And yes, you likely are promiscuous, even though you may not think of yourself that way. At least, that’s the implication of a quiz that appeared at Big Think this week. Now, you know I’ve got a soft spot for internet quizzes, but it usually runs toward Hello Quizzy (aka OK Cupid) and similar silliness. This quiz purports to be serious! scientific! and will tell you about your “sociosexuality.” Blogger Marina Adshade at Big Think found it incumbent upon her to translate “sociosexuality” as “promiscuity.”
Whatever you call it, I found the results shocking – and not because the quiz branded me a slut. I am shocked at the shoddy methodology that’s trying to pass as “science.”
Go take the quiz and tell us how you came out, ‘kay? I will wait below the LOLcat.
I’ll come clean: I landed in Finland, which according to Adshade is the #1 mecca for the promiscuous. Funny thing, though. I answered that I’ve been with just one partner over the past year and expect to stay with him, and only him, for the next 30 years, should we be so blessed to both live that long. I ‘fessed up to the one-night stand, though that’s a real definitional tangle. Does oral sex count? What does it mean when your “casual” partner is never a rank stranger, but always a friend or someone in your larger social network? What about friends with benefits, where the benefits were infrequent and very much subsidiary to the friendship? What about one-night stands that morph into several nights? What about “casual” sex that leads into a years-long relationship? (All of these questions hint at my classic MO until I met my husband.)
I like to see how quizzes spit out different assessments, so I varied my responses some – keeping my truthful answers to the first two questions, and also holding fast to my tolerant (but not really celebratory) answers toward casual sex. I also copped to some fantasies but not to daily ones, and held that answer constant, too. But I played with the number of “one-night stands,” and see here: I stayed in Finland until I claimed (okay, lied) never to have had one. That moved me down just one rank – to New Zealand.
I suspect study-abroad applications will spike for Finland and New Zealand, if this “research” gets out to the general public.
But seriously: what a way to view promiscuity! I don’t like the term anyway, because it almost always leads to slut-shaming. I’d prefer to stick with “sociosexuality.” Whatever you think of the terminology, it seems silly to brand a fortysomething, married, monogamous gal with a handful of youthful adventures “promiscuous” just because she refuses to condemn the pursuit of pleasure, youthful or not. Or because she fesses up to fantasies – which I suspect is what drove my score sky-high. I’d love to know how Jimmy Carter (he who famously “lusted in his heart) would stack up.
I enjoy silly quizzes, but sometimes the line between science and internet meme is very thin indeed. Not to mention, there are also some very good reasons for people to engage in “casual” sex, as Monica Shore reminds us at Alternet (originally at Carnal Nation). Shore’s article is buttressed by a few preliminary stats from Heather Corinna’s much more scientific survey on “casual” versus “committed” sex. I’m eager to hear about Heather’s results once they’re made public, because I think she asked the right questions here and here.
See y’all in Finland? If not, where will I find you?