Sociology surprises no one, depresses scientists: guess who’s a virgin?

The formula looks right...: But it's not happening.
The formula looks right...: But it's not happening.Courtesy FireFawkes
The journal Sexual Health has blown minds the world over with a new study’s assertion that, of all students, science students have the least sex. And male science students? They have the least sex of all, ranking neck and neck with amoeba.

Do you know who the study says has the most sex? Female art students. But I’ve never pretended to understand art kids, so we’ll leave that be and get back to our poor science nerds.

What gives? Is it the chicken or the egg? (The chicken being people who don’t often have sex, the egg being the study of science. Duh.) Does deciding to study science equate to putting on an invisible chastity belt? Is it (if we’re talking about chickens) a persistent rooster-block, if you will? Or are people for whom sex is not a huge priority, or even something to be avoided, attracted to the study of science?

The answer, according to the study, is “yes.”

The research was performed at the University of Sydney in Australia. The science department at the university has a high proportion of international students, who may have different cultural attitudes towards sex than those hedonistic, liberal arts, Australian-born students. Also, as we have discussed on Buzz, girls are often less attracted to studying math and science than boys, and boys, according to the psychotherapist quoted in the article, start having sex later than girls.

The demands of studying science, likewise, aren’t helping things. Students are kept out of environments where they would meet women, and spend most of their time “carrying on doing experiments, going to the library, and doing their assignments.”

A horde of very busy introverts—it’s the perfect storm. But don’t let this dissuade you from studying science, Buzzketeers—maybe this is just the sort of social environment you’re looking for. Or maybe you can start a brand new scientific revolution.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

plee057's picture
plee057 says:

so is this stereo type true?

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 3:58pm
Jack's picture
Jack says:

Well, I guess I'm not going to be a science major. Actually, I think that the study of science attracts people that are generally introverted and don't put a high priority on relationships (like me, for instance). Except for the workload, there probably isn't anything about studying science that intrinsically makes a person unattractive. That means studying science is still a good idea if someone likes it because even if they pick another major they probably won't have more sex. And science graduates are going to be making more money in a few years than most art graduates, another reason to pick a science major.

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 4:02pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Well, I'm not totally sure you can generalize that science attracts more introverted people. Maybe more so than theater majors...but that comparison becomes weaker with other stereotypical nerdy pursuits.

I wonder if this study's results would be different at another university. Science doesn't have to be a solitary pursuit. And some universities or programs specifically encourage more lab work and group projects instead of solitary work. Now that's not to say that group projects = amorous adventures. But, I do think that the sample group for this study might be too specific to generalize to all science majors.

Jack, your right for sure that the average science graduate is going to make more than the average art grad. That is unless your average science grad goes to work at a science museum. *cough*

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 4:12pm
Jack's picture
Jack says:

It's hard to generalize about anything. However, just from personal experience, the people that have relationships are generally not the people who are overachievers at science. Then again, my sample size is pretty limited, too. If the study's results have a "significant enough" difference between sex rates among the different groups, then this correlation probably not just at this university. If there's just a small difference, then it could be just coincidence.

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 4:41pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I think I framed the results poorly in a couple spots—the conclusion, I believe, was actually about who had had sex at all, not sex rates. And while one is pretty safe in saying that virgins have the least sex, a sex rate study would have been a different thing, and I should have been clearer on that distinction.

posted on Fri, 12/05/2008 - 9:57am
ayah.osman's picture
ayah.osman says:

That's not surprising.

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 4:08pm
zouapha's picture
zouapha says:

Good response...i agree with scientist making more money...haven't there been studies and even reality shows that talks about beauty or the geeks? I wonder who won that one huh?

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 4:08pm
shaunalynn10's picture

who wants a science nerd lol

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 4:11pm
jimh's picture
jimh says:

Really limited sample, sketchy description of study parameters—better for headlines than unjustified conclusions, I think.

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 4:53pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

There were 185 students in the study, which I think is a reasonable sample, if only for this particular institution, or just Australian institutions—as Bryan mentions above, things could be different at different schools, whether from different student body demographics, cultural norms, etc.

I don't know that the study itself necessarily makes any conclusions as to why there are more science-major virgins, only that there are (at least at this institution, which may or may not be representative). The reasons suggested are from commentary on the results by a psychotherapist from Sydney, and I'm not sure if he was even involved in the study.

I think you're pretty spot on about the headline appeal of a study like this, however. All the articles I read about this focused on the virgin thing, but included one or two sentences at the end mentioning how the study also examined chlamydia infection rates and student knowledge of chlamydia. I'm guessing that the chlamydia portion of the research was far more than an afterthought in the original study, but unless it had turned out that pretty much everyone in Australia had chlamydia, the part about who is more likely to be a virgin was going to be what interested popular news outlets. Except for the "popular" part, my science buzz post was no exception.

posted on Fri, 12/05/2008 - 10:12am
Roosevelt81's picture
Roosevelt81 says:

I agree with jimh. This ‘scientific study’ offers no quantitative data to support their conclusions. Not too sure about selecting an area of study based on the results of this report. "A leopard cannot hide their spots."

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 10:54pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I don't find this suprising because many good science students are nerds, and no one likes nerds.

posted on Fri, 12/05/2008 - 9:38am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

"Nerd" is in the eye of the beholder.

And I personally find "smart" to be a devastatingly attractive quality.

posted on Fri, 12/05/2008 - 10:31am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

And all hope for passing on your genes isn't lost yet, scientists: it turns out that intelligent men have... "better sperm."

Go figure.

posted on Fri, 12/05/2008 - 1:45pm
chang's picture
chang says:


posted on Sat, 12/06/2008 - 9:21am
iowaboy's picture
iowaboy says:

this posting reminds me of a tv show called 'big bang theory', which airs on mondays on cbs. it is about science majors that live across the hall from an attractive girl that could care less about science.

with at least one of the show's characters, he said he was too afraid to talk to women unless he was drunk and he was fine with being a science major as he was introverted and didn't have to be social in that field.

it does remind me of another posting i saw recently where few kids were interested in science, because it wasn't considered to be cool, but being in sports or fashion is.

if you tell them that science majors can make good money, then it would be considered cool by more. as the saying goes, money talks. but as a whole, it's sad but true unfortunately in a dumbed-down society that being smart all too often isn't valued.

posted on Fri, 12/05/2008 - 1:59pm
DO's picture
DO says:

A sample of 185 is a bit thin even if you are working at the level of the entire sample. However, if you are going to do breakouts by sex or major (or sex and major) it's what we used to call "suggestive" -- no pun intended. Can't really draw any conclusions.

Having said that, people who go into fields like research, accounting etc. spend much of their time alone doing analysis and that tends to draw people who are comfortable being alone (like me) i.e. nerds! The gregarious ones all go into business and marketing.

posted on Fri, 12/05/2008 - 2:17pm
lmen1001's picture
lmen1001 says:

What if your into science AND art???

posted on Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:55am

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