Dating and social networking site OkCupid posts some interesting statistical analysis on their blog, OkTrends. The analysis usually manages to touch on a variety of topics, including race, attractiveness, and lying online, among other issues. With 3.2 million active users and the ability to collect data off of members’ profiles, who they message, and their answers to various questions, OkCupid has no shortage of data.

Yesterday’s entry on OkTrends, “Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex,” analyzes statistical differences between gay and straight OkCupid users. And the results are fascinating.

The post first covered the misconception that gay people are sexually attracted to straight people and intentionally pursue people who are straight. Analysis of four million searches showed that gay men and lesbians almost exclusively search for gay and bisexual matches. In fact, only 0.6% of gay men ever searched for straight matches, and only 0.1% of lesbians have ever searched for straight matches. (While there was no data provided on how many straight people searched for gay and lesbian matches, I wouldn’t be surprised if the percent of straight men who have ever searched for lesbian matches is higher.)

Next, the post explored the myth that gay men are promiscuous. It found that the median number of reported sex partners is six for gay men, straight men, gay women, and straight women. Other data backed this up — gay OkCupid users are no more promiscuous than straight OkCupid users.

Even more interesting, they found that many straight people have gay sex. Over 250,000 straight people were asked if they ever had a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex, and almost a quarter answered “yes.” Not only that, but both among straight men and women who had a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex, the majority said that they enjoyed themselves during the encounter.

Furthermore, 11% of straight people who haven’t had a same-sex sexual encounter responded that they’d like to (5% of straight men, and 18% of straight women).

It’s not often that we see statistical analysis involving sexual orientation, especially analysis that involves such a large pool of statistical data. Now the question becomes whether this statistical analysis can dispel some myths about gay people, and help people to better understand homosexuality. Granted, their analysis (and the blog post that accompanied their analysis) shows a disappointing lack of information on users who identify as bisexual, but their information is interesting nonetheless.

Photo credit: OkCupid

Advertisements