The sex lives of smart folk

Ransom Riggs

Recently, we had a lively discussion here about smart kids' predisposition to depression. Lots of people had theories on why such a predisposition might exist, but we think we may have found the answer in a study entitled "Smart Teens Don't Have Sex (or Kiss Much Either)." It's one of those studies that isn't that surprising on the surface, but the devil's always in the details, isn't it? Here are some highlights:

"¢ Students with IQs above 100 and below 70 were significantly less likely to have had intercourse than those in between. "¢ Each additional point of IQ increased the odds of virginity by 2.7% for males and 1.7% for females. "¢ It's not just home runs they're talking about, either: a higher IQ decreased the likelihood of romantic contact in any sense, from holding hands to kissing, across the board. "¢ For males with IQs between 70-90 only 50.2% were virgin, whereas those with IQs above 110 were 70.3% virgins.

Even more interesting, the blog Gene Expression points to a 2001 campus sex survey to illustrate that this trend doesn't end with high school, though it looks at institutions and majors rather than IQ scores. For instance:

"¢ By age 19, 87% of college students have had sex. At MIT, it's only 51%. (Furthermore, only 65% of MIT graduate students have had sex.) "¢ At Wellesley College, 0% of studio art majors were virgins, but 83% of biochem and math majors were.

I think there's much to mine here: why is this so? Are smart folk simply less physically attractive than "regular" people? Are they less confident? Are they, perhaps, less interested? (The college sex survey also notes that while 95% of US men and 70% of women masturbate, this number is only 68% of men and 20% of women at MIT.) Has anyone attended a school where this sexual hierarchy didn't apply?