Friday, October 15, 2010

OkCupid's Sexuality Analysis

While some online dating companies throw shitfits about not wanting to provide their services to gay and lesbian users, some do not. OkCupid, which falls into the latter category, has somewhat humorously analyzed 3.2 million profiles in order to make comparisons about its gay and straight users.

I'm not sure what the intent of OkCupid was with this article, but it appears to be well-intentioned toward gays and lesbians. That being said, the title of the article ("Data-Backed Shocker! Gay People Are Basically the Same As Everyone Else") is troubling as it centers "everyone else" (meaning heterosexuals) as the default and implies that if gays weren't like everyone else, discrimination would be okay.

Further, it's certainly not a legit scientific study. We would at least need some evidence that OkCupid users are representative of the general population of gays and straight. We also don't know how many profiles within each category were analyzed. We'd also probably some methodology and stuff too, from what I remember from psych experiments class in undergrad.

Nonetheless, and to state the obvious, the findings at least tell us something about some gays and straights who use OkCupid.


"Gay people are not sexually interested in straights...

We combed through over 4 million match searches, and found virtually no evidence of it:
Match Search Returns
only 0.6% of gay men have ever searched for straight matches.
only 0.1% of lesbians have ever searched for straight matches.
only 0.13% of straight people's profile visitors are gay."

But, perhaps more importantly, how many gay and lesbian people's profile visitors are "straight"?

Interestingly enough, out of a quarter of a million "straight" users who were asked whether they ever had a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex, 23% said yes. 11% said they had not, but that they would like to. Half of all straight women said that they either have had sex with a woman before, or that they would like to. Straight men weren't so open to the idea of getting in on with another man as 82% said they had never had sex with a man and never would.

The comparison also found that the median number of sex partners for lesbians, gay men, straight women, and straight men was the same: 6.

Personality-wise, some findings that interested me were that straight men reported being more "horny" and "kinky" than gay men while straight women reported being more "into sports" than lesbians. Lesbians also apparently like "Save By the Bell." So much for some stereotypes.

It would have been interesting to see how lesbians compared to straight men, personality-wise, and how gay men compared to straight women. Unfortunately, lesbians and gay men were only compared to one another, while straight women and men were only compared to each other.

In news of the sexual orientation binary, no word on where bisexuals fit into all this.

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