How Common is Gestational Surrogacy?

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York (The Huffington Post)

FILE PHOTO – Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Last month, reality TV personality Kim Kardashian West and her husband Kanye West announced the birth of their third child. The couple’s daughter Chicago was carried via a gestational surrogate. She was created from a fertilized egg taken from Kardashian West, and had no genetic tie to the surrogate.

How common is gestational surrogacy?

It’s not that common, but it’s difficult to nail down exact numbers. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) reported 1.5K+ babies born from gestational surrogates in 2011, up from 1.3K+ babies born via the method in 2009. Another source reports 1.4K+ babies born via gestational surrogacy.

It’s difficult to pin down an actual number, because some cases of gestational surrogacy may not reported. It’s also difficult to tell when the sample size is so small.

As the procedure becomes more widely available, we’ll be able to see how common gestational surrogacy really is.

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How Many Couples Wait Until Marriage to Have Sex?

Russell Wilson and Ciara (Wenner Media)

Russell Wilson and Ciara (Wenner Media)

Last month, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson proposed to singer Ciara. While this narrative isn’t uncommon (professional athlete gets with professional singer), one thing about their courtship has stuck out: Wilson and Ciara (I’d use her last name here if she used it herself) abstained from sex during their courtship. And they were loud and clear about it.

You may think this example is an outlier. So how many couples wait until marriage to have sex?

A 2006 study by the Guttmacher Institute took data from the National Survey of Family Growth from 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002. Around 40K+ subjects ages 15-44 were asked about their sex lives. In 2002, around 95% reported having premarital sex (shocker <– sarcasm right here.) So that’d be around 5% who reported staying virgins til marriage. But this is all self-reported data, so I can’t tell if answers were blinded or not. (Respondents might lie if their answers aren’t blinded.)

This is a upswing from back in the day, but not a total shock. Dr. Alfred Kinsey tackled this same question in his seminal works, 1948’s “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male” and 1953’s “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.” He found that 67-98% of men had had premarital sex, “depending on socioeconomic level” (I would love to know what that means!), with 68% losing it before turning 18. Women fell into a 50-50 split of whether they’d had premarital sex or not. (This kind of turns the prudish ’50s narrative on its ass, doesn’t it?)

Even thought we have some data, it’s difficult to predict the numbers of virgins-til-marriage completely accurately if the numbers are all self-reported. Some might not self-report accurately due to shame or any number of factors. That being said, nothing wrong with their decision to wait.

 

How Common is Intimate Partner Violence?

James Deen and Stoya (The Guardian UK)

James Deen and Stoya (The Guardian UK)

Late last year, adult film star James Deen was accused of rape by his former girlfriend, fellow adult film star Stoya. Other performers later came forward to accuse Deen of sexual assault, but Stoya’s two tweets on Nov. 28, 2015, started Deen’s downfall: He’s since been dropped from one major studio.

Rape can be part of a larger pattern of intimate partner violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), intimate partner violence “comprises 15% of all violence crimes,” and women ages 18-24 are most likely to be “abused by an intimate partner.” In addition, 46%+ of women raped are raped by an acquaintance. Of this number, 45%+ of women are raped by an intimate partner. These are scary stats.

As of 2014, women ages 18-24 comprise 4.8% of the total population.As of the 2010 Census, women comprised 50.8% of the total population, or 156.9M+ residents. We can estimate that the current number of women in this age group who’ve been raped by an acquaintance might shake out to 155K+.

Here’s the math:

  • 156,964,212 *.0048 = 753,429 (estimate of women ages 18-24 as of 2014)
  • 753,429 * .46 = 346,578 (estimate of number of women in that age range raped by an acquaintance)
  • 346,578 * .45 = 155,961 (estimate of number of women ages 18-24 raped by an intimate partner)

Obviously, this isn’t an exact estimate, due to a couple of reasons: self-reporting (not all women will probably report rape/violence), and inaccurate data (using both 2010 and 2014 numbers).

Scary, right? Unfortunately, this is the reality, so take care of yourselves.

 

OKCupid Data of 2015: By The Numbers

OkCupid logo (IAC)

OkCupid logo (IAC)

I love it when online dating sites share their data. You can tell a lot about a person, or people as a group, by what they’re willing to admit to on the Internet.

I’ve picked out the most interesting facts, but you can see the full report for yourself.

