Reported vs. Actual Numbers in Same-Sex Attraction

Male homosexual attraction (Science Daily)

Male homosexual attraction (Science Daily)

One of my (many disparate) areas of interest is the concept of stated preference vs. revealed preference. It means that while you may say one thing, your actions may show another thing. “Preference falsification” (term coined by Duke University’s Timur Kuran) relates to this as positing that people aren’t always completely truthful about their preferences in public. (That’s one of the things that interests me about sexuality data: it’s so easy to lie! And nobody could conceivably find out!)

The study was published in 2013 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and was performed by Ohio State University. It dealt with admitting sexual attraction in standard vs. veiled polls (veiled meaning anonymous).

Participants were asked about their attitudes towards LGBT people and same-sex attraction. With the “normal” poll (i.e. people’s identities were conjoined with their answers), 11% of respondents didn’t see themselves as heterosexual, and 17% admitted to having a sexual experience with someone of the same sex.

But shit got real during the veiled poll. Now 19% of respondents didn’t see themselves as straight, and 27% admitted a same-sex sexual experience. You don’t have to be good at math to see that that’s a large jump for both aspects of the study.

According to the study’s abstract:

“The veiled method increased self-reports of non-heterosexual identity by 65% (p<0.05) and same-sex sexual experiences by 59% (p<0.01).”

The study also found how religion, in this case Christianity, influenced some of the participants’ answers. The veiled approach inflated the discrepancy so that self-reports of non-heterosexuality and same-sex sexual experiences skyrocketed by 100%+ from the usual poll. Talk about underreporting!

Sex Worker Documentaries: By The Numbers

Belle Knox

Porn star Belle Knox

“The Cut” reported earlier this week that there’s a documentary in the works about the student/porn star from Duke University. For those just tuning in/forgot, Miriam Weeks (nom de porn Belle Knox) got outed as a performer earlier this year when a classmate recognized her from one of her videos.

Months later, Conde Nast has decided to capitalize on her story and turn it into a docuseries through its Conde Nast Entertainment branch. The series follows Knox as she works hard both in school and on set.

Belle Knox’s story is just the latest in a line of documentaries focused on sex workers.

But how many are sex-worker documentaries are there? I looked at two official sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.


Within the category “Documentary films about prostitution,” 38 pages are listed.

Of these 38 films:

Single-subject portraits (focusing on one notable person): 5

Multi-subject portraits (focusing on a few people): 13

General subject (focusing on an overall subject, e.g. trafficking): 20

Since Wikipedia is user-edited, it’s possible that some films got left off, and some didn’t completely fit the category.


The entertainment industry’s database has a helpful list: Highest Rated “Prostitution” Documentaries. The list numbers 434 films.

Of these 434 documentaries:

Single-subject portraits (focusing on one notable person): 17

Multi-subject portraits (focusing on a few people): 20

General subject (focusing on an overall subject, e.g. trafficking; included TV episodes): 331

Unrelated (only tangentially related, e.g. part of a stand-up act, etc.; included TV episodes): 66


Clearly, documentaries about sex workers are alive and well, and will continue to be good for business.