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Question #82446 posted on 05/14/2015 12:20 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I often hear statistics for the numbers of sexual partners where men have had more partners than women. I can't wrap my head around the math. Assuming a finite population, equal numbers of men and women, and only heterosexual encounters, can you give me a scenario where the average number of partners is greater for men than for women?

-Bored Engineer


Dear Bored Engineer:

Scenario A: people lie.

That's about it.



Dear reader,

Scenario B: Faulty or misleading study methodology. For instance, a study could only report the average number of sexual partners of sexually active individuals, so anyone who says "zero" is thrown out. If the number of men and women who have zero sexual partners is not equal, that throws off the statistics. Other methodology quirks that exclude certain individuals could have a similar effect.

Scenario A is pretty convincing too, though.