Mofo and Other Mysteries

October 26th, 2009 by Christian Rudder

Because we run a huge dating site—OkCupid, which is free—and we studied math together, Chris and I like to sit in a circle (a line, really) and look at your data. Normally the data is pertinent and leads to revealing studies of human interaction, like our last post about how race plays a big role in online dating. But this week, just for fun, and to take a break from heavy subjects, we’re going to look at some of the more offbeat numbers we’ve come across—the statistical outtakes, if you will.

All of the following are user-submitted questions from our database. We’ll start with this one:

First of all, it’s nice to see that there are still some users hanging on to “blackguard” as a term of friendly disparagement. Also, we thought it was interesting that gay men lag behind their bi and straight brothers here. I’m sure many of you are already thinking “fafo” to yourselves, so I won’t even make the joke.

We were surprised on a couple fronts here. One, we had no idea that this many straight women were interested in sex with a strap-on. Duly noted, duly feared, ladies. Two, nearly one in seven straight men answered “yes” to this, and even for OkCupid’s sexually adventurous user base, that’s a pretty wild number. My best guess is that since the question doesn’t specify either way, some bros assumed it was asking about strap-on pizzas.

Next we have this incredible table:

Yes, 2 in 5 people (and nearly half of all men!) think they are one in a thousand. You do the math: that’s 100% melted.

Here’s how the U.S. breaks out by state, in one of our color-coded maps. Green means more people than average in a state think they’re geniuses; red means fewer. That bastion of American scholarship, Mississippi, came in green, of course. And apparently almost half of Nevadans are geniuses, which is at once laughable and slightly credible, seeing as how it must take a certain amount of brains to create a hell-on-earth. On the other hand, huzzah to West Virginians for their relative humility.

Finally, we ran a query on suicide for an upcoming article comparing people from Canada to other marginalized Americans. The topic’s certainly less frivolous than the rest of this week’s post—and the Canada/U.S. comparison didn’t turn out to be very interesting—but we felt like we had to publish what we found:

It’s pretty dramatic data. Here’s one way to look at it:

and another:

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Thanks again for reading, everyone. If you’re curious about the dating site we run, or would like to prostrate yourself before a vast pool of online geniuses, check out OkCupid. It’s free and awesome.

Also, we’ve been submitted to the Mashable Open Web Awards, in the Best Corporate Blog category. If you have the inclination to vote for us, you can do so here.

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108 Responses to “Mofo and Other Mysteries”

  1. lucernea2 says:

    OkC users may be a skewed portion of the population, ie. not representative of normal averages.

  2. rev0lution1776 says:


    I love your blog. Taking touchy-feely things and breaking them down into analyzable data points.

    Will you please cover the What’s Your Dating Persona test and break it down by overall percentages (I swear there are so many Vapor Trails, male and female – and how many Last Men on Earth will there be?) and also do a breakdown of each persona across states? God, you know all the flakes will be in California. There, I said it. I live in SoCal. I should know.

    And the Last Men on Earth are probably more common in Texas. Just judging from the foot-in-mouth ego problems of so many public male figures from there. No wait – maybe it’s the Dakotas? Sheep outnumber women 26-1 or something? No way to learn those sozial skillz?

    See, I’m dying to know!

  3. Laura Hawley says:

    I think it is amazing that you blithely report the higher suicidal tendencies of everyone besides straight men, and yet use only heterosexual examples in other posts, e.g. when describing response rates or racial issues.

    While your omission is far from inspiring anyone to want to kill themselves, it is supremely typical. And it illustrates a world in which the inclusion of non-heterosexual people is always just optional.
    So there.

  4. Carmi Turchick says:

    While it is obvious that tall men have dating advantages over short men in terms of popularity. I am wondering if there has been any comparison between Canada and the USA on this. As I am 5’4″ and found my wife living happily in Canada, I have a personal interest. I also feel from personal observation that I see a lot more short men around here happily trotting alongside their wives and girlfriends than I was used to seeing in the States.

  5. Alex says:

    The reason gay men claim to not know what ‘mofo’ is, is simple: they suspect you might be talking about some obscure sex act, not the inanely common curseword. Well, all 20 of them.

    The strap-on thing is easy to explain, too. For women: A third of women on this site seem to be willing to publically label themselves ‘bi’. (Shouldn’t that itself be some incredible statistic?). Your data simply suggests that many women who would like to be shagged by another woman don’t want to publically call themselves ‘bi’. No mystery there. For men: why exactly should everyone get to enjoy anal except straight men? Well? You don’t find your reaction to be sexist or homophobic or something?

    And finally the suicide thing: Ok. Look. When a third of women are calling themselves bi, you can no longer say they are some “marginalized group” that are being driven into depression by homophobia. No, not when a third of all women do it. There must be some OTHER driving force that correlates suicidal tendency and non-traditional sexual self-identification. (This is actually an interesting and important result in its own right.)

  6. ann says:

    Another note on the strap-on issue is that sure, some women would like the dual-penetration experience with a guy, and some bi women are answering from the point of view of having a woman partner, but some of us are also dealing with severe premature ejaculators. If they’d deal with their problem in a practical way, like with a dildo, we could keep having sex with them, but this is as rare as you might imagine. Whereas p.e. is unfortunately common enough.

  7. rytger says:

    Some stats from the real world:

    •Women attempt suicide three times as much as men.
    •The higher rate of attempted suicide in women is attributed to the elevated rate of mood disorders among females, such as major depression, dysthymia and seasonal affective disorder.
    •Although women attempt suicide more often, men complete suicide at a rate four times that of women.
    •More women than men report a history of attempted suicide, with a gender ratio of 2:1.

    Simply put; a “real man” takes pride in being reliable, not complaining and doing things properly.

  8. Sarah says:

    Christian – please add the terms heteroflexible and homoflexible to your sexual orientation multiple choice. You’ll find that most of the women calling themselves bi really mean heteroflexible. They’re totally up for hooking up with a woman, but have no intention of getting into a serious same-sex relationship, and certainly aren’t actively looking for one.