Can’t get no?
Alternative post title: “Applied Mathematics: Establishing a quantitative comparison between societal, celebrity, and personal prudishness”
I was grabbing drinks with a friend a couple months back and the conversation made it’s way to the topic of sex. Well, sex and math, naturally. It’s really how I prefer these conversations to go. To be specific, I made a reference to something she had said a few weeks prior, that her rule for partners was tied the fiscal quarter.
(Cue nervous swallowing and sheepishly adjusting/shifting in their chair from all economists and financial types.)
Basically, as everyone has their own opinion about at what point a person becomes “kind of a slut”, she had established a limit for herself of no more than one partner per fiscal quarter.* I said I thought this rule was terrible… or at least inadequate.
Case in point: being in the latter half of our twenties, let’s say you’ve been sexually active for 9 years. That puts the ceiling for this rule at 36 partners. Some might stare at this blankly, a few might even gasp at how low it seems. I’m not judging.** Personally, I find that number rather high, she did as well. So for the remainder of this post, if you don’t, just play along with the idea that three dozen partners before you’re thirty might reasonably be considered a bit excessive.
In fairness, I don’t think her rule was really meant to address this total number concern. It was more of a pacing metric, helping one avoid being considered to be “sleeping around” at any one point in life. She also made the valid point that if you were in a serious relationship, it could easily last multiple quarters, which would significantly reduce one’s number. (Which is to say, she doesn’t have a catch-up sub-rule.)
The concept of one’s “number” is fairly universal, and both this total and your pacing play heavily into your, um, promiscuity score. For example, both the guy in his early twenties that slept with 30 women total and the 40 year old guy that slept with 10 women but racked them all up last year*** are both kind of whorish, each in his own way. Regardless, since I was being difficult (or awesomely critical as I prefer to refer to it), she asked me to come up with a better rule. I sat back, pondered a bit while sipping my drink and staring off into the middle distance (in a way that likely looked just as lame as it felt cool in my head), and then offered the following:
( A – Ai ) * Csp = Pmax
Where A = age, Ai = age of initial activity, Csp = the coefficient of sexual promiscuity, Pmax = maximum acceptable number of partners. The age numbers should be easy to determine. How old are you and how old are you when you lost your virginity? And the other two allow you to calibrate and, arguably more importantly, compare yourself to others. Csp is your pacing number, how many people are you comfortable sleeping with on a per year rate? Pmax is the maximum number of different people you’d feel comfortable having slept with at this point in life.
This equation works well, not as some universal model, but as an introspective and comparison tool. I considered trying to figure out a universal model, but considering how the perception of promiscuous is highly personal, not to mention varying over time and between cultures, that seemed like a fools errand.****
Instead, you can use the above equation to learn something about yourself. Put in your actual number for Pmax and see if your Csp seems reasonable. Toss in you Csp for the last year or so and see how you’re tracking for a Pmax and if you’re comfortable with that.
So, you ask, then what? Well, as mentioned, the next step would be making some comparisons. How do you stack up compared to public figures, averages, cultures, etc. But this is quite long already, so we’ll leave that for a future post.
*In hindsight, a smarter/smoother man would probably have inquired as to the start date of her fiscal year.
**Yes I am.
***My love of puns barely defeated my dislike of sexism, sorry.
****For the record, if someone can identify adequate grant funding on this topic, I’m sure I could define an adequate, higher-order polynomial equation to readily establish who is (and who isn’t) a giant harlot.