has are, in part, due to the kind of men she is dealing with. If she is sleeping with someone, she probably wants to keep him, and if she is sleeping with multiple guys in a year, the guys are not sticking around. There is also a pattern of more gender-traditional groups having the biggest sex differences (Italian guys can sleep around, but not the girls).

As we have seen with many kinds of behavior that grandma wouldn't like, rates are highest among non-whites, or among whites from Catholic or southern European countries. (Drinking is an important exception). You and I might not think any group is ultimately superior to another, but Grandma is starting to think that whites from traditionally Protestant countries (and perhaps East Asians and Jews if I studied them more) are.


  1. AIDS demography is better predicted by ethnic demography than virus tests.

    The correlation between cumulative AIDS cases and HIV positive tests in 2001 is 95%.

    The correlation between cumulative AIDS and the conjunction of a largely black or hispanic population with a largely Jewish white population is 98%.

    Mitigating factors are at work on both sides of this debate: There are fewer data points supporting the HIV correlation (33) than the ethnic correlation (51) however the distribution of points in the HIV correlation is more "normal" than the distribution of points for the ethnic correlation. Unfortunately, no good arithmetic solutions exist to provide the degree of statistical significance given not only the number of data points but also the departure from normality.

    Nevertheless, given the highly colinear nature of the ethnic demography data points across such a broad range, it seems quite valid to consider ethnic makeup at least as important in the demographic prediction of AIDS as the existing sampling methods for demographic HIV status, particularly given the social as well as economic costs of gathering HIV status data.

  2. Interesting. DC is the clear outlier here, with a very high level of blacks, Jews, and AIDS cases. What is the correlation with just blacks or Jews? (The correlation is probably inflated by ouliers like DC).

  3. Excluding DC from the previously given demographic AIDS predictor formula the rank ordered correlations are:

    93 with JewsPercapita1999
    (sqrt) 92 with AIDSTotalPercapitaThru2001
    90 with HIVPositiveTestsPercapita2001
    (log) 89 with sqrt(RobberyPercapita2001)
    84 with West_IndianPercapita1990
    (log) 83 with sqrt(InnerCityPercapita1990)
    82 with RussianPercapita1990
    (sqrt) 81 with ImmigrantsTotalPercapita1998
    (sqrt) 80 with ForeignBornPercapita2000
    (log) 80 with log(FamiliesWithIncome150000ormorePercapitaIn1990)
    (sqrt) 78 with sqrt(ForeignBornPercapita1990)
    (log) 77 with log(AbortionsPerFertileWoman1998)
    77 with sqrt(ImmigrantsJamaicaPercapita1998)
    (log) 77 with log(Subsaharan_AfricanPercapita1990)
    (log) 76 with log(AbortionsPercapita1998)
    76 with ImmigrantsDominicanRepublicPercapita1998
    (log) 75 with log(MotorVehicleTheftPercapita2001)
    (log) 75 with log(FamiliesWithIncome125000to149999PercapitaIn1990)

    Rank order of single-variable AIDS correlates excluding DC

    (sqrt) 95 with sqrt(HIVPositiveTestsPercapita2001)
    89 with JewishPercentOfWhites
    88 with sqrt(West_IndianPercapita1990)
    87 with JewsPercapita1999
    (log) 85 with log(RobberyPercapita2001)
    84 with sqrt(ImmigrantsJamaicaPercapita1998)
    (sqrt) 81 with AbortionsPerFertileWoman1998
    (log) 78 with log(AbortionsPercapita1998)
    (log) 77 with log(BlacksOrHispanicsPercapita1990)
    (log) 77 with log(Subsaharan_AfricanPercapita1990)
    77 with BirthsPerAbortion1998
    77 with RussianPercapita1990
    (sqrt) 76 with -log(SuburbanPercapita1990)
    (log) 75 with InnerCityPercapita1990
    (sqrt) 75 with log(FamiliesWithIncome150000ormorePercapitaIn1990)
    75 with ImmigrantsTotalPercapita1998

  4. jabowery: HIV is concentrated among homosexuals and IV drug users. I wonder why the extremely strong connection between these two things and Jews. Is it that Jews are attracted to the same liberal places that homosexuals and druggies are attracted to? Your thoughts?


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