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The averages are higher because a small number of individuals — especially men — report a very large number of partners.
Five percent of the men in this sample reported having had 99 or more sex partners, including four who reported 200, three who reported 300 and one who reported 400.
I felt the need to understand exactly what the data says, if anything, in support of the Pareto Principle as it applies to the distributution of sex. Or, as in Hollenhund’s version, is it just a question of the frequency of sex, even with one partner?
In that case, how to incorporate the male preference for sexual variety?
Even a slight imbalance – say 45% of the men getting 55% of the women, would wreak havoc in the SMP, explaining great frustration on the part of many men. If the 80/20 Rule holds up, then the vast majority of women can be assumed to be getting what they want – short-term sexual liaisons when they’re at their physical peak.
However, it also means that they’re acting against their own best interests if marriage is their long-term goal.
The same pattern is true for women, dropping from 19% to 11% in the same age period.
Proportionally, women curtail the number of partners more than men do from their 20s to 30s, probably reflecting the younger average age at marriage for women. Only 16% of men in their 20s have gone without sex in the last year, and that number stays steady in the 30s.
This belies the notion that a large majority of males has zero access to sex.
The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 Rule) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; he developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.
It is a common rule of thumb in business; e.g., “80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.” The Pareto Principle is an observation, not a law of nature, but it holds roughly true in many areas of life.