Say to yourself first thing in the morning: I shall meet with people who are meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and unsociable. They are subject to these faults because of their ignorance of what is good and bad.
But I have recognised the nature of the good and seen that it is the right, and the nature of the bad and seen that it is the wrong, and the nature of the wrongdoer himself, and seen that he is related to me, not because he has the same blood or seed, but because he shares in the same mind and portion of divinity.
So I cannot be harmed by any of them, as no one will involve me in what is wrong. Nor can I be angry with my relative or hate him.
We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of upper and lower teeth. So to work against each other is contrary to nature; and resentment and rejection count as working against someone.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2:1
These politics are also reflected in the fact that the most sexually active Americans are far more likely than average to approve of premarital or extramarital sex, to see positive benefits in pornography, to watch X-rated films, and to favor giving birth control pills to teenagers.
But it isn’t always liberal attitudes that match up with having a lot of sex. People who own guns also have higher-than-average sexual frequency.
Religion can be a minefield when it comes to having sex. But what are the stats?
A US study shows that Jews and agnostics are 20% more sexually active than Catholics and Protestants.
They also found that Baptists have slightly more sex than the national average, while Presbyterians and Lutherans are slightly below average.
But why? God only knows. I mean, I could speculate that it’s because there’s more shame and guilt associated with the Christian religions, but really I have no idea. Hell-fire and damnation tends to dampen the passions, somewhat.
Another study found that observant married Jewish women reported having sex three to six times per week more than twice as often as married women in general. Ooo-whee!
But there’s more! Statistics have also shown that people who rarely go to church have 31% more sex than people who regularly go to church. Not sure about people who never go to church.
Extremely devout people are also less likely to masturbate and use vibrators. Those who attend church regularly are less likely to become sexually active, to have multiple and casual partners, and to have extra-marital affairs.
If you want to have more sex, get rich or get poor.
People on very low incomes and those on very high incomes have sex more frequently than anybody else. Men earning a middle class income of £45,000 (US$75,000) per year average twelve fewer days of sex a year than men who earn about £15,000 (US$25,000) annually. Ouch.
I would hate to speculate why this might be, but I will nevertheless.
Low GDP has long been associated with high birth-rate in developing countries. But why? One possible answer is evolutionary.
A low income means an uncertain future for your progeny, compared to the future of sons and daughters of a person with plenty of money coming in. Poverty means inhibited access to medical care, education, food and many other things necessary to a secure life.
Therefore, in the absence of increasing wages, we have loads more sex in the hope that plenty of descendants will survive to pass on our genes through sheer statistical weight of numbers.
So why do the rich get loads of sex too?
One answer is that wealth has long been associated with desirability. If you’re rich and powerful, you are intoxicatingly attractive to the opposite sex, particularly to women if you are a man.
This doesn’t mean that men are any less shallow than women, just that we tend to go for a luscious child-bearing physique over a big bank balance.
Want to know your prenatal androgen exposure level?
I mean: want to know how much of a testosterone-fuelled beast you are?
Well, do this then:
Measure the length of your index finger (2nd finger) from the crease at the base to the tip. Not including nails. That’s cheating.
Now measure the length of your ring finger (4th finger).
Do it for both hands, just for interest.
Now get a calculator (unless you are Rain Man).
Divide the length of your index by the length of your ring (finger). You should end up with a number between about 0.90 and 1.10.
Do it for both hands, just for interest. They should be similar, but your dominant hand is the more important number for this game.
NOTE:Ethnicity plays a big part here, so find someone else to compare with for real fun. The interpretations below are for white Caucasians. Other populations have relatively lower or higher ratios – doesn’t mean they are more or less mannish!
If you are a MAN:
0.98 is the average.
0.94 is macho.
1.00 is more feminine.
If you are a WOMAN:
1.00 is average.
0.98 is more masculine.
1.02 is girly.
This test for testosterone and oestrogen exposure has been demonstrated in humans since the 1930s. And, since 2006, in pheasants.
What does this mean?
IMPORTANT: Much of the evidence for the traits below is tentative or based on single trials. Don’t take anything too much to heart! These results show tendencies, not hard and fast rules. But it’s still interesting.
While the ratio interpretations above are for ethnic white Caucasians, the conclusions below hold true across ethnic boundaries.
People with a low ratio tend to have low verbal intelligence, high numerical intelligence and low ‘agreeableness’.
Men with higher ratios tend to do better in exams.
Men with a low ratio are more likely to be aggressive. This doesn’t hold for women, though.
Male traders on the stock market are more likely to be profitable and stay in the business for longer if they have a low ratio. Biology and experience come out about equal as predictors of success. Which is incredible really. Men with lower ratios are better at ‘rapid visuomotor scanning,’ physical reflexes and are happier with exposure to risk.
Men with a low ratio are more likely to suffer from attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Men with a high ratio are more likely to be depressive.
Women with a higher ratio have a higher sexual success rate.
Women with a low ratio are more likely to report a ‘male sex-role’ in the bedroom.
Men with a low ratio tend to have a higher sperm count. Men with a high ratio are more likely to suffer germ cell failure, which sounds painful.
The ratio is not a good predictor of sexualilty, however – in either men or women.
Women with lower ratios are more likely to play sports, and to play them at a high level.
Men with lower ratios are more physically competitive. Professional footballers have lower ratios than amateurs; footballers who played for the England national squad (i.e. ‘the best’) have lower ratios than those who haven’t.
FYI: I got all of these trials by following the footnotes in the Wikipedia article on Digit Ratio.
Just for the sake of completion: yes, certain drugs are also extremely pleasurable, but remember how harmful they can be – and just because something is less harmful than heroin doesn’t mean it’s safe!
Also realise that your use of drugs could give you such a massive high that real life just doesn’t seem that great any more. I’m being serious: a cocaine high can increase dopamine levels by 300-700%, compared to the 100% dopamine increase during sex – and you don’t even want to think about what amphetamines can do. Just remember that dopamine is involved in the wanting (i.e. addiction) rather than the liking (i.e. pleasure).