State with the most users looking for casual sex: Oregon (15.51%)

State with most users who are (admitted) virgins: Utah (19.78%)

Percentage of people interested in participating in bondage: 58%

  • Year-over-year increase from 2014: +5%

Percentage of users who masturbate at least a few times a week: 51.3%

OkCupid 'The Hangover' 2016 Emoji Data (OkCupid)

OkCupid ‘The Hangover’ 2016 Emoji Data (OkCupid)

Average number of questions a user answers: 125

Percentage of overall users not down with interracial marriage: 3%

Percentage of users in Mississippi not down with interracial marriage: 18%

Percentage of users who said they’d date a transgender person: 25%

  • Year-over-year change from 2014: +5%

 

And lastly, the most important stat of all:

OkCupid 'The Hangover 2016' Pop Culture Data (OkCupid)

OkCupid ‘The Hangover 2016’ Pop Culture Data (OkCupid)

Why Is the Number of Sexual Assaults Rising in New York City?

New York City skyline (The Huffington Post)

New York City skyline (The Huffington Post)

Certain types of violence are on the rise in the city that never sleeps. In addition to shooting and homicides increasing year-over-year, the number of rapes and sexual assaults has also increased.

But is it enough to panic over? Let’s look at the numbers. “The New York Times” reports:

From Jan. 1 to May 31, there were 540 rapes recorded in the city, an 8 percent increase over the same period last year, and more than 1,128 misdemeanor sex crimes, representing a rise of 18 percent.

But on the bright side, some types of sexual violence has declined within the city:

According to national data from the Centers for Disease Control in 2012, the rate of stranger rape as a percentage of all rape is 14 percent; in New York City this year, the rate is half that. Of the 540 reported rapes, 39 were committed by someone the victim did not know, according to the police.

But why are the overall numbers climbing? The phenomenon can be attributed to a simple economic principle: the complement effect. Numbers are climbing because more people are reporting them. And that’s a good thing! The more people that are aware of these crimes and can report them, the more accurate a picture we can get of just how rampant sexual assaults are.

I’m interested to see if this is, or will be, the case in other cities.

 

Bernie Sanders Essay: How Many Women Have Rape Fantasies?

Bernie Sanders (Crooks and Liars)

Bernie Sanders (Crooks and Liars)

Last week, “Mother Jones” found an essay that presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wrote in 1972 for alternative newspaper “Vermont Freeman.” Sanders’ two-page essay observed sexual dynamics between men and women.

Here’s the part that got everyone talking:

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

Sanders was positing this as a general observation that held true about all women. But is he correct in this assumption?

There’s been some research done on this fantasy.

Last year, researchers at the University of Canada, Quebec asked territory residents about their sexual fantasies and published results in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine.” Though the researchers didn’t directly ask about rape fantasies, they did ask respondents if they agreed with the statement “I have fantasized about being forced to have sex,” which can be construed as such. Over 28% of women agreed with that statement, but it wasn’t enough to hit the “normal fantasy” cutoff (which started at 50% agreement from respondents). The study didn’t examine how often the women had these fantasies.

A 2010 “Psychology Today” article on women’s rape fantasies stated that nine surveys on the topic had been published between 1973 and 2008. Here’s what that collective body of data showed:

They show that about four in 10 women admit having them (31-57%) with a median frequency of about once a month. Actual prevalence of rape fantasies is probably higher because women may not feel comfortable admitting them.

A 2009 study done by North Texas University found that answers depended on what terminology was used. Fifty-two percent of college women said they’d fantasized about being “overpowered by a man,” but only 32% of women agreed when it was labeled “rape.” It’s interesting to note that this range nestles right in the range quoted above.

There also appeared to be an inverse correlation between the number of women who reported having rape fantasies and the frequency with which they had them: 25% of women reported having the fantasy less than once a year, and 13% had the fantasy a few times a year. So while it might be a part of some women’s sexual fantasy playlist, it doesn’t pop up in the rotation with much frequency for those women.

Though Sanders was certainly on to something with his claim, the fantasy isn’t nearly as pervasive (or self-reported) as he made it seem. But Sanders did recognize the desires that that specific fantasy taps into: a woman being overpowered by a man who can’t stop himself from ravishing her. No wonder he recently compared it to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

How Many People Identify as Asexual?

AVEN Logo (Asexuality.org)

AVEN Logo (Asexuality.org)

Along the spectrum of sexuality sits asexuality. (Actually for Alfred Kinsey, he put the concept outside his famous Kinsey Scale, marking it with an “X.”) Those who identify as asexual do not feel sexual desire and/or want sexual intercourse (though they may still have romantic feelings).

Asexuality and its nuances have been misunderstood for decades, as have those who self-identify with the term. So how many people identify as asexual?

It’s hard to say. Like many sexual statistics, it’s all self-reported. But there have been a few studies done.

 

Kinsey estimated that asexuals numbered around 1.5% of the adult male population in the later 1940s to early 1950s. But he didn’t mention female asexuals, and we don’t know how thorough his methodology was.

Elsewhere, a 2004 British study analyzed data and found that around 1.1% of Brits claimed the label. A recent article on “Wired” named estimates ranging from .6% to 5.5%.

There’s no definitive way to tell. But hopefully more data will be uncovered as research into asexuality grows.