Sunday, April 29, 2007

Smart teens don't have sex (or kiss much either).

Slightly related to my value of colleges theme, I just read a post on Intercourse and Intelligence by Jason Malloy over at GNXP.

A detailed study from 2000, entitled "Smart teens don't have sex (or kiss much either)", confirms what many of us probably already assume.

Jason comments:

One reason we might guess that smarter people in high school, or in more challenging colleges or majors, delay their sexual debuts is because they are delaying gratification in expectation of future reward. Sexual behavior (or at least the investment needed to procure a partner or sustain one) may compete with time/resources required for other goals, and intelligent people may have more demanding goals.
He also pointed out:
Perhaps more revealing, HS, also showed that intelligence correlates with less sex within marriage for the same age range. While still consistent with pregnancy fears and competing interests, lower sex drive seems like a better fit. In fact another revealing finding from the Counterpoint survey was that while 95% of US men and 70% of women masturbate, this number is only 68% of men and 20% of women at MIT!
So relax all you kids who didn't get into top colleges, elite schools have their price.

Side note: If more intelligent people are having less sex (and I assume less babies), what the hell is driving the Flynn effect?

Update: Pretty weird, but via Darren at Right on the Left Coast, Marginal Revolution quotes Robin Hanson commenting on a study, Reading, Writing, and Sex: The Effect of Losing Virginity on Academic Achievement, by economist Joseph J. Sabia:
My interpretation: Teen boys who want sex out of teen girls have to spend a lot of time in sports, fights, clubs, signaling their attractiveness. Teen girls who want sex just have to say "yes", and the sex itself takes little time, especially given that teenage boys are the partners. :
Well duh. Also note that there was no need to include the phrase "who want sex", since I pretty much assume the overwhelming majority of teen boys want to have sex.


Half Sigma said...

The tests used by Flynn are measuring something other than genetic intelligence.

Scores on the SAT have been falling, not

Parentalcation said...

Hey halfsigma, first let me say I love your blog, its on my daily reads.

Actually I am familiar with the causes of the Flynn effect (and the renorming of the SAT) and have read most of the papers on it (via your blog, gnxp, and intelligence testing), I just posted the common layman's view of it... since most people who are familiar with the term, mistakingly assume its a result of "genetics".

I try and stay away from posting to much on iq, genetics, and enviroment because education is controversial enough.

Anonymous said...

This really isn't that hard..

first, there are real limits (time, money, etc.) on how much one can do at any given moment.

Second, both academic achievement and getting laid are, for teens, resource intensive endeavors. Hours spent finding a partner are hours not spent doing home work.

Third, at the high end of the teen scene. Teen sex is very much a sellers market. Girls choose who when and where they do so. Girls can also choose to be with older men who bring vastly more resources to the table. Teen queens. Having the greatest resources and opportunity to work with have the least problems maintaining both a social and an academic life.

Boys have it much rougher. They must spend hours in competition with each other (and non teen males willing to play the filed) to get noticed by the few girls willing to consider a romp and then must spend more time getting to yes. Fewer opportunities + Fewer resources = more conflict between big ticket items like school and sex.

Lastly, at the lower end of the meat market there is defeat by default. People who are unwilling to risk social censure, or are simply not attractive choose to focus on academics and other non sexual activities.