[Misleading Statistics] Average people don’t lose their virginity at their teens

When looking at reports of what age do people lost their virginity in certain nations, the number could be shocking when seeing the average people are losing their virginity at their teenage year. The data could be true since there are people losing their virginity at their high school or college year. However, are we interpreting them correctly?


Typical research of when do people lost their vinginity

Are the data reliable?

When the surveyor ask such questions about sex to the interviewees, the surveyor must have to assume all interviewees are honest about their experiences. The surveyor don’t have the time to prove each interviewees are lying or not. In reality, how many people would lie or exaggerate about their how many/few sex they have to appeal “hardcore” or innocent to impress their peers? Probably a lot.

Virgins, the null values

In modern western culture, this may seem embarrassing for those to admit themselves to be virgins. However, there are people still don’t get married in the late 30s or 40s and remain as virgin.  According to an article published by The Atlantic, it states 12.3% of female are 14.3% of male in the age of 20 to 24 admitted themselves to be virgins. In some cases, it may be embarrassing and have to tolerant surrounding giggles and comments like “can’t get laid” or “prude” when telling a stranger such information in the public. The number of virgin will increase if more young interviewees.

When these virgins tell the surveyor bravely about their inexperience in sex, the value that the surveyor put into their spreadsheet will be blank, or null value. The value can’t be 0 since they didn’t have sex as a baby, that’s wrong statistically and morally. At the same time, it can’t be any numeric value since they never have sex at their life. This is a lot of null values and they have to be removed before conducting statistical analysis。

For example, there’s a high school class with 25 students, two students lost their virginity at 16 and the rest remained as virgins. The average age of that class of losing virginity will be 16 because (16+16)/2 = 16 and the rest of the students won’t count as the statistics. When the article of “Average student in XYZ class lost their virginity at 16”, would it make the whole class sound like a group of sexually aroused teenagers?

how the spreadsheet should look like

This is how the spreadsheet should look like

In conclusion, only non virgins are calculated for such analysis. In some reports, only those had heterosexual vaginal intercourse are considered as non virgin while other types of intercourse weren’t counted, like this one done by the National Survey of Family Growth. Therefore, the accurate title of such reports should be like “The age of first time for heterosexual non virgins had sex at (this count) is (number).



One thought on “[Misleading Statistics] Average people don’t lose their virginity at their teens

  1. Interesting post on statistics. Thank you.

    Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

    I do love statistics, but they have to be examined carefully, especially when quoted by politicians.

    I wrote a short essay (450 words) on The Other Boleyn Girl called “Three Reasons to Delay Sex Until Marriage.” If you would like to read it, I am open to any feedback: https://christopherjohnlindsay.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/the-other-boleyn-girl-bbc/


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