An analysis of the exclusive GMP survey on promiscuity.
When How About We reported that the 2010 “Great American Male“ survey conducted by AskMen had lowered the threshold on a woman being considered “promiscuous” from 10 partners—lifetime—to five, we cried foul. Surely modern male thoughts on female sexuality couldn’t be this misogynistic, hypocritical, archaic, repressive, and just plain dumb.
Feeling compelled to repudiate this factoid, we did the only thing a responsible media organization could do: we conducted our own survey.
The results are in, and they are interesting.
Hundreds of you weighed in. Respondents covered a vast representation of sexually active adults, from every race, socioeconomic background and religion—including Jedi.
The essence of what you said can be boiled down to this: promiscuity is behavioral and not intrinsically characteristic. It can be used to describe an action or a mentality, but only in rare cases, a person.
Respondents were segmented along the following categories: age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, relationship status, highest level of education completed, household income, and religion. 57-percent were female, and 41 percent were male. Here’s what you had to say:
The total number of sexual partners lifetime was fairly diverse, the largest group weighing in at 11-20 (24.6 percent), followed quickly by 20-50 (24.3 percent). 12% claimed over 50 partners, and 22 percent claimed under five partners, lifetime.
A minority of respondents—eight percent—actually consider themselves to be promiscuous. Interestingly, 17 percent consider themselves “no longer promiscuous,” indicating the term may be applied to a phase without being a lifetime designation.
The overwhelming majority—90 percent—considered themselves discriminating.
Only 13 percent equated the number of total partners with promiscuity. For most, this is a grey area, defined largely by age-range and attitude. Ten relationships, for example, do not equate to 10 one-night stands.
A minuscule .06 percent of respondents agreed with AskMen’s claim that a woman was considered promiscuous after five partners. The overwhelming consensus—75 percent—said promiscuity was qualitative, not quantitative.
Interestingly, this figure applied equally to men.
An overwhelming majority—89 percent—said the number of sexual partners prior to them was a non-issue. Major concerns were the contraction of STIs, and whether or not the “promiscuity phase” had passed, and the person was ready for a committed relationship.
Only 16 percent of respondents claimed that positively identifying someone as promiscuous definitively disqualified them as a potential candidate for a relationship. For the other 84 percent, it either didn’t matter or was dependent on their current mentality.
My single favorite fill-in response to the question “does identifying someone as promiscuous disqualify them as a potential sexual partner?” was: Is he holding a guitar?
Curiously enough, only 12 percent claimed that positively identifying someone as promiscuous would disqualify them as a potential sexual partner. The prevailing sentiment was: as long as they’re disease-free, only a small minority would not sleep with someone they considered promiscuous.
A meager four percent would not consider a serious relationship with someone who’d had more sexual partners than themselves. The things that mattered most to respondents in or looking for relationships–long or short term–were qualities, not numbers. Honesty, integrity, and self-esteem weighed heavily in determining if someone qualifies for a relationship, or a fling.
“People change. Relationships change. The world is not static.”
And social change is what we are all about at GMP.
Across every metric, the results of our survey contradict those of AskMen. The opinions of those polled were far less Victorian than the so-called “Great” American Male survey would indicate. Are they truly representative of current ideals?
PhD Sex Researcher Jocelyn Wentland pointed out that the vast difference in the results of this survey as opposed to the AskMen poll is “likely indicative of differences in the audience. Their results reflect the mentalities of their readership, whereas our results reflect the mentalities of ours.”
Hypothesis: if you’re tired of double-standards and gender inequality, “become the change in the world you want to see” – Mahatma Ghandi.