Should you follow the dutch government’s advice and find a sex buddy during the COVID-19 lockdown?
A data-driven approach to better understand the good and bad about casual sex
In mid-may the Dutch government issued a new guidance to single people seeking intimacy during the pandemic and advised them to find a “seksbuddy” (sex buddy). Even before COVID-19, the topic of hookups and casual sex remains a controversial topic, so I thought about taking a data-driven approach to exploring the good and bad about hookups with a very interesting dataset. Short on time, feel free to jump right away to the TLDR section.
As you might have guessed, finding a perfect dataset to answer this question right away was not easy. But after a bit of googling I came across the Casual Sex Project website. The Casual Sex Project idea originated from Dr. Zhana, a NYC-based sex researcher, educator, and NYU professor who had the idea of creating a platform where everyone can share true stories of casual sex experiences or hookups of all kinds.
Scraping and cleaning hookup data
Recently, I shared how I use web scraping to generate an authentic data science portfolio project like this one. Feel free to check out this blogpost to learn more about how I used libraries like scrapy or dateparser to easily clean the data. Also for the first time, I used the missingno library which provides a small toolset of flexible and easy-to-use missing data visualizations:
A 10.000 ft view on the casual sex project
With 53 columns there are a ton of different data points to analyze and interesting insights to draw. However, before that let me give you a general idea about the audiences and stories posted.
Since the launch of the platform there has been a big growth of posts until August 2014 with 265 posts per month that rapidly declined afterwards. There seems to be no noticeable pattern, when most stories are shared. Nevertheless, August, September, October as well as the last months of the year seem to be quite popular.
Most stories are posted by white/caucasian (74.1%) males (63.4%) who are from North America (67.7%) and have a college degree (38.1%). One night stands are the most popular category both among men and women:
Talking about popularity, the reader’s favorite category on the blog measured by average views are group sex, followed by editorial posts and first time stories:
While an average story receives 6173 views, the most viewed story with the title “My Wife Taken In Front Of Me” got 50 times more views:
Motives for a seksbuddy
The dutch government’s recommendation to find a seksbuddy might not be the best reason to go for it. Therefore, I had a look at the top motives why people explored casual sex. Fun, pleasure and horniness were the top 3 reasons people named:
Is casual sex a good or bad idea?
Looking at the overall experience, shows that 62.5% of users who shared stories had a very positive experience:
Similarly, 59.9% of all users classified their experiences as not at all negative:
One of the reasons why many think casual sex is a bad idea is that someone ends up feeling emotionally hurt. However, looking at the numbers shows that 76.8% do not feel hurt at all:
Finally 78.2% users who shared their stories had no regrets whatsoever about their hookup:
While those experiences look quite positive, in this dataset there is for sure some selection bias, as most users are probably happier to share positive experiences than bad ones.
Selection bias is the bias introduced by the selection of individuals, groups or data for analysis in such a way that proper randomization is not achieved, thereby ensuring that the sample obtained is not representative of the population intended to be analyzed.
Gender and casual sex
Looking for differences in gender, shows that overall women have overall a slightly less positive/more negative experience than men.
Furthermore, women also feel more emotionally hurt than men. While only 1.7% of men report that they feel very emotionally hurt, the percentage of women with 5.8% is much higher. Contrary to this, 84.5% of men do not feel hurt at all, whereas only 69.5% of women do not feel hurt at all:
Finally, women are less likely to reach climax than men. Nevertheless, a higher percentage of women (47.1%) has more than one orgasm compared to men (43%):
Other factors impacting casual sex
When having the choice between, friends-with-benefits, a short fling or a one-night stand, the data suggests that friends-with-benefits is the best option. The experience is overall more positive/less negative, one is more likely to reach climax and feels less emotionally hurt compared to a one-night stand or short fling.
Looking at intoxication and casual sex shows that small or no amounts of alcohol or drugs resultes in the least negative experiences, with a higher chance of reaching climax.
- Apart from the dutch government, the top 3 motives for trying casual sex are fun, pleasure and horniness.
- In many shared stories people had a very positive experience, did not feel emotionally hurt or had regrets.
- Nevertheless, men on average report a more positive hookup experience, feel less emotionally hurt and easier reach climax than women.
- Comparing many types of casual sex people had the most positive experience with friends with benefits and being very little or not at all intoxicated.
- While this dataset is quite interesting it has a selection bias an most likely portrays casual sex in a more positive light.
Having more questions?
Check out the GitHub repo here.