Jeff noticed this news article by Gina Kolata:
EVERYONE knows men are promiscuous by nature. It’s part of the genetic strategy that evolved to help men spread their genes far and wide. The strategy is different for a woman, who has to go through so much just to have a baby and then nurture it. She is genetically programmed to want just one man who will stick with her and help raise their children.
Surveys bear this out. In study after study and in country after country, men report more, often many more, sexual partners than women.
One survey, recently reported by the federal government, concluded that men had a median of seven female sex partners. Women had a median of four male sex partners. Another study, by British researchers, stated that men had 12.7 heterosexual partners in their lifetimes and women had 6.5.
But there is just one problem, mathematicians say. It is logically impossible for heterosexual men to have more partners on average than heterosexual women. Those survey results cannot be correct.
Jeff’s response: MEDIANS??!!
Indeed, there’s no reason the two distributions should have the same median. I gotta say, it’s disappointing that the reporter talked to mathematicians rather than statisticians. (Next time, I’d recommend asking David Dunson for a quote on this sort of thing.) I’m also surprised that they considered that respondents might be lying but not that they might be using different definitions of sex partner. Finally, it’s amusing that the Brits report more sex partners than Americans, contrary to stereotypes.